dementia life expectancy over 80s

What is the dementia life expectancy for over 80s?

4 min read |
Gemma Clay Sweet Pea Care Webinars

Author 31.08.2023

Gemma Clay
Dr. Danielle Kelvas, MD

Expert review 27.06.2024

Dr. Danielle Kelvas, MD

Dementia life expectancy over 80 years is a tough topic that people living with dementia and their families must face.

Sadly, a dementia diagnosis may reduce life expectancy. But this reduction can vary, based on lifestyle factors and the severity of the condition. If you have any serious concerns please discuss them with your doctor.

This blog will cover the dementia life expectancy over 80, for each different type of the disease.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover in this article:

  • After a dementia diagnosis, families are often concerned with questions about life expectancy for their loved ones, but there is no simple answer. 
  • Dementia life expectancy over 80 years old is dependent on which type of dementia has been diagnosed. It also depends on other health conditions and lifestyle factors.
  • The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s and Vascular dementia. Dementia with lewy bodies and Frontotemporal dementia are also common forms of the disease. They all come with their own symptoms which can lead to other health problems.

What is the life expectancy for dementia over 80 years old?

When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, life expectancy is one of the first questions many families want to discuss. 

But there is no simple answer to the question of dementia life expectancy over 80 years old. 

This is due to multiple factors such as the type of dementia that has been diagnosed. 

In addition, certain lifestyle factors come into play – many can have a detrimental effect on someone’s health. 

Generally, dementia life expectancy is going to decrease, the older a person is. 

This is due to their overall more vulnerable state of health than a younger person.

If you’re new to the condition, you may also like to read our what are the early signs of dementia? guide.

alzheimers dementia difference (1)

How does a dementia diagnosis affect life expectancy?

The diagnosis can affect dementia life expectancy over 80 years old as the disease progresses in a number of ways. 

Related conditions – A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Vascular dementia can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems and diabetes which impact life expectancy in their own ways. 

Severe disease – The severe stages of the disease will often cause a person to become weakened or experience a decrease in wellbeing. As a senior, they will already be more frail with reduced mobility, and dementia can severely exacerbate this. 

Weakened immune system – This can make your loved one more susceptible to infections such as pneumonia, covid-19 and the flu. These illnesses may not be life threatening in healthy people but can be severe on a weakened immune system. 

Unrelated conditions – An elderly person may have other conditions that aren’t related to their dementia but reduce life expectancy, such as cancers. 

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role of protein in dementia (1) (1)

Is life expectancy different per dementia diagnosis? 

The type of dementia someone is diagnosed with can affect life expectancy. 

These numbers are based on average dementia life expectancy over 80 years old. 

Please remember that these numbers are just guidelines. Every individual is unique and will have their own experience of the condition.

It is impossible to put exact numbers that apply to everyone. 

People who are diagnosed with dementia can continue to live well with the right support. 

Alzheimer’s life expectancy

Alzheimer’s life expectancy is on average around 10 years in which the person will gradually decline after developing first symptoms. This time frame does depend on other health conditions and lifestyle factors. 

Vascular dementia life expectancy

Vascular dementia is linked to an increased risk of stroke. Due to this Vascular dementia life expectancy for over 80s is around 4 or 5 years. This is because a stroke or heart attack is a more likely cause of death than dementia itself.

Dementia with Lewy bodies life expectancy

The life expectancy of dementia with Lewy bodies is around six years. The physical symptoms of dementia with lewy bodies increases a person’s risk of falls and infections.

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Frontotemporal dementia life expectancy (Pick’s disease)

Frontotemporal dementia life expectancy over 80 is around 8 years. As a neurodegenerative disease the brain or nerve cells stop working which causes physical problems as well as cognitive decline.

Mixed dementia life expectancy

The life expectancy of mixed dementia is dependent on the mixture of diagnosis. 

Alcohol-related dementia life expectancy (Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome)

Alcohol-related dementia is a broad term that refers to brain damage caused by alcohol. There aren’t many studies into alcohol-related dementia life expectancy, but on average life expectancy is thought to be around 6-8 years.

when should someone with dementia go into a care home

Does a residential setting affect dementia life expectancy? 

A residential setting refers to where a person lives, whether in their own home or in a supported living or nursing facility. 

This is important as it may have a bearing on what kind of or how much care they receive. 

The amount or type of care they receive could either limit or foster feelings of independence, which affects mental wellbeing.

Home care or care home?

Families often ask, when should someone with dementia go into a care home? And it is a difficult question to answer.

People living in their own home and receiving the care they need may still be able to live somewhat independently.

This fosters a sense of purpose, independence and happiness. 

But as care needs progress this may not always be possible.

A nursing home, specialising in dementia care, can provide the appropriate level of support for someone with dementia. 

Although the transition from one’s own home to a nursing home can be unsettling.

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Importance of quality of life

 One way to consider how residential settings impact dementia life expectancy over 80 is by looking at quality of life. 

For people living with dementia, quality of life refers to aspects of satisfaction in five key areas, as outlined in this scientific study

  • material and physical well-being
  • relationships with other people
  • social, community and civic activities
  • personal development and fulfillment
  • recreation

The study shows a number of significant findings into residential settings and dementia, looking at the prevalence of individuals living with severe dementia in each setting.  

Although this study is not conclusive and further studies are needed to effectively assess the impact of residential settings, quality of life is a key consideration for where your loved one should live.

Other things to consider for life expectancy 

Dementia life expectancy over 80 also depends on other health conditions, genetics and lifestyle factors that exist alongside the condition. 

Age – Dementia life expectancy over 80 is, inevitably, shorter for people the older they get. 

Health conditions – If your loved one has any other health conditions, these could have an affect on life expectancy.

Day to day functional ability – People who continue doing things for themselves while living with dementia tend to live longer than those who stop. 


If you found this guide useful then you might like to read our guide on dementia care and our reviews on the best books on dementia.

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Citations for this article:

1. National Institute on Aging. (n.d.). Understanding different types of dementia. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved June 21, 2024.

2. Age Space. (n.d.). Different types of dementia. Retrieved June 21, 2024. 

3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Vascular Dementia. Retrieved June 21, 2024.

4. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Dementia. Retrieved June 21, 2024.

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). About dementia. Retrieved June 21, 2024.

6. Wint, D., Tavee, J., & Sweeney, P. (2017). Alzheimer’s Disease. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved June 21, 2024.

7. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Vascular Dementia. Retrieved June 21, 2024.

8. Surendranathan, A., Kane, J. P., Bentley, A., Barker, S. A., Taylor, J. P., Thomas, A. J., … & O’Brien, J. T. (2020). Clinical diagnosis of Lewy body dementia. BJPsych open, 6(4), e61.

9. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2024, April 5). Parkinson’s Disease. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved June 21, 2024.

10. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (n.d.). Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Retrieved June 21, 2024.

Citations for this article: Sweet Pea has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and contemporary by visiting our editorial policy.

Dr. Danielle Kelvas, MD

Expert review 27.06.2024

Dr. Danielle Kelvas, MD

Dr. Danielle Kelvas is a primary care physician who has spent her career advocating for global health initiatives. As an avid writer, Dr. Kelvas is passionate about patient education and combating disinformation online.

Gemma Clay Sweet Pea Care Webinars

Author 31.08.2023

Gemma Clay

Gemma is the Founder and CEO of Sweet Pea Care and has been advising families and care companies for the last decade through Arc Seven Communications.