Causes of death in older Australians

Six conditions accounted for 44% of all deaths in older Australians over 65 years (Aborigines over 50 years) in the 2 years to June 2014. These were: coronary heart disease (14%), dementia (9%), strokes (8%), lung cancer (5%), chronic obstructive lung diseases (5%) and diabetes (3%).

80% of those who died had used some form of aged care program. Dementia was the leading cause of death for those in residential aged care, whereas death from coronary heart disease was most common in those using some form of community or respite care.

Death patterns varied by age, with cancer being more prevalent in those dying younger, where as heart disease and dementia being more common at older ages.

With dementia being the prevalent cause of death in older people in residential aged care, better understanding of their care needs before death could help in the better care of dementia suffers.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018, “Cause of death patterns and people’s use of aged care.”

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