About Younger Onset Dementia (younger onset memory and related disorders)

Recently, there has been an increased acknowledgement of and appreciation for the unique needs of people living with younger onset memory and related disorders.  Unlike dementia in older people, younger onset dementia affects younger adults at different rates, and for different reasons.  Since younger adults tend to be working and raising younger families, these disorders also affect their lives differently than those of older adults.

Although it is currently difficult to estimate the number of people in Australia who have younger onset memory and related disorders, our earlier research suggests that as many as one in 750 people between the ages of 45 and 64 may be affected.   The Dementia in Australia 2012 report estimates that in 2011, 23,900 Australians under 65 had dementia.  

image - About Younger Onset Dementia (younger onset memory and related disorders)

In addition, younger onset dementia affects their families, friends and the broader community.

For the purpose of this study, "younger onset dementia" encompasses cognitive impairment that may be experienced due to a variety of conditions. Younger people may experience memory loss and other changes not only from Alzheimer’s Disease, but from conditions such as frontotemporal dementia and vascular dementia.  Additionally, HIV/AIDS related cognitive impairment, alcohol-related cognitive impairment and cognitive impairment secondary to progressive neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis contribute to memory and related disorders among younger adults.  In one study, younger people had significantly more dementia attributed to traumatic brain injury, alcohol, HIV, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration compared to those at older ages.  Some people living with intellectual disability may develop cognitive impairment at an earlier age as well.  The INSPIRED Study aims to represent this diverse population in its research.  

For more information on younger onset dementia, including services, their National Dementia Helpline, and links to resources and information, visit the Alzheimer’s Australia website:  http://www.fightdementia.org.au/ younger-onset-dementia.aspx

For additional information about dementia, visit:  http://www.dementia.unsw.edu.au/info-module/dementia-you.html

Back to Top