A new study has found that the rate of people who develop symptoms of early-onset dementia has nearly doubled, from 17,000 to 42,000. Patients in the UK are developing dementia before the age of 65, including thousands of people in their 40s and more than 700 in their 30s. Dementia is often missed in younger patients because it is the assumption that dementia sufferers are frail and elderly.
These findings come from a study conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society, the London School of Economics and the Institutes of Psychiatry. “Dementia isn’t a disease which just affects the frail elderly. This is a disease that affects people under 60. Many of these 42,000 people will be in work, with children and a mortgage, which puts an added stress and an added need for support,” said George McNamara, head of policy at the Alzheimer’s Society. “But it has often been overlooked because dementia is seen as something that only affects the most elderly in society.”
It is estimated that 42,325 people under 65 are living with dementia, and around 32,000 of these cases are in people aged 60 to 65. “These figures show that there needs to be quite a focus on the way in which health and social care, and society, responds to best support people living with dementia,” said Dr. McNamara.