The average life expectancy for people suffering from dementia varies depending on the type of dementia they have, their age and any other medical conditions they may suffer from.
Dementia life expectancy
Below is the average life expectancy for the four most common types of dementia.
- Alzheimer’s disease life expectancy is on average 8 to 10 years after the symptoms begin.
- The average vascular dementia life expectancy from diagnosis is around 4 years. Most people will die either from complications of dementia, such as pneumonia or from a subsequent stroke.
- The average life expectancy for people with dementia with Lewy bodies, after the onset of symptoms, is 5 to 8 years.
- The average survival time after the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia start is around 8 years.
I believe one of the hardest things with dementia is not knowing how much time you have left. Knowing that the inevitable will happen. That they will forget your name, they will lose the ability to speak, they will die, but not knowing when each of these milestones will occur, leaves you in a state of limbo, unable to make any firm plans for life ahead.
Mum’s was a journey of roughly 7 years. Although Mum’s journey fell into the average range for someone living with dementia with Lewy bodies (5 to 8 years), some people have been known to live between 2 and 20 years depending on other factors. Below is a rough timeline (as best as I can remember) of Mum’s journey.
Mum was a relatively young 67 years of age in 2009 when her symptoms first appeared. Although there is no doubt that there was a gradual decline in her cognitive functioning and physical strength, up until June 2016 when Mum suffered from a brain incident which marked the beginning of the end of her life, Mum was fairly well and we thought she would live for years. To find out more, read our story in the book I wrote charting our journey from the first signs of Mum’s illness through to her death. The book also includes useful facts and information about Lewy body dementia.