For more information about the author, click to view their website: Arden Courts
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) is often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric disorder or Alzheimer’s disease. Signs and symptoms vary depending on what section of the brain is being affected.
FTD is a disease which causes progressive damage to the temporal and/or frontal lobes of the brain. The disorder also may be referred to as frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) or Pick’s disease.
Most people living with this disease will endure dramatic changes in their personality, becoming impulsive or emotionally indifferent. Sometimes, they eventually lose the ability to use and understand language.
The lack of language skills is a highly devastating symptom, often coinciding with social withdrawal. Naturally, this leaves the person hiding in a shell of solitude. Many may develop what is known as Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). This symptom usually starts developing around the second year of the disease. With this type of dementia, you may not see the characteristic of memory loss as you would with Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, you may first notice a person’s inability to concentrate and extreme changes in such a person’s behavior. This often misleads many physicians into believing their patients are experiencing psychiatric problems.
Here are a few signs of FTD to be aware of:
This disease onset typically strikes people between the ages of 50s and 60s. But according to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD), it has been seen as early as 21 years old and as late as 80 years. Roughly 60% of the cases are between 45-64 years of age.
Problems may also occur with motor skills, similar to those of Parkinson’s disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This disease attacks the frontal or temporal lobes (possibly both) of the brain, creating those sections to wither or shrink.
Recently, I had a phone conversation with a woman whose husband, at the age of 62, has been diagnosed with FTD. She said that his doctor initially diagnosed him with depression. Soon after, he was dismissed from his job for many years due to a lack of concentration. The doctors have told her that disease has now progressed into the latter stages.
As he is now experiencing hallucinations, I genuinely feel for her. One thing which amazed me is her husband tells her that he thinks something is wrong behind his forehead. Because of his loss of language skills, he now only speaks to her or to close family members. This behavior appears on the surface as being unsociable, but it is a symptom of the disease.
There are so many different types of dementia in existence. However, the thing they all have in common is they are all extremely difficult to diagnose. The earlier the patient does get appropriately diagnosed, the better they can genuinely be cared for.
For more information on FTD, please visit the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration’s website which is www.theaftd.org.
Gary Joseph LeBlanc
Dementia Spotlight Foundation
Be Aware of Heat Related IllnessEven for seniors who are used to living year round in the Florida heat and humidity, heat-related illnesses can be a real concern. Especially in Florida, with warm weather year round, and humidity always sneaking into the forecast for the day, it is a concern. Heat-related illnesses are something to be aware of, especially for senior citizens. Fortunately, heat-related illnesses are preventable, so being aware of them is a key to avoiding them. Here are some things to keep in mind as you try to steer clear of and navigate heat-related illnesses.Seniors Can Be Impacted MoreThough heat-related illness can strike anyone out in the blazing hot sun or stifling humidity, older adults are often more susceptible for several reasons and do not adjust as well to changes in temperatures as younger people. One of the reasons they may have difficulty is because of chronic illnesses that impact the way they react to heat and impact their perspiration ability. Many senior citizens also are taking medications that can impact their bodys reaction, especially by changing their ability to control their bodys temperature and their ability to sweat.Be Aware of These SignsTo help avoid the seriousness that can accompany heat-related illnesses, it is important to know the signs that heat may be impacting you negatively, and more than just simply tiring you out. If you notice any of these signs, move to a cool location or in some cases call for medical assistance. Heat-related illnesses can be serious, and even fatal, if not addressed.High body temperature of 103 degrees or moreHeavy sweatingHeadacheHot, dry, red or damp skin, or cold, pale and clammy skinConfusionDizzinessElevated pulseLoss of ConsciousnessMuscle crampsTiredness or weaknessWays to Avoid Heat IssuesTo help avoid heat-related illnesses, the first priority is to stay cool and hydrated. You, of course, can take a walk out in the Florida sun - after all thats probably part of the reason you live here - to enjoy the endless sunny days. But if its going to be blazing hot that day, you may want to take your walk earlier or later in the day. And no matter when you go, bring along something to keep you hydrated, such as water or drinks with electrolytes. An important tip is to hydrate even before you head out, so your body isnt already feeling dehydrated before you even hit the sun. Even if you dont feel thirsty, take some swigs to get the hydration into your body. If your doctor has limited the amount of liquids you can drink, make sure to check with your medical provider before changing anything up.If you are heading outside on an extra hot day, you may want to keep the exercise a little more low impact. Save the strenuous activity for cooler days, or cooler parts of the day. Loose fitting clothing is also a way to help avoid heat-related impacts, so that your clothes, socks or shoes do not trap in the heat. A wide-brimmed hat or a visor, though, are great accessories to have when you are heading out into the heat and the sunshine.Another accessory you will also probably want to wear is sunscreen. The CDC says that sunburn impacts your bodys ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. Avoiding sunburn with sunscreen can help with this issue.When its super hot out, make sure you are cooling off in air conditioning, especially if you are going to be spending part of the day outside. A fan often isnt enough to cool the body, especially on days with high humidity. A cooling shower or bath can also help if you feel overheated. An easy way to cool off is to run a cool cloth under water, and to put it on your head after you come inside. To prepare, you also can freeze a cloth before you leave for your activity, and bring it along to cool yourself on your journey.If you do notice any signs of a heat-related illness, move to a cool area. Some can be life threatening, so seek medical help immediately if needed.Visiting Angels Can HelpHeat-related illnesses are just one of the challenges seniors face. If you are looking for a professional caregiver to help your senior loved one with any of lifes challenges, Visiting Angels Sarasota can help. The caregivers from our trusted referral network can provide a variety of services to help your senior with everything from getting ready in the morning, to ensuring they drink enough liquid, to helping to steady them when they walk. We can help you focus on what is important in life, while helping to take care of everyday tasks for your senior and your family. Our professionally trained caregivers serve clients in Punta Gorda, North Fort Myers, Boca Grande, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva, Arcadia and surrounding areas. To learn more about our services at Visiting Angels, call us at 941-347-8288 or fill out an online form here.
Cognitive health is something that we tend to take for granted, but its what allows us to think clearly, learn, and remember. These are all important in our everyday function, but as we age and our bodies begin to change, our brains change as well. Some parts of the brain, including those used in learning and other complicated mental activities, begin to shrink. Blood flow in the brain may decrease, and communication between neurons may become less effective. Even in healthy older adults, these changes can begin to affect our cognitive function, making us slower to recall names and remember words, causing us to struggle with multitasking and diminishing our ability to pay attention. In people with Alzheimers or dementia, this loss of cognitive abilities is progressive.While there isnt a cure for cognitive decline yet, studies indicate there may be a link between brain games and improving cognitive abilities. The research may be inconclusive, but more medical experts are recommending brain games to slow down or prevent senior memory loss. Just as physical exercise keeps your body in shape, certain games and puzzles can keep your brain active and healthy.Five Ways Brain Games and Active Learning Benefit SeniorsBrain games help slow down age-related mental decline.Many seniors experience an age-related mental decline with slower reaction times, diminished vocabulary and a memory that isnt as sharp as it used to be. This is all par for the course of living a long, happy life. However, brain games and active learning can help reengage and improve a persons thinking skills. Its especially helpful if you vary the games played to promote learning new skills, words or trivia facts.Brain games help seniors stay connected with loved ones.Wondering what to do with an aging loved one in your care? Try playing a brain game the whole family can enjoy. Not only will you be giving their brain health a boost, but youll also get the chance to connect with your loved one in a meaningful way. You can include a wider network of friends and family by connecting through a video chat app on your smartphone or tablet while playing online brain games.Brain games can help alleviate senior stress and anxiety.Finishing a crossword puzzle or playing a board game can help ease feelings of stress or anxiety. Playing games is good for the mind and soul, as it keeps people socially active with friends, family or others in their community. Being more social helps eliminate or reduce the feelings of loneliness or depression many seniors face. Who couldnt benefit from a boost in their brain health, mood and social skills?Mastering new skills or games makes seniors feel engaged.Youre never too old to learn a new skill or master a new game. Finding new hobbies as we age is essential to our mental and physical health. If quilting, gardening or photography arent quite your senior loved ones speed, consider helping them explore a new language through the many learning apps on your smartphone or tablet. You can also try your hand at helping them learn a new brain game. Staying in a routine encourages passive brain participation. If we never push our boundaries and develop new cognitive skills, we may start to feel a disconnect with the world around us.Learning and playing games will keep you young at heart.If you want to stay young at heart, the secret is finding new ways to test your cognitive abilities. Its incredible how games that encourage active learning can make people feel younger and smarter while combating the feelings of boredom, restlessness or isolation plaguing todays seniors. Whether its an online version of Jeopardy! or a simple game of match the cards, you cant go wrong with games.Effective Brain Stimulating Games and Activities for SeniorsYou may be wondering whats categorized as a brain game when purchasing gifts for aging loved ones. The truth is that, while just about any game is better than being sedentary and watching television, not every game is effective for slowing cognitive decline. There are a number that allow you to stretch your brain, including:ChessA classic game of strategy, chess helps build logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. It may initially seem complicated, but learning how to play can strengthen cognitive function, increasing IQ and focus. Chess can be played in person or online.CheckersRecent research indicates that regularly playing checkers is connected to larger brain volume and improved cognitive health. Checkers can help improve hand-eye coordination, increase mental acuity, and alleviate stress. Because you play with other people, it can also help provide positive social interaction.ScrabbleScrabble is beneficial for every age group, but particularly for older adults, because it improves memory functions, lowers blood pressure and increases overall general wellbeing. It can be educational, too, because there are sometimes words you and your loved one didnt previously know.Word PuzzlesThere is evidence to suggest that playing games focused on language(Opens in a new window) may lead to improvements in memory, cognitive speed and verbal learning. These games include crosswords, word searches, anagrams, cryptograms, branded games like Mad Libs and online games like the recently released Wordle.Playing CardsCard games help people practice skills like reasoning, problem solving, memory and concentration. Card games can be played with a standard deck of cards or may have cards specific for the game, like Uno.Matching and Memory Games for AdultsBy testing short-term memory and the ability to remember patterns, matching and memory games engage the brain, activating areas related to recall and pattern recognition. Try a card matching game, or a memory game like listing the months of the year in alphabetical order or listing things that start with a certain letter.Trivia GamesPlaying trivia games can be an entertaining experience while also stimulating older adults minds. These games can be played as individual or on teams, and the topics and methods of playing can be modified to meet the needs of the people playing. Team trivia and Trivial Pursuit are two examples of fun trivia games.Brain Stimulating Games for Alzheimers and DementiaThere are many treatments in the works for people with Alzheimers and/or dementia, including new medication and deep brain stimulation. While these treatments show a lot of promise, science has not yet found a cure for these debilitating conditions. There is evidence to indicate, however, that stimulating the brain using certain games can be helpful.Recently, research was reviewed on the role of games in dementia care, looking at board games, video games, and virtual reality games. The review concluded that when people in the early and middle stages of dementia played these games, they saw improvement in a variety of cognitive abilities, including short-term memory, reaction time, problem solving, communication and logical reasoning. More research is needed, but there are some games believed to support a wide variety of cognitive skills for people with dementia.When choosing brain games for adults with dementia, it is important to select games suitable for the individuals cognitive abilities and preferences, carefully creating simple, familiar and non-frustrating experiences. Examples of games and activities for seniors with dementia include:Word PuzzlesAs stated earlier, games focused on language can improve memory, speed and verbal learning. For people with Alzheimers and other forms of dementia, research suggests that playing these games can lead to improvements not only seen through cognitive testing but also through neurophysical tests.Jigsaw PuzzlesWorking on a jigsaw puzzle is a fun way to work on memory and reasoning skills. Jigsaw puzzles come in a variety of difficulties, from simple, easy-to-piece-together puzzles to more complicated puzzles that require quite a bit of hand-eye coordination and memory recall. This makes it easy to choose a puzzle appropriate for a persons abilities.Dice GamesDice games often have a central component of luck, but they are good for helping people with dementia practice numerical and calculation skills. Brain-stimulating dice games include backgammon, kismet, liars dice, shut the box and Yahtzee.Card GamesCard games, as mentioned above, can boost skills like reasoning, problem solving, memory, and concentration. Since these skills are often in decline in people with dementia, they can be extremely beneficial. Matching games like go fish, trick-taking games like bridge, and even solitaire variations can be good for people with dementia.Board GamesBoard games use a premade board with game pieces and often elements like cards and dice. One recent study found that a higher frequency of playing board games between ages 70 and 79 resulted in less cognitive decline. Good board games to try include Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Ticket to Ride, Cranium and chess.Video GamesWhether traditional desktop games, game systems like Wii and Switch, or cell phone and tablet games, research supports the theory that these games can enhance cognitive function in older adults, improving visual recognition, visual memory and attention. Tetris, Candy Crush Saga, Animal Crossing, Wii Sports, and mobile or app versions of classic word games, puzzles and board games can all be beneficial.BrightStar Careoffers around-the-clock in-home senior careAt BrightStar Care, we take a unique approach to caring for older adults by pairing our unmatched clinical expertise with key education resources to help and empower families. BrightStar Care helps families meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of an older relative by providing excellence in home health care.
Often the hardest part of doing something new is getting started, and that's especially true about exercise. This article from AARP makes it easy to get started with the most important exercise to help you age healthy: squats. Five or ten squats are easy to do while you wait for the coffee to brew or the microwave to finish heating.Even when we're healthy we sometimes need a little extra help with the house or errands. Visit our website at www.rosehillathome.com to learn more about how Rose Hill Stay-at-Home Services can help you or a loved one stay in independent and at home.
Memory Care Is All We Do Arden Courts Memory Care Community, located on McGregor Blvd in Ft. Myers caters to the special needs of individuals with memory loss. Staffed by specially trained caregivers, Arden Courts cares for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Our community features friendly common spaces, an inviting kitchen and family rooms and walking paths within enclosed courtyards, all designed for the safety and comfort of our residents.