A narrative review in the Medical Journal of Australia looked at diagnosing and managing those under 65 with primary or secondary dementia. Primary = Alzheimer’s, dementias due to genetics, and metabolic, frontotemporal, and vascular disorders. Secondary = those resulting from infection, traumatic brain injury, or alcohol use disorder. Because clinicians may not know if an issue is young-onset dementia (YOD) or psychiatric, coming to a diagnosis may take time.
The study concluded, “Younger people with dementia may live for a decade with the disease and most will remain living in the community, supported by families and community services. Thus, we also propose that a paradigm shift is needed with the concept of ‘dementia’, in order to decrease stigma and fear associated with this condition. Dementia ought to be considered a chronic disease which progresses over time, but with age‐appropriate interventions and services, we can continue to support and improve the quality of life of people with dementia as they deteriorate. Although there are no disease‐modifying treatments for most types of YOD, timely diagnosis and multidisciplinary care and support can have major benefits for promoting community participation and quality of life for people with YOD and their families.”