Background: There has been growing interest in young people living with dementia. Future research requires consensus on the terminology and operational definition of this group. Objective: The purpose of this integrative review was to explore and include all operational definitions used to define dementia at a young age. Methods: On August 14, 2020, the PubMed, Embase, Cinahl, and PsycInfo databases were searched for empirical and theoretical literature using Google. Various terms to describe and define 'dementia' and 'at a young age' were used to collect literature concerning terminology; age-related aspects, including cut-off ages and criteria; and etiologies of dementia at a young age. Results: The search yielded 6,891 empirical and 4,660 theoretical publications, resulting in the inclusion of 89 publications, including 36 publications containing an explicit discussion and 53 publications as confirmation. 'Young-onset dementia' was the most commonly used term of seven identified terms, in the last two decades. The age of 65 years at symptom onset was used most frequently when considering a total of six upper age limits and four criteria to define a cut-off age. Eight lower age limits and an option for subdivision based on age were included. We identified 251 different etiologies and 27 categories of etiologies. Conclusion: Despite relative consensus on the term young-onset dementia and an age at symptom onset being used as a cut-off criterion, much is still unclear concerning possible etiologies of dementia at a young age. In the current study, controversies were detected for discussion in an international consensus study.
Funding for this article was provided by the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund, Alzheimer Netherlands,
the Dutch Young-onset Dementia Knowledge Center and Florence Care Group in The Netherlands.
We thank the PRECODE project team for their suggestions and collaboration.
Publisher Copyright: © 2021 - The authors. Published by IOS Press.