The Difference Between Early and Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

by | Jan 16, 2024 | Uncategorized

What is the Difference Between Early Onset Alzheimer’s and Late Onset Alzheimer?

You have suspected dementia for months. 
Perhaps longer if you are honest with yourself.
And now it is confirmed. 

You have had helpful and well-meaning folks call, give you resources and articles to read, and you are grateful. But mostly overwhelmed. There can be such a wealth of information that it can be difficult to make sense of it all. You keep hearing folks talk about “stages” but are unsure what they are referring to (you can check out my post about the stages of Alzheimer here.) 

Early-onset vs. Late-onset Alzheimer’s

Contrary to this belief, there exists a form known as early-onset Alzheimer’s, where individuals under 65 years old are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Late-onset Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, occurs when the diagnosis is made after the age of 65.

Stages and Progression

Folks will often confuse  Early-Onset with the early stages of Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.  Early-stage Alzheimer’s is referring to being at the earlier stage of the disease and is not dependent at what age you are diagnoses. One could be diagnosed at 57 with early-onset but be in the late stages of the disease, emphasizing the importance of understanding the progression of the condition.

Types of Early-onset Alzheimer’s

There are two types of early-onset Alzheimer’s:

  • Common Alzheimer’s disease with traditional progression
  • Genetic Alzheimer’s disease, which is linked to a familial history. Individuals with a genetic component might start showing symptoms as early as their 30s or 40s.

Challenges of Young-onset Alzheimer’s

Because we understand so little about the disease,  those with young-onset Alzheimer’s face a unique set of challenges, including

  • a tough diagnostic process,
  • limited resources geared towards older adults,
  • the need for specialized support and community-building efforts.

Coping Strategies and Support

Seeking support from both from local Alzheimer’s Association chapters, support groups and finding. a therapist cannot be emphasized enough. I encourage individuals facing young-onset Alzheimer’s to reach out for assistance in coping with day-to-day challenges, balancing life, and maintaining relationships. Folks and their families do not have to struggle through this mystifying and sometimes scary landscape alone. 



Key Takeaways

  • Alzheimer’s disease, while common in older adults, can affect individuals under 65 as early-onset Alzheimer’s.
  • Early-onset does not necessarily imply early-stage Alzheimer’s; disease progression varies.
  • Two types of early-onset Alzheimer’s: common Alzheimer’s disease and genetic Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Challenges of young-onset Alzheimer’s include a tough diagnostic process and limited resources.
  • Seeking support and community-building efforts are crucial for coping with young-onset Alzheimer’s.

Prefer to watch it?

Check out the original Dementia Chat I created.

Engaging in art activities with your loved one with dementia can be a rewarding experience that fosters connection, creativity, and emotional well-being. Whether it’s painting, collage making, sensory art, or combining art with music, these activities offer opportunities for self-expression, stimulation, and meaningful interaction. Remember to focus on the process rather than the outcome, and cherish the moments of connection and joy that art can bring to both you and your loved one

Curious to know more?

Interested in learning how to engage your person with dementia using the arts? Click that button and schedule a time to chat.

Start working with Sivan

I’m an online art therapist for individuals living with dementia and their care partners. I am located in Salisbury, MD and provide online art therapy to clients living all over Maryland and Delaware.

Get started in online therapy for dementia

You do not have to lose yourself to the disease–as an individual with the diagnosis or as a care partner. I believe that with guidance, art can help you intuitively reconnect, or even discover and reclaim, those parts of yourself that were set aside to make room for others. All you have to do is make the first mark. Or follow the four easy steps below.

Take the steps to get started in therapy. Here are four easy steps to get you started:

  1. Book the Consultation: Schedule your free 20 minute chat on a day and time that works for you.
  2. Complete the Questionnaire: Within 24 hours you will recieve a short questionnaire that will help me make sure we make the most of your 20 minutes
  3. Be Ready for the Chat: You will recieve a zoom link when you schedule. I will log on at the time you chose and will have reviewed your completely questionnaire. This is a time for us to get to know one another, have your questions answered, and set up an intake appointment to get the therapy going.
  4. Your Intake Appointment: Meet with me to get started in therapy