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Frontotemporal dementia


Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
South of England
I have posted a few times about my MiL, and the replies have been brilliant. After a lot of internet research(!) I think she is suffering from Frontotemporal dementia. I was wondering if any of you good people out there have some advice, thoughts, experiences to share.
She is in care, does not want visitors, conversation or any change in the deadly routine. This is understandable and not a problem. I would want routine if I was finding everything as difficult to understand as she probably is. The problem is that she persists is 'wanting to go home' which is impossible, given the dreadful and perilous state she was in before and her total refusal to accept any support. What do we say? She cannot understand or discuss anything. Do we just accept that visits will always be awful? And short.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
If you talk to her and ask her about "home" you will probably find that the home she wants to go to is not the home at which she last lived. She may be talking about a childhood home, or a fictional place. It may ne the home she last lived in, but wherever it is, what she wants is to go back to a time and place where she felt in control of herself and not confused.
DO NOT try and explain why she cant go home - it will only enrage her and do not argue.
What you have to do is come up with a reason why she cant go home, and preferably its not your decision - its someone elses.
The doctor says you need to stay until you are well enough to go home
The weather is so wet/cold/windy that the manager would be worried
You have to have the results of your tests first

Then change the subject/go and look at her room/go for a walk in the garden/get her a cup of tea and a biscuit and hope that it works for at least a while. Be prepared to keep saying the same thing over again. Eventually it will pass, but might take several weeks/months.


Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
South of England
Thank you for replying. I am sure she imagines that if she were at home everything would be alright again. We wish...
At the moment, 'her home' is still definitely the one she left, and she says lucid things about it 'I need to get an electric cooker'. We had turned the gas one off, as she was mega unsafe with it. However, your advice is still helpful. We need to find a form of words which we repeat. I tend to go for 'you need looking after at the moment', but will try the doctor line.
She refuses to leave her bed or room, (in reality has no mobility issues, yet!) so the best distraction is whatever is on TV.

Reading this forum I am so struck by how different everyone's experiences are, and yet we can all get some help from each other.


Account on hold
Aug 25, 2009
Plymstock Devon
'Frontal lobe' refers to the front areas of the brain, just behind the eyes. If the frontal lobes stop working properly, different symptoms can emerge including:
• change in personality; people can become more placid or, occasionally, more aggressive or irritable.
• koss of motivation.
• people just lose their 'get up and go' and become more uninterested in things. This may also happen in depression, Parkinson's disease and other conditions.
• loss of the ability to plan and organise.
• loss of restraint - the technical term for this is 'disinhibition'.
• people may swear, say rude things, laugh inappropriately or become sexually disinhibited.
There is no fixed pattern of symptoms. People with this condition may have any combination of the typical symptoms, and these may change over time. Eventually, any type of dementia can cause frontal lobe symptoms but some types of dementia (for example, Pick's disease) begin with frontal symptoms.