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Dementia and Alzheimer's is the leading cause of death for women over 80, according to ONS

Published 27 February 2015

The Office of National Statistics has today (27 February 2015) 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.'

- Ends -

Notes to editors:

  • 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes
  • Alzheimer's Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia.  In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to two million people by 2051
  • Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 Billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia.
  • Alzheimer's Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them
  • Alzheimer's Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Alzheimer's Society supports people to live well with dementia today and funds research to find a cure for tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk 
  • Alzheimer's Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk

Press Office 08450 744 395 Email: press@alzheimers.org.uk