Caring for a Person Early Onset or Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
If you are caring for a person younger than 65 years old who has been diagnosed with dementia, (this is called younger-onset or early onset Alzheimer’s), you not only face the caregiving challenges that all Alzheimer’s caregivers must deal with, but you might face these issues as well:
The person may be fit and strong, and not frail. This can make some daily care tasks more challenging. If the person with dementia becomes agitated or combative, this can create safety issues for both the caregiver and the care receiver.
If children or teems are living at home, they may have questions and concerns about the future. The Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center, a not-for-profit organization in West Palm Beach, has a special Coaching for Kids™ program, as well as other programs and services to help kids and teens cope with Alzheimer’s disease. You can reach them at 877-760-9199 or visit their site here.
The Reactions of Others
When a younger person has Alzheimer’s disease, their age and outward signs of a more youthful appearance can cause reactions such as “She doesn’t look sick”, “He can’t have Alzheimer’s”, or you may even hear “Oh, he’ll get better”. These reactions can be very upsetting to the person with early onset or younger onset Alzheimer’s as well as to their caregiver. Learning how to best respond to these remarks can help mitigate a stressful situation.
May people with younger onset or early onset Alzheimer’s disease continue to work for quite some time. Changes in job performance or behavior may not be understood or addressed in the workplace. The person may have to change jobs, reduce their work hours, retire early or resign. This may leave a big gap in the family’s income and deplete retirement benefits. Meeting with a trusted Financial Adviser, as soon as possible, can be invaluable!
Paying for Alzheimer’s Care
Insurance and other benefits may be more difficult to get to help pay for care. Almost 1/3 of people with younger onset dementia have no health insurance, creating a significant financial strain. If the person is mot covered by Medicare, Medicaid or an employee plan, they may not be able to afford health care and other essential living expenses.