Spring Sunday Champagne Brunch
Sunday, April 21st 11:30am-1pm. Click HERE & RSVP Today!
Open Mobile Menu
Spring Sunday Champagne Brunch
Sunday, April 21st 11:30am-1pm. Click HERE & RSVP Today!
Open Mobile Menu
what to expect with frontotemporal dementia

What to Expect with Frontotemporal Dementia

Frontotemporal dementia is among the most common types of dementia, along with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

This type of dementia affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which are located in the front of the brain behind the forehead and the area behind the ears.

Due to the location of the damage to the brain, frontotemporal dementia can cause symptoms such as behavior or personality changes and issues with judgment.

In this article, we’ll share what to expect with frontotemporal dementia, including the range of symptoms, the risks, and how it’s treated.

What is frontotemporal dementia?

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) occurs as a result of nerve cell loss in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

The damage from the nerve cell loss causes the lobes to shrink, which leads to progressive cognitive dysfunction.

Similarly to other types of dementia, frontotemporal dementia can cause significant changes in behavior, as well as issues with language, movement, and judgment.

Frontotemporal dementia, formerly called Pick’s disease, can occur at a younger age than other types of dementia. It often begins in those ages 40 to 65 but can develop earlier or later in life as well.

What are the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia?

Frontotemporal dementia can cause different symptoms depending on the area of the brain affected.

Let’s take a look at the two main forms of frontotemporal dementia and the resulting symptoms of each.

Behavior variant frontotemporal dementia

The behavioral variant results in significant behavioral and psychological symptoms, because the nerve damage is mostly in the area of the brain responsible for judgment, empathy, and other conduct-related abilities.

Primary progressive aphasia

Primary progressive aphasia occurs in the area of the brain responsible for communication.

There are two main forms of primary progressive aphasia: semantic dementia and progressive nonfluent aphasia.

The semantic variant affects a person’s ability to use or understand language, and the nonfluent variant affects a person’s speaking ability.

A rare form of frontotemporal dementia can cause movement symptoms similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) or Parkinson’s disease.

The full range of symptoms for frontotemporal degeneration includes:

  • Inappropriate social behavior that progresses over time
  • Loss of judgment or inhibition
  • Significant behavior or personality changes, including lack of personal hygiene or inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Lack of empathy or sensitivity
  • Impulsive or repetitive behavior
  • Difficulty using or understanding language
  • Change in eating habits
  • Social withdrawal
  • Depression or mood changes
  • Issues with organizing or planning
  • Physical symptoms, such as muscle weakness, poor motor functions, or even difficulty swallowing

Due to the wide range of symptoms, frontotemporal dementia is frequently misdiagnosed in the early stages.

Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia may initially be mistaken for psychiatric disorders or even another form of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s.

If you or a loved one are struggling with any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to keep track of all symptoms and bring them to the attention of your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

How is frontotemporal dementia diagnosed, treated, and managed?

Similarly to other types of dementia, no single test can diagnose frontotemporal dementia.

Instead, doctors will look at your loved one’s symptoms, medical history, and medications, and try to rule out other causes.

Using a combination of lab work, a neuropsychological exam, and a brain scan, your doctor can try to detect certain patterns or visible indications that point to frontotemporal dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia also does not have a specific treatment option. 

However, doctors can prescribe medications to address particular symptoms, such as antipsychotics or antidepressants.

A combination of therapies also can be helpful in managing the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia.

The Kensington White Plains offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for residents struggling with frontotemporal dementia. Speech therapy is known to be particularly helpful in addressing the communication issues caused by FTD.

How quickly does frontotemporal dementia progress?

Frontotemporal dementia is progressive, meaning symptoms may be mild at first and worsen over time until your loved one needs a significant amount of care and assistance.

The progression will vary from person to person, so it’s important to establish a proper care plan for your loved one soon after they are diagnosed.

In the early stages, your loved one may display socially inappropriate or compulsive behaviors or may lack sensitivity to issues they once would respond to with more care. 

Family members or friends who are unfamiliar with the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may be confused or hurt by the behaviors. Education is key to helping yourself and others understand more about why these behaviors occur, and how to navigate them. 

Over time, as communication, movement, or memory are affected, it may become more clear that the person is experiencing some form of dementia.

Your loved one’s care plan may include a family caregiver or at-home care initially, and gradually result in your loved one’s transition to an assisted living and memory care community where all their needs can be met.

The Kensington White Plains offers specialized memory care in two “neighborhoods” designed to address specific care needs.

Transitioning to memory care at The Kensington White Plains

It can be difficult to know what to expect with frontotemporal dementia, especially if you are unfamiliar with the symptoms.

The Kensington White Plains is an enhanced assisted living and memory care community that is passionate about sharing our knowledge and resources with the community, so you can be empowered to seek the appropriate level of care for yourself or for a loved one.

Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own, and this Promise is exemplified every day throughout our community.

If your loved one was recently diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, or you suspect they are experiencing symptoms of dementia, connect with our team today to hear about how we can support them and help them maintain the highest quality of life possible.

Our memory care neighborhoods, Connections, and Haven are appropriately designed with your loved one’s comfort, safety, and care needs in mind.

We also offer a full calendar of life enrichment activities and pocket programming that takes into account the unique interests and talents of our residents, plus nutritious gourmet dining options for their overall health and wellness.

Call us today to learn more about all the services The Kensington White Plains team is able to provide to our residents with a range of care needs. 

We offer true “aging in place,” so no matter how your loved one’s needs change over time, they have a home with us.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.