The average life expectancy for someone with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States, the most common form of dementia, is three to 11 years after diagnosis. People with other forms of dementia generally have a life expectancy of five to eight years, though this varies depending on their specific diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are progressive, incurable diseases, meaning the symptoms worsen over time and eventually lead to death. This can happen slowly in some people and quickly in others, in part due to factors such as overall health and age at diagnosis. When a person with Alzheimer’s disease passes away, complications such as pneumonia, falls or malnutrition are often responsible.

Life Expectancy by Type of Dementia

Dementia is a general term which describes a loss of cognitive functioning, including memory and reasoning. It can be caused by several disorders, and the life expectancy for a person with dementia may vary depending on their specific diagnosis. Below, you’ll find average life expectancies for various types of dementia. It’s important to remember these averages are just that — averages. Individuals with dementia may have longer or shorter life expectancies. 

Living Well With Dementia

A person may live for several years after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, and while symptoms worsen over time, it’s possible for someone with dementia to make the most of their remaining years. Following a healthy lifestyle and getting necessary supports can help people with dementia enjoy their best-possible quality of life.

Getting or staying active can offer many health benefits for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, from slowing cognitive decline to reducing the risk of falls. Eating a healthy diet — one which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins — may also have brain-protecting effects. Adjusting to life with a terminal condition can be difficult, so it’s also important for people with dementia to build a support network of friends, family members and professional memory care services.