Written by Ashton Snyder on
 May 31, 2024

Bruce Willis' Daughter Discusses Father's Health Amid Dementia Battle

Bruce Willis' daughter, Rumer Willis, has provided an update on her father's battle with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a rare and aggressive form of dementia.

Bruce Willis, now 69, has been suffering from FTD since around the spring of 2022. Rumer Willis said her father remains in good spirits and continues to be a loving grandfather despite the challenges posed by the illness, Daily Mail reported.

FTD: A Rare and Aggressive Dementia

FTD, different from Alzheimer's disease, often begins with aphasia—difficulty with speech. Bruce Willis has been struggling with this symptom for over two years, leading to significant impairment in his ability to communicate.

Doctors explain that FTD typically progresses steadily, with patients usually becoming mute within two to three years of diagnosis. Dr. Chris Winter, who has been treating many patients with FTD, mentioned that "usually, once symptoms start, it's a pretty steady progression over the next few years."

In addition to affecting speech, FTD also impacts mood regulation, often causing sudden outbursts and anxiety. These symptoms can lead to personality changes, which are sometimes misdiagnosed as mood disorders initially.

Care and Wellbeing of Bruce Willis

The average life expectancy for FTD patients is about eight to ten years post-diagnosis. Bruce Willis' resources allow him to receive high-quality care, including vigilant monitoring to prevent falls or infections.

Rumer and Tallulah Willis have shared the importance of music in Bruce's care routine. Dr. Winter noted that music can enhance mood stability and bring a sense of familiarity to FTD patients.

Tallulah expressed her connection with her father through music, saying, "Playing music... and sitting in that and this energy of love, it's really special." This highlights the emotional support Bruce receives from his family during this challenging time.

Challenges of Frontotemporal Dementia

FTD patients are prone to poor decision-making and gait instability, increasing the risk of falls and subsequent complications. Dr. Winter explained, "It's troubling that their decision-making is poor, their gait is unsteady, they fall, they break their hip, they go to the hospital, they get an infection, and die."

Bruce Willis' care involves a team of multidisciplinary professionals, including neurologists, speech therapists, and dietitians, to manage symptoms and ensure his comfort. Dr. Keith Vossel emphasized the need for supervision in diet as FTD patients may develop cravings for unhealthy foods.

FTD is less common than Alzheimer's, with 50,000 to 60,000 U.S. cases, mainly affecting those aged 45 to 65. Awareness is crucial for effective management and support. There are no treatments to stop FTD's progression, so care focuses on comfort, mental stimulation, and establishing routines to reduce anxiety and provide stability.

Concerns about the disease's progression underscore the need for emotional and behavioral support. Dr. Vossel highlighted that FTD progresses faster than Alzheimer's, often requiring long-term, round-the-clock care within three to five years of diagnosis.

The Willis family remains committed to providing Bruce with the support he needs. Despite the prognosis, their love and dedication offer him a meaningful quality of life.

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About Ashton Snyder

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