Living with a diagnosis of behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia: The person's experience

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Abstract

Research investigating behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia has concentrated on identifying and quantifying people's difficulties; yet few studies have considered how people with behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia make sense of their difficulties. Five participants were interviewed and interpretive phenomenological analysis used to analyse the data. Two superordinate themes emerged: ‘Bewilderment’ and ‘Relationships with others’. ‘Bewilderment’ reflected the feelings of the participants from the start of their dementia, and was divided into two main themes (1) ‘Awareness of change: What's the problem? and (2) Threats to self: This is not me. The superordinate theme, ‘Relationships with others’, reflected difficulties with social relationships and comprised two main themes (1) ‘Family and friends: Things haven't changed… but do I say anything wrong?’ and (2) Coping with threats to self: Blame others or just avoid them. The themes were discussed in relation to literature evaluating the difficulties associated with behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia together with implications for clinical practice.

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