Dementia at a young age is more common than previously thought

Researchers from the Alzheimer Centrum Limburg have collected and bundled worldwide research into dementia at a young age. This allowed them to better estimate the number of people under the age of 65 who suffer from dementia. In the Netherlands there are 15,000, worldwide there are at least 3.9 million. This estimate is considerably higher than previous studies, and is therefore important for policy makers worldwide. The study was made possible in part by a contribution of 250,000 euros from Alzheimer Nederland and is part of a larger study into dementia at a young age.

The risk of dementia increases with age. The risk of dementia is very small for people between the ages of 30 and 35. About 5 in 100,000 people of this age have dementia. In people aged 60 to 65, that number is already much higher. Then almost 1 in 100 people has dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is also the most common form of early-onset dementia. That only changes in people under the age of 50. Then vascular dementia is the most common form, followed by frontotemporal dementia (FTD).


Although the new estimate is significantly higher than an earlier estimate, it is likely still an underestimation. “The number is still only the lower limit,” says Prof. Dr. Marjolein de Vugt of the Alzheimer Center Limburg. RTL news. “It takes an average of 4.5 years before people with early dementia receive the correct diagnosis. Many people do not yet know that they have dementia due to incorrect diagnoses.”

15,000 people

The number of 15,000 people with dementia at a young age is therefore a conservative estimate. The researchers themselves prefer to speak of 14,000 to 17,000. With this they indicate the ‘uncertainty margin’: the actual number lies within these numbers with 95% certainty. Because few people are familiar with these statistical methods, Alzheimer Nederland opts for the rounded average of 15,000 people in its communication

Help for carers

The Alzheimer Centrum Limburg often works together with Alzheimer Nederland to improve the situation of people with dementia (at a young age) and their carers. Last year, as part of this collaboration, a course for caregivers of young people with dementia was launched, made available on This one online training Dementia at a young age, is intended for partners, children, brothers, sisters, parents, other relatives, friends and acquaintances of someone with dementia at a young age.

Brochure Dementia at a young age

Alzheimer Nederland also has a special digital brochure about dementia at a young age. Here you can read about the symptoms and the diagnosis. It also contains tips for coping with dementia at a young age, what you need to arrange and where you can go for help and advice.
> Order the brochure

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