A type of early onset dementia known as frontotemporal degeneration appears to take an even more punishing toll on family finances than Alzheimer’s disease, a new report suggests.

Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) is the most common type of dementia to strike men and women under 60, the study team noted.

The investigation revealed that families caring for a patient with FTD face an annual bill of nearly $120,000, on average. That’s roughly twice the cost of caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s, the researchers said.

“For years, we have known about the extraordinary economic burden shouldered by FTD caregivers, but now we have the numbers to prove it,” said Susan Dickinson, CEO for the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. “This study shows that the financial toll of FTD is even more devastating than we imagined.”

The study was led by Dr. James Galvin, of Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine. He and his colleagues surveyed 674 caregivers of patients with this early onset dementia.

The research team determined that the patient’s young age is largely responsible for the enormously high cost of providing care. On top of rising personal health costs, families also must cope with the loss of the patient’s prior income. They said family caregivers often leave their paid jobs as well.

Looking at patients with this devastating disease, investigators found that the average patient’s household income was between $75,000 and $90,000 a year before diagnosis. Those numbers fell to between $50,000 and $59,000 by one year after a diagnosis.

Making matters worse, poor financial decisions are a symptom of this type of dementia. Nearly six in 10 caregivers reported that their loved one had made bad choices with money, the research shows.

The findings were published online Oct. 4 in Neurology.

More information

To learn more, visit The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.

Source: HealthDay

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