Memory Matters offers support group for form of dementia with gradual, progressive decline

ST. GEORGE  A support group for caregivers of those suffering from frontotemporal dementia, a form of dementia that causes a gradual, progressive decline in behavior and language will be hosted by Memory Matters in St. George.

The free meeting will be held at the St. George Library, 88 W. 100 South, Monday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

Memory Matters, a nonprofit organization working to improve wellness for individuals with dementia and their caregivers, has partnered with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration to offer the support group.

Frontotemporal dementia – also known as frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Picks disease or simply FTD – is distinct from other forms of dementia and leads to a progressive degradation in speech and behavior, while leaving the patient’s memory relatively preserved.

Unlike more common forms of dementia, FTD has been diagnosed in people as young as 21, though onset is most common in people in their 50s or 60s.

While there is a genetic predisposition to the disease, there are other triggers for FTD that include traumatic brain injury or stroke.

Bonnie Shepherd, board member and recording secretary for the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, will facilitate a support group for caregivers of those suffering from frontotemporal dementia in St. George | Photo courtesy of Memory Matters, St. George News

Patients with FTD will begin to exhibit marked differences in behavior and speech near the onset of the disease, symptoms that usually manifest later and are less pronounced in the progression of the disease in more common forms of dementia.

While there are currently no treatments to slow or stop the progression of the disease, FTD research has expanded in recent years.

The support group will be facilitated by Bonnie Shephard, who left her career to support her husband when he was diagnosed with FTD. She is a board member and recording secretary for the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration and previously served on the state’s Alzheimer’s Task Force.

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.

The support group is offered on a quarterly basis for Southern Utah residents.

For more information, contact Memory Matters of Utah/Nevada at 435-319-0407 or email info@memorymattersutah.org.

Event details

  • What: Frontotemporal dementia support group.
  • When: Monday, Dec. 10, from 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Where: St. George Library, located at 88 W. 100 South, St. George.
  • Cost: Free.

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