How long can you live with Alzheimer's?

A fellow caregiver asked...

How long can you live with Alzheimer's?
 

Expert Answer

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's. A Met Life Foundation Journalists in Aging fellow, she writes extensively about health and caregiving; four of her family members have had dementia.

Life expectancy for those with Alzheimer's can vary greatly from person to person. One reason is that the length of each stage (early/middle/late) differs widely by individual. Other factors include one's other health conditions and age at diagnosis.

People who are diagnosed in their 70s tend to live longer than people who are diagnosed at age 85 or older. People in the early stage at diagnosis tend to live longer than people in the late stage at diagnosis. Women with Alzheimer's tend to live longer than men who have it.

Some people live 20 or more years after diagnosis, while others decline rapidly and die within a few years of being diagnosed.