THE numbers of women dying with dementia at home has risen by 75% according to figures which have been attributed to over-stretched health and social care services during the pandemic.

Figures suggest significantly more women have died with the disease outwith care homes and hospitals than in previous years.

From March 14 to September 11 there were 3116 deaths of women in the community attributed to dementia compared with a five-year average of 1781.

Health data analysts said the fact that the figures have risen so sharply in a short time suggested “pressure on health pathways”.

READ MORE: Charity calls for investigation as dementia and diabetes deaths soar during lockdown 

Excess deaths in care homes from all causes have risen this year by 300 (or 7.9%) among men, but by 5,000 (or 27%) amongst women. The single largest cause of death for women is dementia.

Even taking into account the fact that women live longer and are likely to make up a greater proportion of care homes residents than men, the authors of the report said the figures suggest females have, overall, been worse impacted by the pandemic.

Narrower studies, they said, had indicated the men were 40% more likely to die of Covid-19.

While the Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures only cover England, Alzheimer Scotland said figures showed a rise in dementia deaths outwith hospitals is replicated north of the border.

Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, of health analytics firm Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP) which carried out the analysis, said: “With all of these things while absolute percentages will vary slightly I think it’s very likely the narrative will hold true across the UK.

“When excess deaths came back we found that we were seeing less than expected deaths in the hospitals and more deaths in the community throughout the Summer than we would have expected.

“With dementia, which is the leading killer amongst women, from the beginning of January until Autumn there are 22% more deaths than we would have expected compared to a five-year average.

“When you tease it down one more layer you see this huge 75% increase in deaths in private homes, a 32% rise in care homes and a reduction of 47% in hospitals.

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“If we were to look five to ten years down the line and say more people with dementia were dying in their own home, we might see that as a success.

"Often people with chronic diseases choose to die at home but when we are seeing that it’s increasing the death rate so significantly and so soon, it is suggesting the pathways are being too pressured.

“I think it’s a combination of the pressures across the health system resulting in worse conditions and worse care across the health system more generally.

"But also even within men with ischaemic heart disease we  almost a direct swap of 25% deaths in hospital and that many more deaths in the community.

"More people may be avoiding seeking care or the care has not been available in the community.

“It’s definitely true that women live longer and many more are residents in care homes and are likely to live with co-morbidities.

"We’ve seen about 300 more excess deaths amongst men in care homes this year but in women there has been 5000 excess deaths.”

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Figures from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) in the first wave of the pandemic between April and June show deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease increased by 24.5%.

Age Scotland has also called for an investigation to identify whether the removal of social care packages or reduced access to medical care contributed to a steep rise in excess deaths from dementia, diabetes and other causes during the first, national lockdown.

Jim Pearson, Director of Policy and Research at Alzheimer Scotland, said the Scottish Government had agreed to a study to try to understand the reasons for the increase in deaths following pressure from the charity.

He said: “The most recent statistics released by National Records of Scotland show that while there are fewer people with dementia dying in hospital, there has been an increase in those dying at home. 

“This further reinforces the urgency of understanding the factors which may have contributed to this alarming increase so that we can act to prevent any avoidable harm or further loss. 

“We have consistently raised this matter with Scottish Government who have committed to a study to specifically understand the reasons for this increased loss of life. 

The Herald is backing Alzheimer Scotland's campaign calling for free NHS care for people with advanced dementia. To support the campaign go to For help and support on dementia call 0808 808 3000