Intergenerational photo with grandmother and grandchild

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What is frontotemporal dementia (FTD)?


Frontotemporal dementia is a group of conditions caused by the loss of nerve cells in certain areas of the brain. As cells die, these areas shrink, causing behavioral and physical changes.


What are the signs of frontotemporal dementia (FTD)?

The signs of FTD vary depending on which part of the brain is affected.

Shrinking in the frontal lobe (area behind the forehead) can dramatically affect behavior and personality. It can also hinder your ability to plan or make sound decisions. Some common signs are:

  • Apathy
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Loss of empathy
  • Poor judgment
  • Repetitive compulsive behavior
  • Sudden mood swings

Shrinking in the temporal lobe (area behind your ears) can affect your ability to make sense of what you hear. You may have trouble understanding others or recalling words.

FTD often runs in families. Talk to your doctor right away if you have a family history of dementia or if you notice any of these signs.


How is Frontotemporal dementia different than other types of dementia?

Losing your mind. Having a senior moment. These are words some people use to describe the memory loss that’s a natural part of aging. But serious memory loss can point to dementia. Conditions like Alzheimer’s, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia can alter our minds and bodies.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) differs from other types of dementia in a few key ways:

  • It can happen at a much earlier age (40s and 50s)
  • More men are affected than women
  • It progresses more rapidly
  • Memory often remains intact

This chart gives us a more specific look at the differences.



Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)

Other dementias

Age of diagnosis

40 - 60 years old

65 and older

Memory loss

Not common in the early stages, but occurs in the late stages

The most common symptom in the early stages

Behavior changes

Occur in the early stages

Occur in the late stages

Getting lost in familiar places

Not very common

Very common

Difficulty with language

Frequently have trouble when reading or talking, or
understanding what people say

Frequently forget words or conversations


Not common


What care is available for people with FTD?

FTD can’t be cured, but it’s possible to manage symptoms. Some people find medicines, such as antidepressants, help with behavioral changes.  Speech therapy can help those who struggle with language. Talk to a doctor about what treatment might be right for your loved one.

Caring for someone living with FTD can be challenging. When your loved one needs more care than you can provide, consider memory care centers. At Arden Courts, we specialize in memory care. In fact, that’s all we do. We’ve created a space that meets unique, individual needs of those dealing with memory issues, such as FTD, Alzheimer’s or dementia. Our specialized programming works to help our residents stay engaged, be productive and life their lives with dignity.

Our engagement therapy is customized for each person based on their experiences and abilities. We blend past and current interests to stimulate social skills and interactions. This creates an encouraging and stable environment where people with FTD can feel secure. We also offer programs that promote relaxation and stimulate the senses, provide structure through daily routines and tasks, and activities tailored to individual’s interests to maximize enjoyment and reduce frustration.

We also understand that caring for a loved one suffering from FTD can be difficult. Families and loved ones can quickly feel alone and often overwhelmed. Arden Courts also offers support groups and respite care so caregivers can take care of themselves, while knowing their loved one is in good hands.


Call on us

We offer support, education and information for caregivers and family members. To learn more about Frontotemporal dementia and available care options, contact the Arden Courts near you.