How do people with dementia or Alzheimer's die?

That's a question many relatives ask themselves. Does Alzheimer shorten life expectancy? Or in bad cases: What releases those affected?

In fact, dementia itself, the loss of nerve cells in the brain, does not directly threaten life. So you can not die of dementia.

However, that's only half the story. After all, with advanced dementia or Alzheimer's disease, life expectancy is often shortened.

This is mainly due to the eventually arising bedriddenness. Even the loss of bodily functions - in late stages it can happen, for example, that the affected can no longer chew or their chair can no longer control - plays an important role here.

Our 10 most important tips for the relatives

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All this results in a higher susceptibility to serious infections. Not a few dementia patients die of pneumonia.

Author: Dr. med. Jörg Zorn
Source: Alzheimer Research Initiative

Read also:
How is dementia or terminal Alzheimer's disease?

Do you have your own experiences or a different opinion? Then write a comment (please observe rules).
Comments (8)
8 Monday, July 02, 2018 at 12:48 pm
My husband went to another world in November 2017. 10 years ago, the disease announced itself through small follies. At that time we thought that entering the retirement age would allow him to do so. However, 3 years later, the onset of dementia was noted. In the following 7 years it went steadily downhill. My husband was usually friendly until the end, rarely aggressive. The prerequisite was that he had me - as his wife - and his children nearby. He could not stand being alone, always afraid of strangers to him, remembering only me and his children. At times there were short clear moments, in which he also perceived his mother-in-law and grandchildren as something familiar. He cherished his familiar home environment until the very end. He was reminded of the relief of being home again - e.g. after a hospital stay or in the very rare, but in the years three times the need for short-term care. My husband had a high elimination tendency from hospitals. He always wanted to go home. In the last 2 years of his life, we were fortunate enough to have a day care place with a very understanding and well-trained nursing service. After an initial period of adjustment - I spent a few hours with him in the day care during the first days, brought him every day and picked him up again - this daily rhythm was his world. After that, my husband drove naturally with the nursing service (who washed and dressed him every morning), and was then returned in the afternoon. Somehow he always showed us that he was happy with this life and his world was all right for him if he could come home every day. From that moment on he did not let me out of reach.
The physical decline steadily increased over the entire time. With all its manifestations, such as: incontinence, speech disorders, running, standing, eating (really bad), everything became more and more a problem. Up to the speech completely incomprehensible to me and finally silencing. With the physical decay came the hard to bear for me many times own crying and despair about his condition, as long as there was a spark of spiritual feeling.
I have written these lines because I think - and would like to encourage all those affected - to be able to look after his relatives despite these limitations at home with appropriate assistance. But you also have to be aware that it costs nerves to burst, and not every day radiates contentment. There are specialized dementia care services, such as the one we found - and it was also great at dealing with this condition. I never felt like I was alone with the situation.
And the day care facilities, which respond to the individual circumstances of the ill person, accept and respect them, they exist! One should not be afraid to use these services. It was very hard for me and my family to see my husband - and father - in such a situation. A man with whom I was married for 48 years, who was a rock in the surf for us, but in the end only defied the sea as a small pebble until he was taken away by the waves.My children, grandchildren and grandchildren, however, do not want to miss an hour of living together (not even those during the illness), the annual joint trips to the Baltic Sea - my husband's favorite place - with the help of the whole family. At this point I would like to thank my whole family and the nurses. Only then was it possible to give my husband a dignified life with this disease.
Alzheimer's mother
7 Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 19:38
My mom lives in the nursing home, can not move alone, eats only mashed food, does not speak anymore. It's bad for me to see her suffer so much. I stroke her and think she is happy. I can only see it by the eyes. It is so hard. I hope to get through this coming.
6 Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 17:31
My mother has end-stage Alzheimer's and it is sad to see a person change so completely. She has the disease now for 7 years, wearing diapers, does not drink by itself, eats only with instructions and has long respiratory breaks while sleeping.
She is at home. We take turns taking care of her. But you realize that she will not wake up by herself. If you help her wake up and sit down, she just sits and does not speak. Whenever I cuddle her and hold her hands, I realize how she holds on to me. It's as if she's afraid to let go.
If she's in a good mood, she laughs as she used to. For a brief moment, which is so valuable!
We know that it will soon be ready and let her go. I just hope it will be an easy walk. And: We will be there for you ... !!
Isolation of a demented mother
5 Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 01:48
Karin Beck 0650/8050055
According to Dr.Bacher, Dr.Lingg and Dr.Sausgruber Mittelgebirge, my mother has Alzheimer's disease. Now she is isolated, the fortune she has given AFTER these opinions. The family doctors were changed. Where do you get help? What to do?
4 Monday, 18 May 2015 02:14
My mother, 80 years old, is also in a nursing home with this diagnosis. Every time I visit her, she cries a lot and is very sad. She wants to return home and is homesick.
Now my question ... because she can not live alone, there is somehow care, and how is the cost? During the day she might be in kind of looking after a special facility. She needed help only at night and on weekends.
It almost breaks my heart to see my mother suffer so much. She is so homesick.
3 Monday, 18 May 2015 00:45
Sylvia (58 years)
My father has been in the nursing home for 3 years. By now he has reached the 3rd level.
It's hard to be helpless. He no longer recognizes anyone for about six weeks, has been wrapped for a long time, sits in his wheelchair all day, the nurse's attempt to put him to bed fails due to his still aggressive outbursts. Although he has lost a lot of weight in the last few weeks.
I had the luck to find a nursing home, the staff was friendly and always able to talk, supply good!
2 Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 8:23 pm
I took my mother to the nursing home yesterday. Today she was feeling sick. She has a crooked posture and a strong salivation. She did not have that before. But she does not sleep and is very restless.
My dad and dementia
1 Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 2:32 pm
Andreas 51
When I read this article here, I realized that my father (87) probably reached the final stage of dementia. He has not been able to leave his bed for a few weeks, or if so, only with help from others in a wheelchair. My dad does not eat anymore, the little he swallows, he vomits again.
Dementia is a very slow dying. For all involved very bad. In my case, I see my father, once a strong 100-pound man, slowly break. Okay, 87 is a good age, but above all a dear one does not want such a deviant illness.