Alzheimer’s disease is a condition largely associated with the elderly population. However, Alzheimer’s disease can also affect the younger demographic. According to reports, approximately 5% of the affected population develops symptoms before they hit 65. This category of individuals who exhibit Alzheimer’s symptoms before 65 is termed as early-onset, young-onset or working-age dementia.

Early-onset dementia is considered to be a relatively rarer form of dementia that is said to be genetically linked. In the United States alone, 200, 000 people are said to have been affected by early-onset dementia. The exact cause of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is still subject to scrutiny, but the most reliable explanation is that of deterministic genes. This form of Alzheimer’s is often referred to as “familial Alzheimer’s disease.”


Diagnosing early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is a challenging endeavor. This condition is not necessarily expected to be found in younger people or those battling mental illness because the symptoms experienced by the affected individuals are similar. Differentiation between the two can be difficult. Therefore, to reach an exact conclusion, daily behavior and activities have to be observed over time.

Additionally, measures such as brain scans, genetic tests and measurement of proteins in spinal fluid can be employed to aid doctors in reaching a diagnosis. Braintest is an excellent assessment method to detect cognitive impairment in an individual. Largely affected individuals tend to ignore any early signs of Alzheimer’s disease because they feel good otherwise. Observation by friends and family plays a major role in the process.

Signs and Symptoms

Following are some common presenting signs and symptoms of early-onset dementia that you need to watch out for actively. If you find yourself undergoing these symptoms more than usual, you should consider seeking expert advice from a professional.

1.Altered Memory

Memory changes are on and off, but if you notice a distinct change in one’s ability to remember certain details, you should be concerned. Short-term memory changes are a common presenting sign of dementia. The patient exhibits perfect long-term memory but finds it difficult to remember little things like what he had for breakfast or finds himself at a loss for words more than occasionally.

2.Sensitivity to Change

Everyone responds to change differently. Some embrace it; others despise it. Altered memory and confusion are very common in dementia patients. In such scenarios, they feel their best when they stick to a strict routine. This allows them to cope with their mental state better and thus feel safer. However, in the case of change, dementia and Alzheimer’s patients find it hard to adapt to new routines. If you find someone exhibiting particular hindrance towards accepting something new, it is very likely that they are having memory trouble.

3.Getting Lost

Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients get lost very often. The trait is relatively uncommon in the younger population. If you find yourself or a loved one around you getting lost frequently; it is time to get a checkup done. Losing your way on new routes is not surprising, but it is somewhat alarming to find yourself lost in on a route that you are familiar with. Feeling unfamiliar in familiar surroundings and failing to recall where you are is something everyone should be mindful and take note of.

4. Trouble Remembering Names

We all cannot possibly remember everyone’s names at all times. However, if you find yourself failing to remember the names of friends and family, then you need to consider this change. There may even be instances of the patient blanking out and forgetting the name of someone they just met.

5.Mood Swings

Mood swings are normal for everyone but what is concerning is a shift in one’s personality. If you observe some you know who is shy but as of late has been behaving quite outgoing, you need to take a closer look. This new development exhibits a reduction in the inhibition awareness. When a person behaves in a manner that is not true to their persona, there is a possibility that their mind is not working in the same way it used to.

6.Impaired Decision-Making

Impaired decision-making is a common sign of dementia. Indecisiveness is something we all deal with. However, if you find someone developing a sudden inability to decide something, there may be more to it than just being unsure. This is a classic feature referred to as impaired executive functioning which involves an inability to plan, concentrate, reason, and organize. Multi-step processes are the most challenging for the patient to deal with and they are often found looking for excuses.

7. Trouble Remembering Evident Details

What did you eat for breakfast? What is the name of the restaurant located right around the corner? What is the name of the area where you live? All these are questions that everyone can answer, but early-onset patients find themselves struggling to remember these obvious details.

8.Confusion and Agitation

Owing to the unrest in the mind of a young-onset patient and their recent struggle with memory, it is not uncommon to find them feeling confused. Confusion and accompanying agitation are a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Forgetting things in strange places, finding it hard to remember how to do something, or maybe even just struggling to connect the dots in your mind; all result in confusion.

9.Impaired Learning

Struggling to learn new skills, information or techniques; all are a sign that the person is experiencing difficulty. Impaired learning is a common finding in dementia patients. When you encounter a young person feeling hesitant about learning something new and failing to keep up despite multiple attempts, take into consideration that this is more than just a phase but rather a serious condition.

10.Depression and Anxiety

The progressive deterioration in the mind of early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients results in confusion. As their minds become more muddled, patients often find themselves feeling depressed and anxious. If you find someone close to you experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety, reach out to them. Their depression could root from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Author's Bio: 

Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia