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1.8 The progression of dementia

Dementia progresses slowly over time but is different for each person.

Life changes slowly over time

Similarly, dementia progresses slowly over time. How quickly dementia progresses will be different for each person. Age, the type of dementia, physical health and other factors that we don’t fully understand influence how fast dementia progresses. 

On average people live between 4 to 8 years after being given a diagnosis of dementia, however, some people live for up to 20 years after their diagnosis.

Younger people who get dementia before the age of 65 may pass away 10-20 years earlier than expected because of their dementia. People who develop dementia after the age of 65, pass away about 1 to 9 years earlier than expected because of dementia.  

A healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle might delay the progression of dementia. We know a lot about lifestyle risk factors that can reduce the risk of dementia. Aerobic exercise and resistance training, a Mediterranean diet, managing heart health and staying socially and mentally active can reduce risk of dementia. It is also possible but not shown scientifically that these risk factors could delay progression of dementia.

We talk more about risk factors in our website section called Supporting Health and Wellbeing.