While many people diagnosed with Alzheimer's are older, hundreds of thousands of Americans develop the condition much earlier, in their 40s and 50s.
Because physicians are generally not looking for Alzheimer's symptoms in younger patients, the Alzheimer's Association says getting a diagnosis can be difficult and stressful. However, it adds that there are a number of ways those with early-onset Alzheimer's can adjust their lives in a positive way.
First and foremost, people with early onset Alzheimer's should be prepared to have good and bad days. On some occasions,they may feel completely normal, while at other times their symptoms may be quite evident. The Association indicates that while this may lead to feeling a range of emotions, it is perfectly normal.
The Association also recommends people with an early-onset diagnosis not to keep it a secret from their friends. It often proves to be cathartic for individuals to share their feelings so that others become aware of what the condition is like. This may help them better understand the disease and how it affects everyday life.
One of the best ways to keep symptoms from flaring is staying as active as possible. The Association recommends getting involved in the community, whether it is in local government or through volunteer work.
Patients and caregivers should also employ tactics that will help slow the progression of the disease. This includes maintaining a healthy life, such as getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily, and adhering to a well-balanced diet plan that focuses on portion control.
It is a good idea to look over one's home and take steps to ensure that it is a safe place, says the Association. It also recommends researching residential care programs in advance and sharing this information with family and friends.