For people aged 85 and over, rates of dementia deaths were lowest during wave 2 of the pandemic

This webpage presents age-specific death rates among people with dementia recorded on their death certificate for people aged 75–84 and those aged 85 and over. Age-specific rates for older age groups are much higher than the overall age-standardised rates presented above because the risk of developing dementia increases rapidly with age. Note that deaths among those aged under 75 could not be reported due to small numbers.

Examination of age-specific death rates for the first 10 months of 2020 (by adding up weekly rates presented in Figure 4), shows that:

  • for both sexes and age groups (75–84 and 85 and over), the rates of deaths with dementia were similar to or lower that the average death rates in previous years (2015-19)

  • among those who died aged 75–84, death rates due to dementia were either similar to or lower than previous years for both men and women.

There were however different trends in wave 1 versus wave 2 of the pandemic among people aged 85 and over who died due to dementia:

  • during wave 1, the age-specific death rate was slightly higher than the average rate over the same period in previous years (2015–19); this was true for both men and women

  • during wave 2 the rate was much lower than in previous years, for both men and women.

These trends suggest that stricter infection control measures in residential aged care facilities may have contributed to lower dementia mortality, particularly from the end of wave 1 and among those aged 85 and over, who are more likely to live in residential aged care facilities.  

This line graph shows weekly age-specific dementia death rates between 1 January and 27 October, for 2020 and the corresponding weekly averages over the period 2015 to 2019, by age groups and sex. It shows the rates of deaths due to dementia and, separately, the rates of deaths with dementia. The age-specific dementia death rates were higher and more variable for the older age group (85 years and over), compared to the younger age group (75-84 years). Compared to 2015-19 rates, wave 2 (from late June to late October) saw the biggest reduction in 2020 death rates for those aged 85 and over.