Many symptoms of young onset dementia are similar to those of late onset dementia (which affects people over 65).

However young onset dementia can also affect people in more unusual ways. This can make it more difficult for people, loved ones, and doctors to recognise and diagnose what is causing the symptoms.

Imran Sherwani

At first my mood changed and I wanted to be on my own and not talk to people. I started to struggle with tasks that ordinarily I would be quick to do, such as DIY and remembering names, which was very frustrating. I knew I needed help, but I found it difficult to admit it.

- Imran, who lives with young onset Alzheimer's

Diseases like Alzheimer’s are progressive. This means the symptoms get worse over time and people will require more support with their everyday lives. It is difficult to know whether young onset dementia progresses faster than late onset dementia. There is some evidence that this is the case but every person’s experience of the disease, including how fast or slow it progresses, is different.  

Difficulties with diagnosis in younger people may mean that they are diagnosed later, making their progression appear faster. Research into better and earlier ways to detect diseases that cause dementia is essential to improve early diagnosis and get people the support that they need. 

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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