But last year the dementia mortality rate fell in England and Wales from 123.8 per 100,000 people in 2018 to 115.1 – a four-year low. The Office for National Statistics said the cause was a 2,936 fall in female deaths – from 45,726 to 42,790. Experts suggest the new figures, which also reveal that 23,634 men died of dementia in 2019, confirm a trend that the individual risk is getting lower each year, thanks to better prevention and treatments.
Gavin Terry, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said it was “good news” but called the ONS data “an unusual result that we weren’t expecting to see”.
He said: “It doesn’t reflect the overall pattern we’ve seen up until now with deaths from dementia rising year-on-year, in line with estimated prevalence numbers, due to our increasing ageing population, combined with improved awareness of dementia across society and better diagnosis of the condition.
“This data also doesn’t include deaths where dementia was a contributing factor so we’re keen to explore the statistics further to better understand what lies behind them.”
“While this may be a short-term blip, there is evidence in any case to suggest that people with dementia are living longer, supporting our calls for dementia care to be prioritised across society.”
Zena Aldridge, from Dementia UK, said: “The fact remains that even if it is not the cause of someone’s death, the person will still die with dementia.
“Subsequently, there is an increasing need for support for people with dementia and their families following diagnosis and until the end of their lives, whatever the cause may be.”
The highest number of dementia deaths was among people aged 85 to 89.
The highest mortality level due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was in the North West, where there were 9,060 victims.
The North East had the lowest number at 3,235, the ONS data showed.