Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021) Dementia in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 26 May 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Dementia in Australia. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/dementia/dementia-in-aus
Dementia in Australia. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 20 September 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/dementia/dementia-in-aus
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Dementia in Australia [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2022 May. 26]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/dementia/dementia-in-aus
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Dementia in Australia, viewed 26 May 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/dementia/dementia-in-aus
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Older people living with dementia are particularly vulnerable during infectious disease outbreaks. Although less than 1 in 10 cases of COVID-19 in Australia in 2020 were among people living in residential aged care, over 7 in 10 COVID-19 deaths were among people living in residential aged care, where it is thought over half of people have dementia (AIHW 2021).
In addition to being exposed to outbreaks in aged care homes, older people living with dementia are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe COVID-19 for a number of reasons, including that people with dementia often have numerous comorbidities and that they may have difficulties understanding and following public health recommendations. This makes people with dementia a particularly vulnerable group during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To measure changes in mortality patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery period, the ABS has been publishing provisional mortality statistics for Australia. These statistics indicate that:
As discussed in Dying due to dementia compared to dying with dementia, incorporating associated causes of death is essential to comprehensively capture deaths among people with dementia as they often die due to other health conditions. In these cases dementia is only recorded as an associated cause of death. The AIHW report Dementia deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic (AIHW 2021) used ABS provisional mortality data to explore the impact of the pandemic on patterns of deaths among people who had dementia recorded anywhere on their death certificate (either as the underlying cause of death or as an associated cause of death, referred to as ‘deaths with dementia’). This report found that during the first 10 months of 2020:
The statistics presented in the report relate only to the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Future work will update our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on deaths of people with dementia as the pandemic continues, including how this may affect the prevalence and incidence of dementia in Australia in coming years.
ABS 2021. Provisional mortality statistics, Jan–April 2021.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2021. Dementia deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cat. no. DEM 1. Canberra: AIHW.
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