Alzheimer's Disease is on everyone's most dreaded scenario list. Perhaps because women tend to live longer than men (life expectancy after age 65 is now 18 years for women vs. 13 years for men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau), the disease takes a proportionately higher toll on women. Women comprise 65% of all Alzheimer's patients.
But wait - that's only patient data. There's an enormous gender gap when it comes to caregivers, too. According to the Alzheimer's Association, twice as many women as men provide care for patients with Alzheimer's.
Journalist Maria Shriver, whose father died of Alzheimer's, released a report in 2010 that addresses how the disease differentially impacts men and women. (Read The Shriver Report - a Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's.) More recently Shriver launched an initiative in partnership with the Alzheimer's Association to encourage women to get educated and get mobilized in the fight against Alzheimer's Disease. On the "Wipe Out Alzheimer's Challenge" website, Shriver writes:
Women are at epicenter of the Alzheimer’s which is why they must be at the heart of the solution. Every 67 seconds, another American brain will develop Alzheimer’s, a deadly disease for which there is no cure - and two out of every three of them will be our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters. A woman's estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer's at age 65 is one in six and a woman in her sixties is about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's during the rest of her life as she is breast cancer. Women also carry a majority of the caregiving burden and more than three in five unpaid Alzheimer’s caregivers are women. With an estimated 10,000 baby boomers turning sixty-five every day we have a national crisis on our hands and it is bankrupting our country and our families.
Ladies, learn how you and your organization can help, and read about the efforts being made by many women, including well-know names such as Brooke Shields, Leeza Gibbons, Lynda Carter, Chris Evert, Rosalynn Carter and Swoosie Kurtz. Click here.