Treatment - Frontotemporal dementia

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

Care plans

Before treatment starts, your treatment team will assess your future health and social care needs. They will also create a care plan for you.

This is a way of making sure you get the right treatment for your needs.

They will look at:

  • 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
  • if there are any changes that need to be made to your home to make it easier to live in
  • if you need any financial help

Medicine

Medicines cannot stop frontotemporal dementia getting worse, but they can help reduce some of the symptoms for some people.

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 are sometimes needed if SSRIs have not worked. They can help control severely challenging behaviour that's putting the person with dementia or others around them at risk of harm.

Support and other therapies

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 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 dementia cafes, which are drop-in sessions (usually monthly) for people with memory or cognitive 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
  • a memory and technology resource room to help you identify what assistive technology might work for you to help your independence, communication and safety
  • information and advice from the National Dementia Adviser Service

It may also be helpful to get in touch with a support group, such as the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland or use the service finder on Understand Together for a list of supports in your area.

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.

You may want to consider:

  • drawing up an advance care directive – this shows what treatment you would like 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 an enduring 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 on the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland website.

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.


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

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