Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD)
A Parkinson’s diagnosis at any age has unique challenges
Learning you’ve got Parkinson’s, a chronic neurodegenerative condition, when you’re not yet 30 years old, can be a shocking and very emotional experience. Even at 50, it can wreak havoc on your future plans – physically, mentally, financially, socially and emotionally.
Although the average age to develop Parkinson’s is around 60, young-onset Parkinson’s (before age 40) occurs in 5 to 10 per cent of people diagnosed. About 10-20 percent of people with Parkinson’s experience symptoms before the age of 50, which is called “young onset”. Some challenges in living with Parkinson’s are universal, regardless of age, and there are a number of additional issues specific to younger people.
The first is often the shock of a diagnosis of Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease. “I think when you get the diagnosis, your life sort of stops,” recalls one of the patients. “You have to deal with your kids, you have to deal with your job, you have to deal with getting up every day and all the things you’re supposed to do and then deal with this at the same time. And there’s no instruction book on how to do that.”
Apart from the physical challenges of the disease, people with Young-Onset Parkinson’s face unique issues related to family, career, finances and living long-term with a potentially disabling condition. Talking with other people the same age, with the same condition, can be very helpful.
To join our Young Onset Support Group, complete the form below.