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Indian J Palliat Care. 2019 Apr-Jun;25(2):197-202. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_156_18.

Functional Status of Older Adults with Dementia at the End of Life: Is there Still Anything to do?

Author information

Department of Geriatrics, University of Health Sciences, Gulhane Faculty of Medicine, Turkish Ministry of Health, Gulhane Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey.
Department of Internal Medicine, Turkish Ministry of Health, Gulhane Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey.
Department Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Ahi Evran University, School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Kirsehir, Turkey.
Department of Internal Medicine, Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey.



There is a lack of data on physical functional status near death of patients with different types of dementia that can contribute to decisions about what kind of care is needed. The aim of this study was to investigate the course of functional status along with the documented reasons for death in participants with dementia who had regularly been followed at a geriatric outpatient unit.

Setting and Design:

A retrospective observational cohort study was done using the database of a geriatric outpatient clinic.

Subjects and Methods:

Sociodemographic and medical records of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), vascular dementia, mixed dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)/Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD) who had received routine care in a geriatrics outpatient setting for a minimum of 12 months before death were analyzed. Scores for activities of daily living and documented probable causes of death were recorded.


Of the 258 participants, 111 (42 female and 69 male) were included in this study. AD was the leading cause of dementia (51.8%). The median duration of survival with dementia was 4 years. The leading causes of death were cardiovascular disease (CVD) (27.0%) and dementia (27.0%) followed by infections (21.6%) and stroke (10.8%). Disability was the highest in patients with DLB/PDD.


This study found relatively shorter survival after the diagnosis of dementia when compared to other populations. CVD still appeared as a major cause of that in this particular disease. Most debilitating type of dementia was DLB/PDD.


Dementia; functionality; older adults

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