Dementia Victims Younger and Younger

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Published: Aug 5th, 2015
Dementia Victims Younger and Younger
Article Updated:October 22nd, 2019

Approximately 200,000 people in the United States alone have early-onset Alzheimer's, the most famous form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association. While your risk becomes greater as you get older, more people are now being diagnosed for memory issues at younger ages. 

Memory Loss Impacts More Than Just the Elderly

Dementiavictims are getting younger. A story from “The Times” in London indicates that more and more people are being impacted by memory loss at younger ages. The story says dementia is being diagnosed in people a decade earlier than it was 20 years ago, prompting experts to warn that the world is facing a “silent epidemic”.

The disease is now regularly being identified in people in their late 40s, research analyzing data from 21 countries has found.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, although the risk of dementia increases with age, many thousands of people under the age of 65 have received a diagnosis of dementia.

Early DementiaDevastates Families

Memory loss at an early age creates a crisis for a family. The person generally would no longer to be able to work so their income would be reduced creating a financial impact. The person usually would be a spouse and a parent. The family dynamic changes as Mom or Dad become dependant on others. The cost of care will devastate  savings and income. Since health insurance, like Medicarefor those age 65 and older, will not pay for dementia long-term care services, unless the person as a Long-Term Care Insurance policy income and assets will pay for care services or family members will become caregivers ... even both.

There are several terms used to describe the onset of dementia in younger people. They include:

  • Young Onset Dementia
  • Working Age Dementia
  • Early Onset Dementia
  • Younger People With Dementia

Roughly a third of young people with dementia have Alzheimer's disease.

Some of these people have “reversible dementia”. This is memory loss which can be successfully treated. Things like alcohol dependence and poisoning, depression, brain tumors, liver, and renal failure, stroke, and even hormone issues from women going through menopause can cause memory issues that can be treated.

However, the alarming news here is this only impacts some of the dementia being diagnosed.

Other types of dementia can occur as a result of brain damage, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and Pick's disease.

As symptoms of dementia occur before the age of 65 and can, very rarely, be as early as the mid-thirties, younger people with dementia have a number of very specific issues. Most, if not all, will be employed and will have financial commitments such as mortgages. They may have young families. They will probably be fit and active. Specifically, they may struggle to find a specialist service that is equipped for the needs of early-onset dementia.

Relatively few specialist services exist for younger people with dementia. Few people under age 50 have Long-Term Care Insurance which would pay for supervision and other services that normal health insurance would not pay for. In recent years younger people have been purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance. 

Long-Term Care Insurance is the Solution - If You Have a Policy in Place

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) reports that 36.8 of all people buying Long-Term Care Insurance are under age 55 with only 11.8% being under age 45 despite the lower cost of the insurance at that age. Experts indicate that this places huge burdens on families of these people.

The average survival time for people diagnosed with dementia is about four and a half years, research shows. Those diagnosed before age 70 typically live for a decade or longer as their overall health is many times very good.

Early-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD), which is different than early dementia, is most commonly diagnosed in someone's 50s but can be diagnosed as early as their 30s or 40s. There is a strong genetic component to the disease; those whose grandparents or parents with AD are at a much greater risk of developing AD themselves.

According to www.dementia.org, a study found that early-onset dementia was being diagnosed much more often than previously thought, but also that those diagnosed were not receiving appropriate aftercare. Patients lacked age-appropriate services and had difficulty finding placement in adult care facilities, despite the hardship placed on families caring for individuals with early-onset dementia.

There are few medical treatment options for those with early-onset dementia. Experts recommend making lifestyle adjustments, working together as a family to find the best plan of action, and consulting with doctors, health specialists, and other treatment planners as needed.

Everyone agrees, however, that anyone who thinks they may have an issue with memory should see a doctor. Some memory loss at an early age can be a result of treatable health issues.

Editor's Note

To avoid crisis management you need an advance plan before your health changes. You must first understand you have a risk is the first step. Acting early, before you retire, is essential.

Plan for Long-Term Care in your 40s or 50s

As you get older your risk of needing long-term care services also increases. The cost of paid care services drains savings and income. Care is not cheap. The cost of long-term care does vary depending on where you live.

Research Options

Your research should start by finding the current and future cost of care services. You will then determine how these costs will impact your savings, income, and lifestyle. The LTC NEWS cost of care calculator is a great resource. Click here and find your location.

 LTC NEWS provides many other resources to help you plan. However, you will need the assistance of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you design a plan and shop to find the best coverage at the best value. This is usually not a financial advisor or general insurance agent. It takes experience and expertise to understand and design Long-Term Care Insurance. These policies are custom designed but remember premiums can vary over 100% between companies for the exact same coverage. This is why you should seek the help of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Find a specialist by clicking here.

 Get Expert Help

Make sure your specialist actually is a specialist. Ask them not only how many years of experience they have, but more importantly how many people have they helped? An actual specialist will have at least 250 living clients with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. Often, the best specialists have thousands. This means they will understand underwriting and how it differs from each insurance company. They will also understand the federal/state partnership program which provides additional asset protection. This should mean they understand policy design and claims. Knowing how these policies actually get used at the time of claim is very helpful in designing an affordable plan.

 Be Ready to Answer Questions

Expect the specialist to ask you numerous questions about your health, family history, and retirement plans. Once they get this information, they will be able to usually give you actual quotes right away. Unless you have unusual health, you shouldn’t have to wait for their recommendations. The plans are custom designed, so give your input on the policy design. The next step is to apply and see if you can get approved. Most insurance companies use electronic applications so the process is quick and easy. Usually, you do not have to pay anything in advance. Once approved, you have time to make adjustments in coverage before you pay your first premium.

Long-Term Care Insurance is easy, affordable and rate stable income and asset protection. It will also give your family the time to be family.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly
James Kelly

Contributor Since
January 1st, 1970

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

About the Author

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

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