FRONTOTEMPORAL DEMENTIA is the most common dementia diagnosed before the age of 60. A group of conditions that collectively are a major cause of young onset dementia.

Affects frontal, temporal area of brain

  • Usually diagnosed after age 50 and before age 65 (although there are sometimes diagnoses younger or older)
  • Less common. Accounts for 2-5% of all dementias


No specific cause, but abnormal protein structures are thought to affect the brain. The abnormal protein structure cause – half have been found to be genetic, the other half cause is unknown.


Change in Behavior – impulsivity, obsessive compulsive behavior, inappropriate actions, repetitive behavior, lack of empathy, poor judgement, apathy (not necessarily depression), poor hygiene, overeating or underrating and possible preference of sweets or carbohydrates, impaired judgement, rigid thinking, hypochondriasis sometimes with bizarre physical complaints, change in sleep pattern.

Chane in Language – slow hesitant speech, errors in grammar such as leaving out connective words such as ‘to’, ‘from’, ‘the’, difficulty finding a word, using a general noun to describe something such as ‘animal’ instead of ‘cat.’

10-20% of people with frontotemporal dementia will develop motor disorders. Stiffness, slow movement, tremor, rigidity, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, inappropriate laughing or crying are all examples. Intelligence tests are frequently normal until the point in the disease when disinterest lowers scores.

What is Helpful?

Avoid surprises

Greet visually first (and at least 6 feet away in order to avoid startling them)

Tell them what you are going to do each step of the way

Allow the person to talk without correcting them

Note what is liked or disliked

If resisting care try again in a few minutes of have someone else try

Remember focus on what the person can do!

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