More people are dying at home from dementia than ever before, as new figures reveal a shocking 79% increase in deaths compared to previous years.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed there were 2,095 excess deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in private homes, registered between March 14 and September 11, in England. This is a rise of 79% compared with the average recorded for the same period over the past five years.
Figures have also revealed women have been particularly hard hit, with 3,116 dying with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in private homes in England over the same period in 2020. This is compared to an average of 1,781 a year in 2015 to 2019, over the same period, which is a 75% increase.
Meanwhile in Wales, the number of women dying in private homes from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is almost double the five-year average, up 92%.
ONS also found that hospital deaths of women involving dementia and Alzheimer’s disease fell by 40.6% in England and 25.5% in Wales.
Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, has said government must act and deliver on its promise to double funding for dementia research to stop the devastating impact the condition is causing.
During the 2019 election, the government promised to increase its spending on dementia research to over £160 million a year, but no further detail on this pledge has yet been revealed.
Samantha Benham-Hermetz, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“The fact that more people are dying from dementia in their homes than ever before is truly heartbreaking and the news will come as a tragic blow to all those affected by the condition. These sobering figures must act as a wake-up call to government of the enormous challenge of dementia, and the urgent need to find life-changing treatments.
“Research will be needed to fully understand why significantly more people with dementia are dying at home. Many people say they would prefer to die at home, but we need to understand whether people with dementia are able to access the medical help they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s likely that factors such as social isolation and people’s fear of coming forward to access the medial care they need has led to such a huge increase, which is why it’s more important than ever that people with dementia are not neglected.
“Nearly a year ago, the government promised to double funding for dementia research to over £160 million a year, but we are yet to see any further commitment to this pledge. This must not be an empty election promise, as there are almost one million people in the UK living with dementia who are desperately waiting for life-changing treatments. They have already been forced to wait too long, and until such a treatment exists, we will continue to see more people dying from dementia year-on-year. We need to act now to protect people with dementia.”