Highlights Special Challenges to Women and Working Caregivers of People with Alzheimers Disease
A newly released report by the Alzheimers Association, titled 2014 Alzheimers Disease Facts and Figures, provides important new information on the state of the disease and its impact on Americans. As a follow up to The Shriver Report’s landmark 2010 study, A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimers, the new report offers some stunning findings.
According to the Alzheimers Association’s news release, the latest data show that the disease now affects over five million Americans. Further, that number is projected to increase to 16 million over the next 35 years. The report also reveals several findings that are of particular concern for women.
Women Suffer the Effects of Alzheimers Disease Disproportionately to Men
The 2014 data demonstrate that Alzheimers has an inordinately high impact on women as they continue to bear the brunt of this progressive disease for which currently there is no cure. Today, 3.2 million women over age 65 live with the disease, which accounts for more than half of the cases in the United States. Women also represent 60 percent of individuals providing care for those suffering from the disease.
The special challenges to women are also highlighted by the following facts from the study:
- A woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimers at age 65 is greater than 1 in 6, compared to 1 in 11 for a man.
- Women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimers over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.
- There are 2.5 times as many women than men providing intensive “on-duty” care 24 hours a day for someone living with Alzheimers disease.
- Among caregivers who feel isolated, women are much more likely than men to link isolation with feeling depressed (17% of women vs. 2% of men).
- Working Caregivers Struggle with Their Difficult Balancing Acts
- The physical and emotional challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers also have significant implications for the workplace – especially for women.
The report noted that among employed caregivers:
- 20% of women vs. 3% of men went from working full-time to working part-time while acting as a caregiver.
- 18% of women vs. 11% of men took a leave of absence
- 11% of women vs. 5% of men gave up work entirely
- 10% of women vs. 5% of men lost job benefits
The Growing Human and Financial Toll of Alzheimers Disease
According to the report:
- The total national cost of caring for people with Alzheimers and other dementias is projected to reach $214 billion this year.
- In 2014, the cost to Medicare and Medicaid of caring for those with Alzheimers and other dementias will reach a combined $150 billion with Medicare spending nearly $1 in every $5 on people with Alzheimers or another dementia.
- Experts predict these numbers will soar as baby boomers continue to enter the age of greatest risk for Alzheimers disease.
In light of these distressing statistics, the nation’s first-ever National Plan to Address Alzheimers disease has been created with a goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimers disease by 2025.
Confusion and Misinformation About Alzheimers Disease Continues
Although Alzheimers disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, it is still widely misunderstood and underreported according to the new findings.
The report found that:
- Nearly a quarter (24%) of both men and women mistakenly believe that Alzheimers must run in their family for them to be at risk.
- These numbers are even higher among certain ethnic groups. A third of Latinos (33%) and almost half of Asians (45%) held this belief.
Due to the disproportionately high impact of Alzheimers on women, the Alzheimers Association will be launching a national initiative this spring highlighting the power of women in the fight against this disease.
Help Is Available
Whether you are caring for a loved one at home or seeking information on leading, residential Memory Care Assisted Living options, Vantage Point Retirement Living is ready to help.
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