MIND in memory care
Moving In Nurturing Directions in Memory Care

Cindy's Blog


People who are diagnosed with some type of dementia before the age of 60, often in their 40's or 50's, sometimes spend years attempting to find the correct diagnosis for their declining abilities. Some physicians will quickly dismiss their fears of having Alzheimer's disease or some other type of dementia as "you're much too young to have that" without ever ordering the tests that may help confirm that very diagnosis. Their complaints of mood swings, personality changes, increasing forgetfulness and even gait changes are usually attributed to depression, stress, or working too hard. There are some indications from studies that an inability to accurately draw the intersecting pentagons or do the clock-drawing on the mini-mental state exam are a better indication of some type of dementia, than the final score on the test itself. In other words, a person may score high on the test, but still not be able to accurately draw the required pentagons or clock face. My advice to anyone suspecting a type of dementia, is to find a doctor who will listen and perform the tests needed. If the score on the MMSE is high or "normal," but the drawing is incorrect, I would push for brain scans to look for changes there.

People with early-onset dementia often have more insight into their situation than do people who were diagnosed later in life, and also face many more challenges dealing with family dynamics. Their diagnosis may come at a time when they are still rearing children, have jobs that require extensive travel, and they often have not had time to accumulate any "retirement" savings to help with expenses. The good news is that even after the diagnosis of dementia, these people can still lead productive lives, and can still contribute to their families and support groups. Knowing what their future brings, people with early-onset dementia can plan more effectively for it. It will never be easy, but educating families and friends can make a world of difference.

Alzheimer's and Dementia Counseling and Education
call Cindy Keith of M.I.N.D. in Memory Care