Frontotemporal dementia

Read about the main treatments for frontotemporal dementia, including medication and other therapies.

There's currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia, but there are treatments that can help manage some of the symptoms.

This page covers:

Care plans

Medication

Support and other therapies

End of life and legal issues

Help and advice for carers

Care plans

Before treatment starts, your current and future health and social care needs will be assessed, and a care plan drawn up.

This is a way of ensuring you receive the right treatment for your needs. It involves identifying areas where you may need some assistance.

These may be:

  • what support you or your carer need for you to remain as independent as possible – including whether you might need care at home or in a nursing home
  • whether there are any changes that need to be made to your home to make it easier to live in
  • whether you need any financial assistance

Read more about care plans.

Medication

Medication can't stop frontotemporal dementia getting worse, but it can help reduce some of the symptoms for some people.

The following medicines may help:

  • antidepressants – antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may help control the loss of inhibitions, overeating and compulsive behaviours seen in some people
  • antipsychotics – these are rarely used, but if needed they can help control severely challenging behaviour that's putting the person with dementia or others around them at risk of harm

The medications for Alzheimer's disease aren't effective for frontotemporal dementia.

Support and other therapies

In addition to medication, there are a number of therapies and practical measures that can help make everyday living easier for someone with dementia.

These include:

  • occupational therapy – to identify problem areas in everyday life, such as getting dressed, and help work out practical solutions
  • speech and language therapy – to help improve any communication or swallowing problems
  • physiotherapy – to help with movement difficulties
  • relaxation techniques – such as massage, and music or dance therapy
  • social interaction, leisure activities and other dementia activities – such as memory cafés, which are drop-in sessions for people with memory problems and their carers to get support and advice
  • strategies for challenging behaviour – such as distraction techniques, a structured daily routine, and activities like doing puzzles or listening to music
  • incontinence products if needed

It may also be helpful to get in touch with a support group, such as Rare Dementia Support, the Alzheimer's Society or Dementia UK.

Read more about living well with dementia.

End of life and legal issues

If you've been diagnosed with dementia, you might want to make arrangements for your care that take into account the decline in your mental abilities.

This may include ensuring your wishes are upheld if you're not able to make decisions for yourself.

You may want to consider:

  • drawing up an advance decision – this makes your treatment preferences known in case you're unable to do this in the future
  • having a plan for where you want to receive treatment as your condition becomes more advanced
  • giving a relative lasting power of attorney – this is the power to make decisions about you if you're unable to

Read more about managing legal affairs for someone with dementia and end of life planning.

Help and advice for carers

If you care for someone with dementia, you may find it helpful to read more about:

Looking after someone with dementia

Respite care – this can allow you to take breaks from caring

Benefits for carers – such as allowances and tax credits that may be available


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