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1.8 The progression of dementia

Dementia mostly progresses slowly but the progress differs for each person

Your life does not change now that someone you love has a diagnosis. Tomorrow will be much the same as yesterday.

Dementia mostly progresses slowly but the progress differs for each person. Age, physical health, the type of dementia and other factors, including how you are managing, influence the nature of symptoms and how fast dementia progresses.

On average, people live from 1.5 to 8.5 years after being given a diagnosis of dementia. For individuals, it might be much longer than that. How long people will live depends on how old they are, how severe the dementia is at the time of diagnosis, what type of dementia they have and their gender. Types and severity of other medical conditions also influence how long a person will live.

In general the younger the person is at the time of diagnosis, the shorter the life expectancy. Younger people who are diagnosed before the age of 65 may pass away 10 to 20 years earlier than their usual life expectancy because of their dementia. People who develop dementia over the age of 65, pass away about 1 to 9 years earlier than expected.

A healthy lifestyle might delay progression of dementia symptoms (as well as reducing the risk of getting dementia). Aerobic exercise and resistance training, a Mediterranean diet, managing heart health and staying socially and mentally active can reduce risk of dementia. Also important to wear hearing aids and check eye glasses are correct if they are needed. For more information go to section Supporting wellbeing.