Documentary and talks cover early onset dementia

Early-onset Alzheimer’s affects people younger than 65. They have families and careers or might be caregivers for others when Alzheimer’s strikes.  Up to 5 percent of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s are early-onset cases.

It’s against that backdrop that Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources, a program of county government, is teaming with Pierce County Library System (PCLS) to offer free screenings of “Too Soon to Forget” and discussions of the documentary that focuses on early-onset dementia. The sessions, all in November, are scheduled for:

• Nov. 4 at 12:30 p.m. at the Lakewood branch of PCLS at 6300 Wildaire Road.

• Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Pierce County Sound View Building at 3602 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma.

• Nov. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Key Center library branch at 8905 Key Peninsula Hwy. NW. in Lakebay.

• Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. at the South Hill library branch at 15420 Meridian E.

• Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. at the Parkland-Spanaway library branch at 13718 Pacific Ave. S.

• Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the University Place library branch at 3609 Market Place W.

With November being national Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, “it is an opportune time for us to learn more about Alzheimer’s and other dementias and how the symptoms manifest themselves,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Aging and Disability Resources. “The importance of recognizing the symptoms and pursuing appropriate medical advice cannot be stressed enough.”

He noted that Healthcare providers generally don’t look for Alzheimer’s in younger people. Symptoms may be incorrectly attributed to stress or there may be conflicting diagnoses from different healthcare professionals. Little information is available specifically for those facing early-onset, which can leave families feeling misunderstood and disregarded, Van Valkenburg said.

Aging and Disability Resources helps families with case management, education and connection to support services, resources and programs. More information is available at 253-798-4600.