Christian Bakker
Christian Bakker

Christian Bakker appointed Professor of Care and support in young-onset dementia

Christian Bakker has been appointed Professor of Care and support in young-onset dementia at Radboud university medical center / Radboud University. This chair is supported by the Dutch Young-onset Dementia Knowledge Center and Alzheimer Nederland. Bakker's research focuses on early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and support in young-onset dementia.

In the Netherlands, approximately 14,000 to 17,000 people have been diagnosed with young-onset dementia, about 5-6% of the total number of people living with dementia. Young-onset dementia refers to dementia symptom onset prior to the age of 65. Dementia in an early life stage results in specific challenges in areas such as relationships, family, and work, as well as access to age-appropriate professional care and support.

In his role, Christian Bakker focuses on this specific group. His chair is funded and supported by the Dutch Young-onset Dementia Knowledge Center and Alzheimer Nederland, aiming to draw more attention to the care and support of this unique group. The Young-Onset Dementia Research Agenda, co-developed by Bakker, focuses on various aspects of young-onset dementia, including research into the mechanisms that cause dementia in younger individuals and prevention. Bakker specifically aims to improve care and support after diagnosis and how this can be best organized.

Research lines

Bakker's work spans three research lines, each with a distinct focus. Firstly, his research focusses on the development and evaluation of person-centered interventions aimed at supporting young people with dementia to find or maintain balance in living with dementia. Bakker explains: ‘We look at ways to help individuals remain in the workforce, address behavioral changes associated with dementia, and support finding meaningful daily activities. Existing interventions are primarily developed with the needs and desires of older adults in mind and do not meet the needs of those with young-onset dementia.’

Secondly, Bakker explores how family members can be supported and feel equipped to provide support for their family member during the different stages of the care process. ‘We examine themes such as care utilization and experiences, advance care planning, and shared decision-making in a family context, and the development of disease-specific interventions,’ Bakker notes.

Finally, his research focuses on the organization of healthcare for this group: ‘Young-onset dementia is rare and requires specialized care that can only be provided by centers with built-up expertise. Consequently, not everyone has access to such appropriate care and support, but they should. Therefore, research aimed at developing network care is important. With more regional collaboration, the right expertise can be brought as close as possible to the people who need it.’


Christian Bakker studied Psychology at Leiden University and received his PhD from Radboud University in 2013 with a dissertation titled ‘Young-Onset Dementia, Care Needs & Service Use’. He then joined Radboudumc as a senior researcher and program leader for young-onset dementia. He also works as a healthcare psychologist at the Expertise Center for Young-onset Dementia of the care organization Groenhuysen. Bakker is a board member of the Dutch Young-onset Dementia Knowledge Center, focusing on ‘connecting practice and science,’ and chairs the scientific council of the knowledge center. He is affiliated with the Department of Primary and Community Care at Radboudumc and the University Knowledge network for Older adult care Nijmegen (UKON). Bakker's appointment as endowed professor begins on July 1, 2024, for a period of three years.

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Health & Healthcare