- Associated Press - Friday, March 23, 2012

LEESBURG, FLA. (AP) - The number of Americans suffering from early onset dementia is growing as the baby boom generation ages.

Boomers aren’t getting dementia at a higher rate than previous generations; it’s just that there are 78 million Americans who are between 47 and 66 years old.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that about 200,000 Americans under 65 have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. That’s a fraction of the 5.4 million who have dementia overall, but provides another face to the devastating, slow-moving condition.

The Alzheimer’s Association says many don’t realize that dementia can strike people who aren’t senior citizens and the signs are often overlooked.

Along with being mentally and emotionally devastating, early onset dementia often leaves families financially destitute because it strikes during the victims’ prime earning years.