New figures released today by the Office of National Statistics show that for the first time, dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, is the leading cause of death for England and Wales. Of the 529,655 deaths registered during 2015, dementia accounted for 61,686 (11.6%).
This is in part because people are living longer but also because of improved detection and diagnosis. Most people have multiple conditions and dementia can significantly impact on a person’s ability to cope.
Dr Karen Harrison Dening, Head of Research and Evaluation at Dementia UK says:
There has been increasing awareness of the growing numbers of people living with dementia, which in addition to an ageing population, helps to explain it being the leading cause of death in England and Wales.
However whilst it is important to know the numbers of people dying with or from dementia, it essential is to support people to live as well as they can and equally to support them to die well too.
There needs to be a greater continuity and co-ordination of care between the health and social care. This will ensure individuals and their families are treated with respect and compassion, and given choices in the care that they receive at end of life and where they receive it.