While dementia is a condition that typically tends to affect people over the age of 65, it is not unheard of for it to impact younger individuals too, with early onset of the disease sometimes beginning when people are in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
But, unfortunately, there is less funding and support available for younger people with dementia, and that means the impact it can have on their lives and the lives of their family can be disproportionately greater.
It’s a reality that needs addressing, according to one man who developed an early onset form of dementia while still in his mid-50s.
Pick’s disease is more common in younger people
Speaking to The Independent in June this year, Paul Hoskins explained how his and his wife’s lives were turned upside down three years ago when he was diagnosed with Pick’s disease, also known as frontotemporal dementia. It’s a form of dementia that affects the frontotemporal lobes of the brain, impacting planning, speech and moods.
Unlike other types of dementia, Pick’s disease tends to start at a younger age, with most cases diagnosed in individuals who are between 45 and 65. It is the second or third most common type of dementia in people under the age of 65, accounting for around one in 20 of all dementia cases.
Paul was working at Gatwick Airport when he was diagnosed with Pick’s disease. It was his wife, Penny, who first noticed changes in his language and behaviour, which prompted him to see a doctor. After the appointment, Paul was told he could no longer work and was subsequently signed off.
He said that younger people with dementia face unique challenges because they are more likely to have fewer savings, a dependent family and may be unable to take advantage of support services because of minimum age limits or distances.
As a result of being signed off work, the family’s finances are a lot tighter now. They have had to sacrifice certain lifestyle luxuries to help make ends meet and Paul’s wife regularly cares for him.
Paul says the biggest problem with dementia in younger individuals is the lack of understanding and support services available. For example, while there are numerous dementia clubs for elderly people with the disease, there are only two in the whole country for younger people with Pick’s disease.
We are seeing so much content on mental health and how rehabilitation can help get people back to work. This is all good, but what about people who are struck down with dementia before retirement age? There is no treatment, the condition is irreversible and often demanding on loved ones who will need to take time off to care for their relative.
This is a horrible condition and as mentioned can be financially draining with many sufferers having limited resources.
How can Group Risk help…..simply the income protection will cover some of the salary potentially up to State Pension Age which could help with care costs and maybe even help keep a person in their home for longer.
Stephen joined Premier Choice in 2006 as a Group Risk consultant and became Head of Group Risk in June 2013. In December 2017, Stephen also took over responsibility for the Protection division within Premier Choice and works to grow this in the same way he has the Group Risk division. Protection is a specialist area and fits well with his experience and expertise in the group risk market.