Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: When Symptoms Appear Before 65
Alzheimer’s disease is known to affect the elderly population. But in some rare instances, early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur in some people and it could mean a lifetime of a burden on the individual, his family, and of course, the finances.
At some point, the need for memory assisted living also becomes inevitable. But what exactly is early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and how can one cope from it?
Understanding early-onset Alzheimer’s and its causes
Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is a rare form of dementia that affects people under the age of 65. It is very uncommon that only 5% of people diagnosed with the disease develop symptoms in middle age or between 30 and 60 years old.
Individuals affected with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease usually have its most common form, which is called sporadic Alzheimer’s. According to experts, this type of Alzheimer’s is caused by genetics, although still yet to find out why it affects people at a younger age.
Some patients are also diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s disease, which means that they have a parent or grandparent that was diagnosed with the same type of early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Studies suggest that familial Alzheimer’s is linked to three types of genes: APP, PSEN 1, and PSEN 2. They are different from APOE, which is a gene that is said to increase your risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
These three genes together can only be found in less than 1% of Alzheimer’s patients but they are present in 11% of those with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
This is why some people choose to undergo genetic testing to see if there are any mutations of these genes, but genetic counseling should also be done first to make sure that the patient knows about the pros and cons of genetic testing.
Coping with early-onset Alzheimer’s
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at an early age can be a huge blow to anyone, especially with the possibility of discrimination because some people won’t believe that they have the disease. This is why it’s very important to give these individuals all the care and support they need to get through.
For instance, an individual may still be able to work, but he may need to switch to a position that will allow him to function with his growing limitations.
Some employers may even reduce the number of hours that the individual needs to work or even allow him to take time off to adjust more to his new condition and seek the treatments that he needs.
Finally, financial challenges should be discussed between the family, especially when the time comes that the individual would be required to go to memory assisted living.
Exploring benefits provided by Medicare or Medicaid, organizing financial documents ahead, discussing the possibility of early retirement, and talking with a financial planner will help ease the financial burden of the disease while making sure that the patient is given the best quality of life possible.
Fallbrook Assisted Living is proud to offer its services to Fremont, NE, and surrounding areas and cities: Arlington, Cedar Bluffs, Ames Nickerson, Fontanelle, Arlington, Leshara, Colon, and Hooper