Alzheimer's Society responds to figures showing dementia remains leading cause of death

Dementia is still the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease remain the leading cause of death in England and Wales, accounting for 12.0% of all deaths registered in 2016, up from 11.6% in 2015, according to new Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures.

This increase is attributed by ONS to people living longer, due to improved lifestyles and medical advances. With people living longer and surviving other illnesses, the number of people developing dementia and Alzheimer disease is increasing.  Improved identification and diagnosis of dementia has also contributed to the increase.

Alzheimer’s Society Head of Policy and Campaigns Nicola O’Brien said:

'Once again, dementia is the biggest killer in England and Wales. It’s a further wake-up call that the UK is woefully underprepared to cope with the scale of the challenge. Dementia is both a terminal illness, and a condition that people can live with for many years, but our health and social care system is not in a position to cope. As a result we know thousands and thousands of people with dementia aren’t getting access to the right care and support to allow them to live well, and to die well. 

With the numbers of people with dementia tragically set to rise, exceeding one million by 2021, inaction is no longer an option.

'Political inertia to improve basic services for people with dementia from diagnosis to end of life, and reform the crumbling social care system they rely on, is unacceptable. Vulnerable people with dementia deserve far better.

'Until a desperately needed long-term solution materialises, the 700,000 spouses, adult children or friends who are providing 1.3 billion hours of care for people with dementia will continue to buckle under the strain of propping up a failing social care system.'

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