What Is Frontotemporal Dementia?

Alzheimer's Care Arlington

As the term suggests, frontotemporal dementia refers to degenerative changes that occur in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The frontal lobe is located behind the forehead and the temporal lobe rests beneath it. Individuals who require dementia care for frontotemporal dementia generally display impairments with executive functioning, memory, and emotional control.

Causes
Individuals with frontotemporal dementia experience the progressive degeneration and loss of nerve cells in the frontal and temporal regions. This results in increasingly severe impairments in the functions controlled by these regions of the brain. Gradually, these lobes shrink or atrophy. It usually is not known why some people develop frontotemporal dementia, although it can be linked to gene mutations in some cases.

Impairments
The specific functional impairments, signs, and symptoms of frontotemporal dementia can vary considerably from person to person. There are also different subtypes of this form of dementia, each with its own set of characteristics. Like Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia becomes increasingly worse over a period of years and eventually, individuals require 24/7 dementia care. Individuals often display behavioral changes, including the loss of interpersonal skills, repetitive compulsive behavior, apathy, the lack of inhibition, and the use of socially inappropriate behaviors. Individuals may become unable to maintain personal hygiene and they may try to consume objects that are not edible. Additionally, individuals may struggle with speech and language impairments, such as difficulty finding the right word. Less commonly, frontotemporal dementia can involve movement disorders such as tremors, rigidity, swallowing difficulties, and muscle spasms.

Treatments
Like most other forms of dementia, frontotemporal dementia does not yet have a cure. Researchers have not yet identified an effective means of delaying its progression, although some treatments are available to manage the symptoms. These can include antidepressants and antipsychotics. Individuals with language impairments may benefit from speech therapy.

Avalon Memory Care is a leading provider of compassionate dementia care in Dallas, Arlington, and Houston. Within our home-like environments, our residents enjoy social and recreational opportunities, nutritious meals, and unparalleled support services that include bedside care. Call (214) 752-7050 and let us know how our dementia care providers can assist your family.