Identifying needs, burden, and distress of carers of people with Frontotemporal dementia compared to Alzheimer's disease


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Abstract

The literature on carers of people with Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is negligible compared to the vast literature on carers of people with Alzheimer's disease (AD), and little research has compared the two groups. Research has mainly focused on identifying the behavioural characteristics of people with FTD or AD. The impact of these behaviours on the psychological well-being of carers of people with FTD is relatively unexplored. This study investigated the needs, burden, and extent of depression and anxiety in carers of people with FTD (n = 30) compared to carers of people with AD (n = 30). Findings indicated that needs of carers of people with FTD were significantly higher than those of the carers of people with AD. The elevated needs were related to the younger onset of FTD, financial dissatisfaction, typical FTD characteristics, and access to appropriate services, information and support. Results also suggested that female carers were more likely to report a greater severity and impact of disruptive symptoms associated with FTD. No significant differences were found between the two groups on carers' levels of burden, depression or anxiety. In order to address the needs of carers of people with FTD, we recommend specific educational and support programs, raising community awareness and understanding, and tailoring existing domiciliary services and activities for people with FTD.

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