Growing up in a family with Young Onset Dementia inspired Dr. Pilcher, at a young age, to work toward improving care and support for other families facing this challenge. Both Dr. Pilcher's maternal Grandmother and Aunt were diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer's Disease.
Dr. Pilcher has dedicated her entire career to the study and understanding of dementia, but she maintains a current focus on finding creative solutions and creating supports for the Young Onset population.
In addition to living with devastating losses, families facing this diagnosis also confront unique challenges. Getting a diagnosis may be a long, twisted and arduous path that ends with a sense of being more lost than you were before. Those living with dementia may face early retirement and/or a sudden loss of income. Many caregivers discover a lack of understanding among their peers and a shrinking social network. Often, well spouses are burdoned with caring for both their spouse with dementia and their children simultaneously.Resources are scant and providers that truly understand the disease are hard to find. What resources are available are geared toward the elderly population and are either inappropriate, unhelpful and uninformed.
The process of navigating this disease can be unpredictable, stressful and at times downright intimidating.
Because of both her professional and personal understanding of these unique challenges, Dr. Pilcher is passionate about finding creative solutions and providing informed education and support for families coping with a Young Onset diagnosis.
Younger people with dementia are also likely to have a less common form of dementia such as Dementia with Lewy Bodies or one of the many variants of Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia.
For these diagnoses, the primary symptom being experienced is usually not memory loss. Rather, due to issues with disinhibition, executive function and compulsiveness, people with these variants may be more likely to put themselves in danger. People with aphasic dementias will experience extreme difficulty with communication as others will assume they lack the capacity for receptive language.
As a result, these diagnoses require different care strategies, approaches and communication techniques.
Dr. Pilcher has spent her career understanding and teaching these alternative strategies for redirecting and/or addressing difficult behavior. Dr. Pilcher can help your family develop a strategic, individualized approach for your loved one that takes into account the specific symptoms, personality and family dynamics you are encountering.