Brain and Spine

Riverside to Offer Frontotemporal Dementia Caregiver Support Group

March 08, 2018

HAMPTON, Va. - A support group for caregivers of those suffering from frontotemporal dementia, a form of dementia that affects a patient’s behavior and language, will begin this month, offered by Riverside Neurology Specialists in Hampton, Va. The group will meet on the third Tuesday of every month at 12:30 p.m. in the conference room at Riverside Neurology Specialists, 850 Enterprise Parkway, Hampton, Va.

Dr. Adel Aziz with Riverside Neurology Specialists identified the need for this new support group after determining that no similar groups exist in the region. The closest resource is currently located in Petersburg, Va. Caregivers have already started registering for the inaugural group meeting on Feb. 20. The group is expected to grow over time and they expect to draw people from as far as Richmond.

“Due to the long-term nature of this disease’s progression and the unpredictability of patient behavior, the need for support of the caregiver is very important,” says Vickie Armstrong, DNP, GNP-BC, Nurse Practitioner Riverside Neurology Specialists. “Our goal is to provide practical strategies for families and loved ones facing all the different challenges presented by frontotemporal dementia.”

Frontotemporal dementia, also referred to as FTD, happens when the body progressively loses nerve cells in the brain’s frontal (behind the forehead) or temporal (behind the ears) lobes. It shows up as changes in behavior and personality, trouble with languages, or difficulty with tasks using motor skills.

Unlike more common forms of dementia, FTD has been diagnosed in people as young as 21, though onset is most common in people in middle age, 50s or 60s. Less common than Alzheimer’s disease in older Americans but at least as common as early-onset Alzheimer’s in people 45-65 years old, the different types of FTD affect 50,000-60,000 Americans, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates - most of them younger than 65.

Often confused with psychiatric issues or thought to be caused by something like a brain tumor, FTD is actually a progressive disease for which there is currently no cure and limited treatment options. Patients eventually struggle with moving, eating, breathing and controlling bodily functions, which often results in infections and other potentially fatal conditions.

The group in Hampton will be facilitated by Denise Butler, MS, a certified senior advocate. While the meeting is intended as a supportive resource for caregivers of those suffering from FTD, those who have questions about the disease or suspect a family member may be showing signs of it may also attend the support group.

Frontotemporal Dementia Caregiver Support Group
Third Tuesday of every month at 12:30 p.m. (beginning Feb. 20, 2018)
Where: Conference room at Riverside Neurology Specialists
850 Enterprise Parkway
Hampton, Va.