Research shows that people living with young onset dementia are often misdiagnosed. Doctors can mistake young onset dementia for depression, stress, menopause or other issues.
A Dutch study has shown it can take an average of 4.4 years for younger people to be diagnosed with dementia. This is 57% longer than it takes to diagnose dementia in older people. And it delays access to treatment and support.
In 2022, the Alzheimer Society of Canada has created a new tool to support diagnosis needs.
This tool is a personal checklist highlighting the signs and symptoms of young onset dementia. The PDF checklist is fillable digitally, or as a printed document.
This checklist is important because it covers the full range of symptoms that a person with young onset dementia may experience. Many people—and even doctors—can forget that problems with vision, muscle control and balance can also be related to dementia.
Fill out this checklist with a family member or friend if you can. (They may have noticed some symptoms you haven’t.) Then bring the checklist to your next medical appointment to help start a conversation with your doctor, nurse-practitioner or other health provider.
This checklist is adapted with permission from one that the UK’s Young Dementia Network created and tested in 2021.