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What is younger onset dementia?

Younger onset dementia, also known as early onset dementia, is any form of dementia in people under the age of 65.

Although dementia is much less common in people under 65, it can be diagnosed in people in their fifties, forties and even thirties. As of 2019, approximately 27,247 Australians were living with younger onset dementia.

Dementia is a catch-all term for a large group of cognitive illnesses and conditions. You can have one or more types of dementia.

Since dementia is not as common in working-age people, it can often go unnoticed. But recognising the signs and symptoms and getting support sooner can drastically improve your quality of life.

If you suspect you or someone you love has younger onset dementia, Dementia Australia is here for you. Learn more about younger onset dementia and the support available to you on our website.

You can also contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a group of cognitive diseases and conditions which cause a progressive decline in mental functioning. It can impact the way a person communicates, remembers, makes judgements and navigates social situations.

People with dementia may have:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Trouble recognising people
  • Confusion or begin acting unlike themselves.

Watch the following video: ‘What is dementia?’ to learn more about dementia or read the video transcript.

Dementia can happen at any age

Dementia can happen to anyone. It can come as an enormous shock but for some, it may also be a relief. You or your family may finally have an answer for what’s changed.

There is no medical difference between dementia and younger onset dementia. However, younger onset dementia comes with unique social, emotional, and financial challenges. At the time of diagnosis, a person may be:

  • In full-time employment
  • Actively raising a young family
  • Financially responsible for a family
  • Physically strong and healthy.

As Australia's leading dementia organisation, Dementia Australia is here to guide you through your younger onset dementia journey. Make the most of our online resources and stories about people like you.

Watch the following video: ‘Dementia can happen at any age’ to learn about younger onset dementia and why it’s better to be diagnosed early. Or read the video transcript.