Frontotemporal dementia, or frontal lobe dementia, is one of the most challenging dementias known. This disease has a very rapid onset, and immediate preparations should be made once a diagnosis is received. Having coping strategies and plans in place will help navigate the difficult terrain of this dementia.
Frontal lobe dementia primarily affects the areas of the brain that control language, behaviour and personality. The lobes of the brain shrink, causing a wide range of symptoms. Often, personality changes occur, as well as the loss of language usage and knowledge. This disease primarily affects people ages 40 to 70 years old.
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Obtain documentation for power of attorney, health care directives and financial plans. These documents need to be in place prior to sickness. This will enable the chosen caregiver to remain true to the patient's preferences. Because of privacy concerns, the health care directive is essential for communication with all health care providers.
Keep all sets of car keys out of reach to avoid the risk of the patient operating a vehicle. Install childproof latches on drawers and cabinets that contain potentially dangerous items, such as sharp knives or poisonous substances. Keep all medications in a safe or locked area. Install buzzers or bells on doors that lead outside, ensuring you are aware of the patient exiting the home. Analyse any other potential safety hazards of your home and try to address them prior to accidents occurring. Home safety will be an essential component in coping with this disease.
Maintain a calm living environment and try to anticipate problems before they arise. Avoid anxiety causing activities. With frontal lobe dementia, your loved one will sometimes act in strange and inappropriate ways. It is important to remember that inappropriate behaviour is a result of the disease, not the individual.
Write a list of all medications, questions and recent health developments prior to doctor's appointments. Written communication with a doctor allows questions to be asked and information to be provided while ensuring dignity and respect for the patient.
Hire a home health care provider to help with daily functions of feeding, changing, bathing and moving the patient. If you are providing care in home it is important to have assistance for this 24 hour job. If you are unable to pay for a home health care provider there may be volunteers available in your area that can provide assistance. Check with your local church, hospice organisation or Alzheimer's support group to find volunteers.
Attend a support group for dementia or Alzheimer's caregivers. Check with your local Alzheimer's organisation for times and locations of support meetings. If you do not have time to attend a local support group there are a number of online groups that provide both information and support.
Research nursing homes in your area that care for dementia patients. For health and safety reasons it may become necessary to place your loved one in a facility. Prepare a list of questions prior to visiting facilities. Ask for a tour of the facility as well as a detailed explanation of services provided such as laundry, activities and meals. Know your rights as a family member as well as the patient's rights.
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