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The devastating effects of early-onset Alzheimer's disease

Author: Gary Kirsten

Most people think of Alzheimer's as a disease that only affect the elderly. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There is a form of Alzheimer's that is characterized by early onset of the disease. While most people get the disease after the age of 65 years-old, it is possible to get Alzheimer's at a younger age. Even though they are much younger, these individuals benefit from similar services such as those provided for home senior care or in an environment of senior independent living.

According to ALZforum, early-onset Alzheimer's is a hereditary disease. Symptoms may begin to show when a person is in their thirties. The ALZ Organization says the earliest signs of Alzheimer's include:

  • Memory loss affecting daily activities
  • Difficulty in solving previously routine problems
  • Troubles when completing simple tasks at home
  • Confusion about times and places including forgetting where they are or how they got somewhere
  • Difficulty with visual or spatial dimension including troubles when driving determining distance from other vehicles
  • Problems with words, such as using the incorrect word or being unable to remember a word
  • Misplacing things
  • Having poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities
  • Changes in moods

Usually when early-onset Alzheimer's is diagnosed, the person's parents will probably have also experienced Alzheimer's. This is familial Alzheimer's disease. Due to the fascinating work in uncovering the secrets of the human genome, there are been three genes identified as the cause of this disease. They are: 1) amyloid precursor protein; 2) presenilin-1, and; 3) presenilin-2. Mutations in these genes cause early-onset Alzheimer disease.

Recently the actor, Julianne Moore, won a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of a woman with early-onset Alzheimer's disease in the feature film entitled, "Still Alice." Both moviegoers and critics are raving about the movie giving it 85% to 90% positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, which is outstanding.

The film is the story about a woman who is a professor of linguistics at a university. She starts to forget the words she is trying to speak. Then she gets lost while jogging in her neighborhood. She is only in her forties so it takes some serious diagnosis by her doctor to determine that she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The story is very touching as she begins to lose her memory, while her family supports her.


Anyone who has been a caregiver for Alzheimer's patients knows that the dealing with the disease is hardest on the people giving care, not on the person who has the disease. As long as an Alzheimer's patient is in a safe, stimulating environment, with all their needs taken care of, and assistance at hand for daily task of personal grooming, they do just fine. When the caregivers are family members, they benefit from home senior care services to help them deal with the challenges and allow some very critical time off.

Senior independent living facilities that specialize in memory care are also a good alternative to having the person live at home. These modern bright facilities are designed for the safety and care of patients with memory difficulties. Many studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients do better in an environment that has other people. The same care given to seniors is readily available for early-onset Alzheimer's patients.

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About the Author
The author, Gary Kirsten is a well-known writer on elder living, senior housing related topics. He shares his valuable views about senior independent living, home senior care and many other facilities that also lay through