Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Dementia Onset Not Restricted to the Aged

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Dementia Onset Not Restricted to the Aged

Article excerpt

Byline: Erin Brady erin.brady@dailyexaminer.com.au

MORE than 74,000 people have dementia in NSW and the age of diagnosis is getting younger.

Peter Balk, of Grafton, had a science degree and worked full-time for Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology when he was diagnosed with dementia in his 50s.

"It was very hard because Peter didn't fit the age group," Peter's wife Helen Hearnshaw said.

Ms Hearnshaw started noticing changes in her husband's behaviour when he was about 58, but because of his young age and good memory, dementia was the last diagnosis on her mind.

"We had no idea what was wrong with him and (doctors) they treated him for depression but it was making no difference," Mrs Hearnshaw said.

"It was very hard because there was no diagnosis but we knew something was wrong."

It took two years before Mr Balk was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia that affected his motion, planning and execution.

Mrs Hearnshaw said it was a hard time but the support from ACAT, dementia support groups and other families really helped. …

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