Overview

Dementia is a term used to describe a group of similar conditions characterised by gradual impairment of brain function. Changes due to the condition may affect memory, speech, cognition (thought), behaviour, mobility and an individual’s personality, and their health and functional ability decline as the disease progresses. Dementia was the second leading cause of death in 2018, and is expected to affect up to 550,000 by 2030.

This page presents reports and statistics that are specifically focused on dementia, but additional information on dementia can be found under Aged care, Older people and Palliative care services.

Latest findings

66% of people with dementia who died aged 65 or over had a hospital admission in their last year of life The rate of deaths of Australians with dementia was lower during the first 10 months of 2020 than in recent years People who died with younger-onset dementia used health services more than older people with dementia All dementia deaths: those who died of COVID-19 were more likely to have pre-existing respiratory conditions 68% of people with dementia who died aged 65 or over presented to the emergency department in their last year of life Approximately 1 in 3 people who died due to COVID-19 during the first 10 months of 2020 also had dementia COVID-19 deaths: people with dementia were less likely to develop severe respiratory symptoms than those without Health service use in the last year of life decreased with increasing age at death, irrespective of having dementia People with dementia who died aged 65 or over used most health services less than others in their last year of life Women with dementia who died aged 65 or over used health services the least in their last year of life Measures designed to prevent COVID-19 infections probably also led to lower dementia death rates in 2020 People with dementia who died aged 65 or over used an average of 21 GP services in their last year of life People with dementia who died aged 65 or over had an average of 59 prescriptions dispensed in their last year of life Fewer people with dementia died due to influenza or pneumonia during the first 10 months of 2020 than in recent years 20,875 Australians died with dementia during the first 10 months of 2020

Featured reports

Highlights