Changes in your loved one’s behavior, personality, or language, may actually be frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
FTD is a memory disease that generally progresses slowly through seven stages. However, the rate at which the disease progresses depends on a senior’s overall health.
While you may be able to offer your loved one support and assistance at home for a while, you’ll need to consider transitioning them to a senior living community as their disease progresses.
Discover more about the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia, coping with FTD, and how The Kensington Redondo Beach community can help your loved one age in place.
What is frontotemporal dementia?
Frontotemporal dementia is a type of dementia characterized by the progressive degeneration of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
While this condition is more common in individuals under 65, it can also occur in older adults.
If your elderly loved one is experiencing frontotemporal dementia, you may notice significant changes in their personality, behavior, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities.
The symptoms of FTD can vary depending on which part of the brain is affected but commonly include a decline in social skills, emotional instability, and a lack of inhibition.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for FTD. Treatment options focus on managing symptoms and providing supportive care.
Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia
Although the signs and symptoms of frontotemporal dementia can vary depending on which region of the brain is affected, there are typical signs and symptoms that include the following.
Changes in personality and behavior
Individuals with frontotemporal dementia may experience a loss of empathy or social skills, become apathetic, and lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed.
They may also exhibit compulsive or impulsive behaviors, such as excessive eating or spending.
Those with FTD may have difficulty with language, including understanding and producing speech or expressing themselves through writing.
They may also need help understanding the meaning of words.
Your loved one may struggle with planning, organizing, problem-solving, and making decisions.
Due to the degeneration of nerve cells in the frontal lobe, your loved one may have trouble initiating tasks, organizing information, and switching between tasks.
Changes in motor skills
Some people with FTD may experience changes in their motor skills, such as difficulty with balance or walking, or involuntary movements.
Muscle weakness is also common, making it hard for your loved one to get dressed or lift objects.
Changes in eating habits
People with FTD may exhibit changes in their eating habits, such as overeating, a preference for certain foods, or difficulty swallowing.
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be present in other types of dementia. A proper diagnosis requires a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare professional.
Coping with frontotemporal dementia
Coping with frontotemporal dementia can be challenging for both the person affected by the disease and their caregivers.
The following are some of our tips for coping with a frontotemporal dementia diagnosis.
Joining a support group can provide emotional support and helpful tips from others going through a similar experience.
Learning more about FTD can help you understand the disease and its symptoms, which can help you better manage the challenges of caring for someone with FTD.
Create a routine
Establishing a daily routine can help provide structure and predictability for the person with FTD, which can help reduce anxiety and confusion.
Break down tasks into small, manageable steps, and focus on one task at a time to reduce frustration and confusion.
Use visual aids
Visual aids, such as calendars, schedules, and picture cues, can help with memory and organization.
Taking care of yourself is essential when caring for someone with frontotemporal dementia.
Make sure to take breaks, engage in activities that you enjoy, and seek help when needed.
Plan for the future
Planning for the future may be challenging, but discussing legal, financial, and end-of-life issues with your loved one is essential.
You should also consult with healthcare professionals, an attorney, and a financial planner as needed.
Coping with FTD can be a long and difficult journey, but resources and support are available to help you through it.
A senior living community that your loved one can enjoy
Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.
We have built an empathetic and compassionate team of experts to ensure that our residents’ unique and specific needs are being met.
When your senior loved one becomes a part of our family, they can benefit from:
- Around-the-clock care
- On-site licensed nurses
- Alzheimer’s care and dementia care
- Rehabilitation services
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Life-enrichment activities
- Small-group Pocket Programming for one-on-one sessions
- Exquisite dining services
- All-day dining
- Healthy meals
- Specialty diets
- Two memory care neighborhoods
- Connections – for early to mid stage memory care
- Haven – for mid to late stage
- Expert resources and events for residents and families