Early onset dementia – what is it and how can the NDIS help?

Dementia is most commonly associated with advancing age. The incidence of dementia increases exponentially between the ages of 65 and 90 years and doubles approximately every 5 years. 

This doesn’t mean that dementia only occurs in older people. People in their 40s and 50s, and occasionally even in their 30s, can also be diagnosed with dementia. When this occurs it is known as early onset or younger onset dementia. In 2019, approximately 27,247 Australians were living with early onset dementia.

While there are many different causes of early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form. 

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of dementia are the same no matter what age it occurs. These can include:

  • Confusion
  • Memory loss that interferes with daily life. This can include forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same questions over and over
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks, such as driving to the shops or writing a list
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Losing the ability to think clearly or make judgements
  • Language problems, this could be calling a familiar object the wrong name
  • changes to behaviour, such as becoming easily upset, anxious, confused or depressed. 

Recognising the signs and symptoms of dementia, getting a diagnosis and receiving support as early as possible can greatly improve quality of life. Many conditions can produce similar symptoms, so it’s important that a complete a thorough assessment by a GP or specialist. 

Care is required

As dementia is commonly recognised as an ‘old person’s’ disease, a diagnosis of early onset dementia can often come as a shock to both the sufferer and their family.

After diagnosis, a person with early onset dementia will require a great deal of support and sensitive care to adapt to their new situation. This will be crucial in how they adapt and adjust to their circumstances. 

NDIS and early onset dementia

With the challenges and difficulties that a participant with early onset dementia will face, the NDIS can provide access to supports to help them live well and stay healthy. 

These can include help with everyday tasks, such as: 

  • Showering & dressing
  • Cooking & cleaning
  • Medication
  • Gardening & home maintenance
  • Shopping

NDIS can also fund home modifications and assistive technology to make a participant’s home safe and help them maintain a daily routine.

Social activities and community support is essential for someone with early onset dementia. The NDIS can provide funding to help to keep a participant involved, this may include services such as transport and assistance to participate in group activities.

A participant with early onset dementia will also require assistance to keep physically healthy. The NDIS can assist with services such as:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech pathology
  • Occupational therapy
  • Diet
  • Exercise support

PROVIDERplus can help

Someone with early onset dementia will require a whole range of supports. If you’re looking to become a registered NDIS provider, PROVIDERplus are the experts. We can help you get registered and transform you into a high quality and successful business. Call 1300 852 790 or click here  to find out more.