The Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association of Wyoming says Alzheimer's disease isn't just a problem suffered by elderly people.

Janet Lewis says that while it is true that most Alzheimer's victims are over the age of 65, there are about 200,000 victims in the United States of early onset Alzheimer's which can afflict much younger people.

She says that most commonly means people in their 40s or 50s, but sometimes even those under 40. Lewis says early onset Alzheimer's disease is often misdiagnosed because even doctors tend to think of it as mostly a disease of the elderly.

She says another problem is that unlike more typical older victims, those hit by early onset Alzheimer's are often in the middle of building a career and raising a family. She says that means victims may have to quit their job during what would otherwise be their prime money making years, leaving entire families in financial hardship.

The situation can be made even worse because a spouse or sometimes even a son or daughter may have to quit their job as well to care for the victim.

Lewis says ''financial problems are skyrocketing" for those caught in this dilemma. She says people can find out about programs designed to help Alzheimer's victims of all ages and their families by calling the Alzheimer's Association hotline at 1-800-272-3900.

She says the hotline is available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Lewis says the Alzheimer's Association will also be offering a presentation on early onset Alzheimer's on Sunday, May 15 at 1:30 p.m. at the Willow Room of the Laramie County Library.

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