Yesterday we received a message from a Phildelphia man trying to raise awareness of what he calls Young Onset Alzheimer's Disease. This is where people begin to show symptoms of permanent memory loss well before their 70s and even 50s and 60s. If Alzheimer's is diagnosed before 65, we call it Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. In the case of Michael Ellenbogen, 53, he says he first displayed signs when he was only 39. When he first mentioned to friends and family his difficulties remembering names, dates, and other common information, they told him it was just the stress of daily life as a data analyst and father. But it turned out to be a more serious cause.
Michael's story sounds unique because of his young age, but as more health care professionals become familiar with the signs of early-onset dementia, we will see more people like Michael being diagnosed with memory impairment in their prime, rather than later in life. This will have serous consequences for families and companies who will struggle with how best to handle the disease as it grabs hold of parents with young children and breadwinners, not just grandparents and retirees.
Here is a video (one of several) Michael's produced that explains his journey and why he is starting a "movement."