You probably think of dementia and cognitive decline as something that only happens to people in their elder years. However, at Miorini Law we sometimes have cases in which a younger individual suffers from dementia. According to studies published in the Journal of American Medical Association's Neurology, up to five percent of all dementia cases are between the ages of 30 and 64.
An estimated 175 thousand Americans have the condition, accounting for roughly three percent of all dementia cases. While that still means the condition, known as young-onset dementia, is rare, it's important to know it can happen. Also, because of the low percentage, doctors don't have much experience diagnosing it, sometimes mistaking it for depression, anxiety or "burn out" issues.
This is why everyone should have some estate planning documents in place with a minimum of executing a Power of Attorney and an advance medical directive in order to have medical advocates and avoid guardianship.
"We see that the first symptoms in young people are usually not the symptoms you would expect when you think of dementia," said Stevie Hendriks, one of the researchers on the new study. "Instead of memory impairment, young people more often present with changes in behavior or emotions, or sometimes language problems."
Because the disease in younger people is uncommon, finding the right kind of specialized services can be more difficult. For example, putting a younger person in a care facility can be challenging because openings are usually for senior citizens. Group home placements can be an option.
Some with young-onset dementia are in the prime of theirs lives and working, with far from sufficient savings for early retirement. Sometimes they have a spouse, children, and even elderly parents to care for. Asset protection can be helpful, saving the family from financial destitution due to long term care costs.
Whether you need guidance in selecting the right facility or in seeking long term care without draining your assets, feel free to contact us.