Dementia has long been known to shorten life in the elderly, although some studies have suggested a weakening of this relationship in recent decades. This Ontario study involves the comparison of residents with dementia versus a matched group without dementia who were living in long-term-care institutions at the start of the follow-up period.
The 2-year death rate in the 257 cases in the matched dementia group was 40.1%, significantly higher than the 30.7% rate in the matched controls. This excess was observed in all four types of institutions, and in seven of the eight sex-age groups. Individuals with dementia who were reported to cause disturbance by noisy behaviour had a significantly higher death rate than others.
Comparison of our findings with earlier work suggests that the trend of mortality in elderly institutional residents with dementia has continued downward.