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The aim of this study was to investigate survival time and life-expectancy in people with young-onset dementia (YOD) and to examine the relationship with age, sex, dementia subtype and comorbidity.
Design, Setting and Participants:
Survival was examined in 198 participants in the Needs in Young-onset Dementia study, including participants with Alzheimer’s dementia (AD), vascular dementia (VaD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
The primary outcomes were survival time after symptom onset and after date of diagnosis. Cox proportional hazards models were used to explore the relationship between survival and age, sex, dementia subtype and comorbidity. Additionally, the impact on remaining life expectancy was explored.
During the six-year follow-up, 77 of the participants died (38.9%), 78 participants survived (39.4%) and 43 were lost to follow-up (21.7%). The mean survival time after symptom onset and diagnosis was 209 months (95% CI 185-233) and 120 months (95% CI 110-130) respectively. Participants with AD had a statistically significant shorter survival compared with VaD participants, both regarding survival after symptom onset (p = 0.047) as well as regarding survival after diagnosis (p = 0.049). Younger age at symptom onset or at diagnosis was associated with longer survival times. The remaining life expectancy, after diagnosis, was reduced with 51% for males and 59% for females compared to the life expectancy of the general population in the same age groups.
It is important to consider the dementia subtype when persons with YOD and their families are informed about the prognosis of survival. Our study suggests longer survival times compared to other studies on YOD, and survival is prolonged compared to studies on LOD. Younger age at symptom onset or at diagnosis was positively related to survival but diagnosis at younger ages, nevertheless, still diminishes life expectancy dramatically.
Access to social support contributes to feelings of independence and better social health. This qualitative study aims to investigate multi-informant perspectives on informal social support in dementia care networks.
Ten spousal caregivers of people with dementia (PwD) completed an ecogram, a social network card and a semi-structured interview. The ecogram aimed to trigger subjective experiences regarding social support. Subsequently, 17 network members were interviewed. The qualitative analyses identified codes, categories, and themes.
Sixth themes emerged: (1) barriers to ask for support; (2) facilitators to ask for support; (3) barriers to offer support; (4) facilitators to offer support; (5) a mismatch between supply and demand of social support; and (6) openness in communication to repair the imbalance.
Integrating social network perspectives resulted in a novel model identifying a mismatch between the supply and demand of social support, strengthened by a cognitive bias: caregivers reported to think for other social network members and vice versa. Openness in communication in formal and informal care systems might repair this mismatch.
Young-onset dementia (YOD) is defined as dementia that develops before the age of 65 years. The prevalence and type of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in YOD differ from patients with late onset dementia. NPS in dementia patients are often treated with psychotropic drugs. The aim of this study was to investigate psychotropic drug use (PDU) in Dutch community-dwelling YOD patients and the association between age, gender, dementia etiology and severity, symptoms of depression, disease awareness, unmet needs, and type of NPS.
Psychotropic drug use in 196 YOD patients was registered. Drugs were categorized according to the Anatomical Therapeutical Chemical classification. The association between age, gender, dementia type, dementia stage, type of NPS, depressive symptoms, disease awareness, and amount of unmet needs on total PDU was analyzed using binomial logistic regression analysis.
Fifty-two percent of the patients were prescribed at least one psychotropic drug; 36.2% of patients used one drug, and 12.2% used two different drugs. Antidepressants (36.2%) and antipsychotic drugs (17.3%) were the most frequently prescribed psychotropic drugs. Anti-dementia drugs were prescribed in 51.5% of the patients. Increasing age and moderate to severe depressive symptoms were positively associated with the total use of psychotropic drugs.
Community-dwelling YOD patients have a high prevalence of PDU. More research is needed to study the association between unmet needs, NPS, and PDU, and psychosocial interventions have to be developed to limit the use of psychotropic drugs in YOD.
Little is known about care needs in young-onset dementia (YOD) patients, even though this information is essential for service provision and future care planning.
We explored: (1) care needs of people with YOD, (2) the level of agreement within patient-caregiver dyads on care needs, and (3) the longitudinal relationship between unmet needs and neuropsychiatric symptoms.
A community-based prospective study of 215 YOD patients-caregiver dyads. Care needs were assessed with the Camberwell Assessment of Need for the Elderly. The level of agreement between patient and caregivers’ report on care needs was calculated using κ coefficients. The relationship between unmet needs and neuropsychiatric symptoms over time, assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, was explored using linear mixed models.
Patients and caregivers generally agreed on the areas in which needs occurred. Only modest agreement existed within patient-caregiver dyads regarding whether needs could be met. Patients experienced high levels of unmet needs in areas such as daytime activities, social company, intimate relationships, and information, leading to an increase in neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Our findings indicate that in YOD, there are specific areas of life in which unmet needs are more likely to occur. The high proportions of unmet needs and their relationship with neuropsychiatric symptoms warrant interventions that target neuropsychiatric symptoms as well as the prevention of unmet needs. This underlines the importance of the periodic investigation of care needs, in which patient and caregiver perspectives are considered complementary.
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