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January 2, 2019

What is Frontotemporal Dementia?

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which is sometimes called frontotemporal lobar degeneration, is a medical term used to describe a group of conditions that impact the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes. The frontal lobe is located behind the forehead. The temporal lobes are behind the ears. These areas of the brain help to control behavior, personality, and language.

If your aging relative has been diagnosed with FTD, knowing more about it can help you to care for them better.

About FTD

When someone has FTD, the affected lobes shrink, or atrophy. Most of the time, doctors aren’t able to determine a cause for the disorder. There has been some scientific evidence linking FTD to genetics, but more than 50 percent of people who develop FTD do not have a family history of dementia. Scientists have also discovered that FTD involves abnormal collections of protein in the brain.

FTD was once called Pick’s disease after Dr. Arnold Pick, the doctor who first described the disease in a patient who had severe symptoms that affected language. However, today doctors usually only use “Pick’s disease” when talking specifically about the kind of FTD where Pick bodies, collections of tau protein, form in the brain.

FTD Symptoms

The symptoms of FTD depend on what part of the brain is affected. Sometimes people with FTD experience major changes in their personality. They might do inappropriate things, act impulsively, or seem like they are indifferent to others’ feelings. Occasionally the symptoms lead to a misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, or a mental health problem. One of the differences between Alzheimer’s and FTD is that FTD usually develops at an earlier age than Alzheimer’s does. FTD often starts when a person is between 40 and 45 years of age.

There are three main kinds of symptoms associated with FTD:

Behavioral: These are the signs and symptoms that change the way a person behaves. For example, they might make poor judgements, seem apathetic, or eat inedible objects.

Speech and Language: FTD can cause a person to have problems finding the right words when speaking, forget the meanings of words, or hesitate when speaking.

Movement: Movement problems are rarer, but when they occur, they can resemble the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The patient might experience tremors, muscle rigidity, coordination problems, or muscle weakness.

Home health care providers can assist older adults who have FTD. A home health care provider can keep them safe when family caregivers aren’t available. Home health care providers can keep them from making poor judgements that can result in injuries. They can also help them to move safely, avoiding falls. Since FTD is a progressive disease, the ways in which an elderly care provider assists the senior can change as the person’s needs change.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Waukegan IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.


"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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