The burden of Alzheimer’s disease on women is huge, with 65% of all patients being female (3 million in America) and 6.7 million women caring for somebody with the disease, says The Shriver Report, a collaboration between California’s First Lady Mary Shriver and The Alzheimer’s Association. Woman’s Nation takes on Alzheimer’s reveals how enormous the Alzheimer’s toll is on American women, businesses, families and government – all of whom are not adequately prepared. The authors emphasize that people need to learn the facts about AD (Alzheimer’s disease).
By the year 2050 approximately 8 million women will have AD in the USA. Co-authors Karen Skelton and Angela Timashenka Geiger write:Â A huge Alzheimer tsunami is coming at this nation’s women.
Below are some of the highlights of the report:
Over 10 million American females either have AD or look after a patient with the disease
65% of Alzheimer’s patients are female
60% of caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients are female
40% of caregivers who are female say they have no choice
One third of all female caregivers are caring for somebody with AD around the clock, seven days a week.
The impact of AD on business, families and government is estimated to be $300 billion annually
Nearly two-thirds of caregivers who also have a job say they have no choice but to get to work late, clock off early and sometimes take time off to care for somebody with AD.
The Report reveals that as of 2009, women comprised approximately 50% of all workers in the USA; they have emerged as major primary breadwinners. The colossal emotional and physical impacts of being a major breadwinner, bringing up children, driving consumer decisions and caring for an elderly relative are steadily growing.
The current $300 billion impact of AD is set to triple within a few decades, the authors write. 78 million baby boomers are rapidly reaching the age of Alzheimer’s onset, Mary Shriver points out; this will soon push up the economic and social costs for America as a whole. In America, 60% of the estimated $56,800 costs related to caring for an Alzheimer’s patients are borne by families.
Despite hundreds of clinical trials and millions spent on research, Alzheimer’s disease is still incurable. Researchers and experts continue to hope, and say we are making progress. Even so, there is a feeling among most Americans that scientific progress is too slow. When compared to innovative breakthroughs that have occurred in diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease, Americans rank Alzheimer’s at the bottom of the list.
The Report states that not enough is being done to change the trajectory of AD into a “true national priority”, despite current research and media broadcasting.
As the sheer dimensions of the Alzheimer’s impending impact become more evident, the Report says we must ask and answer the following questions:
Alzheimer’s already has a huge toll, which is growing. Proper levels of public research funding are required. How do we go about making sure this happens?
How can we lower the financial impact of AD on society and families?
There are millions of women torn between having to work and looking after a person with AD. How can they be helped?
72% of Americans say that have not looked into AD care options. How can people prepare for this possible eventuality?
How can the public sector, the private sector, not-for-profits organizations and the media call attention to the threat of AD and implement solutions?
Skelton and Geiger conclude:
“In short, as a society we need to do a much better job of keeping pace with the stark realities of Alzheimer’s, especially the reality of the besieged American woman who is raising our next generation while caring for our last.”
Source: Alzheimer’s Association, The Shriver Report