Frontotemporal dementia is a degenerative brain disease that progressively affects memory, personality, emotions, behavior, coordination, and the ability to speak and understand what others are saying. People with FTD may also develop a condition called anosognosia, which causes unconscious denial of their disability.
Because this illness is so debilitating, most people who have it gradually lose the ability to take care of themselves, requiring long-term care, medical monitoring, and supervision. Here’s a brief guide to frontotemporal dementia.
Stages of Frontotemporal Dementia
Frontotemporal dementia affects the brain’s temporal and frontal lobes, causing them to shrink. Because of that, the characteristics are different than other forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease. People with FTD often demonstrate socially inappropriate behavior such as a lack of tact or empathy. They have trouble communicating, may fall frequently, or have unwanted muscle movements or tremors.
There are three stages of frontotemporal dementia.
- Mild: In this stage, you may notice your loved one behaving uncharacteristically. They might show poor judgment and mood changes or seem disorganized. They may also have trouble expressing emotions like sadness, joy, or anger.
- Moderate: FTD symptoms will get worse during this period. Your loved one could start compulsively cleaning or collecting items. They may struggle to find the right word to say or be unable to form logical sentences.
- Severe: In this final stage, the disease will become even more pronounced, with the addition of balance issues, memory loss, and language difficulties.
There is no known cure for frontotemporal dementia. After diagnosis, the average life expectancy for a person with FTD is between six and eight years. Though FTD isn’t fatal on its own, most people with frontotemporal dementia die of problems related to the disease. For example, as their motor skills decline, your loved one may fall and severely injure themselves. Or, a person who has trouble swallowing might develop aspiration pneumonia if food or liquid enters their lungs and causes infection.
How Frontotemporal Dementia Affects Families
Caring for someone with frontotemporal dementia is physically and emotionally challenging. Keeping up with someone else’s changing needs on top of your professional and household obligations can be demanding. In addition, making decisions about your loved one’s long-term well-being and quality of life will ultimately add a significant burden of stress.
As frontotemporal dementia progresses, many caregivers reach a point when they need additional support. If you are worried about your loved one’s safety, stability, and happiness and cannot provide for their needs on your own, hiring an experienced Care Companion can restore your peace of mind.
Creating the Best Day, Every Day, for Our Clients and Their Families
From providing companionship to helping with bathing, dressing, and hygiene, Legacy Homecare LA’s caregivers go above and beyond to meet our clients’ needs. Most importantly, our team will always treat your loved one with the respect, dignity, and compassion they deserve. With customizable support that adapts to meet the changing conditions of frontotemporal dementia patients, we ensure your family remains intact.
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