Dementia set to become leading cause of death ‘in the next few years’

Heart disease has been Australia’s leading cause of death since the early 20th century but that could change as dementia death rates continue to rise, latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

Heart disease has been Australia’s leading cause of death since the early 20th century but that could change as dementia death rates continue to rise, latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, remains the second leading cause of death in 2015, with 12,625 deaths, according to the latest Causes of Death, Australia figures, released on Wednesday.

Dementia has increased from 4.9 per cent of all deaths in 2006 to 7.9 per cent in 2015, the data shows.

James Eynstone-Hinkins, ABS director of health and vital statistics, said that death rates from dementia had continued to increase, while those from heart disease and stroke had steadily declined.

“If these trends continue we can expect to see dementia become our leading cause of death within the next few years,” he said.

Mr Eynstone-Hinkins said that over time the decline in mortality rates and increases in life expectancy were contributing to the ageing of Australia’s population.

“Population projections indicate that the number of people aged 80 and over will double in the next 20 years. Understanding and managing diseases of the elderly is critical as people live longer lives,” he said.

Heart disease remained the leading cause of death for both males and females, with strokes, lung cancer and chronic respiratory conditions all in the top five.

Responding to the figures, Alzheimer’s Australia said that urgent action was needed to ensure Australia had a coordinated plan to provide support and care for the increasing number of people predicted to be living with dementia in the future.

Maree McCabe, Alzheimer’s Australia acting CEO, said the peak body had been calling for a fully-funded national dementia strategy.

“These increasing dementia death rate figures, while startling, are all the more reason why we need to take immediate action,” she said.

As well as a national dementia strategy, Alzheimer’s Australia called for greater effort to raise awareness of dementia risk reduction programs such as Your Brain Matters.

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Tags: abs, australian-bureau-of-statistics, causes of death, death rates, dementia,

2 thoughts on “Dementia set to become leading cause of death ‘in the next few years’

  1. The journey from diagnosis to death is rocky and traumatic for sufferers and their families. Support and care for all those involved has to become an urgent priority.

  2. What I find amazing is that many aged care providers are building these massive buildings but are they thinking of the future?
    With the move to more home based care we can expect to see a move from the mid-high care client to dementia and palliative care being the main source of referral to aged care facilities.
    If we read the signs now a forward thinking provider would now be focusing on functional dementia specific/psycho geriatrics and palliative care room and service designs.
    This I see is also part of the attraction that will build business in the future.

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