The Office of National Statistics has released statistics showing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease to be the leading cause of death in women over 80.
The statistics, revealing the top causes of death by age and gender, showed that dementia and Alzheimer’s accounted for 17 per cent of deaths in women over 80 and was the second leading cause for men, causing 11 per cent of deaths in this age group.
George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society said:
‘These sobering statistics show that as people live longer – women more commonly than men – there has been an increase in the number of people living and dying with dementia. The increase also reflects a more accurate recording of dementia as a cause of death, increased awareness of the condition, and dispells the myth that dementia is a natural part of ageing.
‘Whilst better research to find treatments and cures is needed, we frequently hear of people with dementia not dying in the manner they wish. All staff caring for those nearing the end of their lives need to receive specific training to provide the best care possible to support people with dementia to die with dignity.
‘In less than ten years a million people will have the condition, with this number only set to increase; it is truly one of the biggest health and social care challenges facing the UK today.’