Dementia and Alzheimer’s increasingly the leading cause of death

In October 2016 the Office of National Statistics reported that in 2015 dementia and Alzheimer’s were now the leading cause of death in England and Wales. We discussed this in a latest news article then. A year later they have now published data for 2016, which shows this trend increasing.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s accounted for 12% of all deaths in 2016, (up from 11.6% in 2015). For the over 80’s, this rises to 18.9% (up from 18.1% in 2015).

By way of explanation the ONS say, “Although general increases in longevity and improved treatment of other conditions are part of the reason for this increase, improvements in recognition, identification and diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have also contributed.”

The final stages of these frightening diseases are something that many of us would like to avoid. This is a strong reason why MDMD seek more wide-ranging assisted dying legislation than proposals which are limited to helping the “terminally ill”, where this is interpreted as having a life-expectancy of six months or less. Some people, like MDMD supporter Alex Pandolfo, plan to end their life in Switzerland, rather than risk suffering the end stage of Alzheimer’s disease. While this may not be as good a death as he might wish, MDMD quite understands why people like Alex choose this option, instead of suffering like Joan Cheatle for example.