How long does it take to die from Alzheimer's?

The progression of Alzheimer's disease on average, given the state of good supportive care, can last from 5 to 20 years. Life expectency varies, depending on the patient's age when symptoms begin. The average, calculated by the Alzheimer's Association, is around 8 to 12 years. Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia are progressive in nature. There are loosely defined stages of Alzheimer's disease, however a hallmark of the disease is its individual effect on different patients. The stages are not linear, but in all cases complications from the body's eventual lack of functioning lead to death.

In general, there is a phase in which learning and memory performance is mildly compromised. This stage can last as short as few months or as long as a few years. This phase transitions into the next, consisting of severe fading of learning and memory capability.

Finally, the patient with a fully developed clinical picture of the disease falls into a final state in which the sense of self is lost. In the severe stages of dementia, patients experience a severe decline in all activities of daily living (ADLs). End-stage dementia often causes a loss in the ability to speak, walk, and eat. This inhibited functionality often leads to complications such as infection, malnutrition, or blood clots that result in death of the patient.

Browse Our Free Senior Care Guides