Although often thought of as a condition that only affects older people, it is estimated that around 70,800 people with dementia in the UK are under 65.

What is young onset dementia?

The word dementia is used to describe a group of symptoms that are severe enough to affect day-to-day life. Symptoms can include:

  • thinking problems
  • confusion
  • problems with language, movement or vision
  • and mood changes.

Dementia is caused by diseases that affect how our brain cells work. It is often thought of as a condition that affects older people, but when symptoms develop in people under the age of 65; this is called young onset dementia.

The causes of dementia that affect people under the age of 65 include:

There are similarities between the diseases that cause young onset dementia and dementia in later life (late onset dementia). However, some diseases such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are more common in younger people.

If you are worried about yourself or someone else who may be showing symptoms of dementia, talk to your doctor. They should assess your symptoms and medical history, and perform some tests.

Young onset dementia

This booklet aims to give an introduction to young onset dementia. It’s for anyone who might be worried about themselves or somebody else.

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Alzheimer’s Research UK has a wide range of information about dementia. Order booklets or download them from our online form.

This information was updated in March 2024 and is due to be reviewed in March 2026. It was written by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team with input from the Young Dementia Network and lay and expert reviewers. Please get in touch if you’d like a version with references or in a different format.


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