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Young onset dementia

Help with Young Onset Dementia.

A colleague begins to make simple mistakes at work – they have difficulty using the phone, their behaviour is erratic, they forget appointments. It could be they are just distracted, but if the problems persist over months it could be Young Onset Dementia (YOD).

Most of us think of Dementia as a problem for older people, but it can affect those as young as 30. Compared to Dementia in older people it has different causes – some of which may be inherited genetically – progresses in a different way and impacts people differently, especially given that they may still be at work and have young children.

Find out more about Dementia

What are the symptoms?

There are a lot of different ways that young Onset Dementia can affect people. It may cause:

  • uncharacteristic behaviour such as disinhibition, irritability or apathy
  • memory loss for recent events
  • problems with spoken language
  • difficulty recognising people or objects
  • symptoms of anxiety and depression

What causes it?

Causes of Young Onset Dementia vary. The commonest cause is Alzheimer’s Disease, but proportionately fewer people with YOD have this compared with older adults. Vascular disease such as stroke or inflammation of the blood vessels, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and long-term heavy alcohol use are also common causes. Around 10% have fronto-temporal dementia.

Key Facts about Young onset dementia

  • Young Onset Dementia is defined as Dementia beginning before the age of 65
  • It may affect over 40,000 people in the UK today and could be getting more common.
  • Relative to other forms of Dementia, YOD is more often inherited genetically and passed down through families.
  • It can be difficult to diagnose because it can present in odd ways and doctors may not suspect it.
  • The specialist services for YOD are patchy in the UK

How will it affect me?

Many people with YOD are not aware of their problems. Families and friends may not be aware either, at first, because the condition often starts very slowly and creeps up over years.

It can affect your ability to work; most people with YOD will eventually find it hard to hold down a job. It can also affect your ability to do daily tasks and interests such as driving, hobbies, cooking and dressing. It can also affect your family; many people with YOD have young families who have to come to terms with a parent having Dementia and losing a breadwinner.

How is it diagnosed?

Because of its rarity and because many of the causes are not straightforward, YOD should only be diagnosed after a very thorough assessment. This will include speaking to specialists skilled in diagnosis of this condition, ideally a neurologist and a psychiatrist working together. An MRI brain scan is essential and an amyloid brain scan or sometimes a brainwave trace called an EEG is helpful. Most people will need a neuropsychological assessment of brain function (called cognitive testing). Sometimes genetic tests may help.

How is it treated?

There are no cures for most causes of Young Onset Dementia. The treatment will depend on the cause. If the cause of the YOD is Alzheimer’s Disease then anti-dementia drugs like Donepezil may help. Occasionally symptoms can be helped by removal of a brain tumour, although this is very rare.

Tackling risk factors like heart disease and heavy drinking is important. Keeping healthy by maintaining physical activity, social contacts and keeping the brain active by cognitive stimulation may also help.

Young onset dementia often causes depression or anxiety and sometimes hallucinations. Treating these is important too.

People with Young Onset Dementia and their families often need a lot of help and support from social services and really benefit from coordinated care by a team of doctors, psychologists, occupational therapists and other clinicians.

We’re Red & Yellow Care, the
health experts for later life.

At Red & Yellow Care we specialise in diagnosis, treatment, care and advice for older adults. Our approach is unique – we build a complete picture of the individual – and we treat them like an individual. We guarantee fast and flexible appointments with the very best specialists.

Meet some of our consultants.

Dr James Warner

Consultant Psychiatrist


Dr Hema Ananth

Consultant Psychiatrist


Dr Alex Bailey

Consultant Psychiatrist


Dr Alan Smith

Consultant Psychiatrist


Dr Giovanna Zamboni

Consultant Neurologist


How we can help.

Because we are the specialists in health for older adults, we can offer all the expertise you need from one source.

We usually visit you at home, or alternatively can see you at our Consulting Rooms. We aim to arrange all appointments within a matter of days.

Clear and simple pricing.

First appointment up to 90 minutes, priced at £450.

Further appointments at £300 up to 60 minutes, £200 up to 30 minutes.

Home visit supplements starting from £100.

Get started now

Smarter, faster, easier and
more thorough healthcare.


We have the best consultants and other specialists dedicated to the health of older people.


We aim for our specialists to see you within a matter of days, and within 24 hours for urgent appointments.


We fit our service around you. Planning your appointments where and when suits you best.


We are committed to
giving you the most thorough assessment, treatment and care.

Request an appointment today.

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  • My decisions, greatly helped by my wife, family and friends, were also sustained by the team from Red & Yellow Care.
    Bernard – person with dementia
  • The fact that you promised to tailor your service around my mother and give full and constant support was very attractive and not something we had come across previously.
    Matt – son and carer
  • Red & Yellow’s open discussions and the advice given to me and my wife were professional, friendly, patient, clear and supportive without didacticism or jargon. At all times I felt that I was part of a team, even if I was a little slow.
    Robert – person with dementia
  • I have got my dad back. We’ve seen massive improvements – his morning confusion is gone, he’s not forgetful or perplexed, and his motivation has improved.
    Natalie – daughter and carer
  • The meeting on Wednesday evening eased my sore heart and deep anxiety about George, as I know how fortunate we are to have found you all.
    Teresa – sister and carer

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