Monday, November 29, 2010

Alzheimer’s disease is a women’s issue

As part of National Alzheimer’s Disease Month in November, the Alzheimer's Association and First Lady of California Maria Shriver released The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's. The report is the largest study ever conducted to look at the effect of Alzheimer's disease on American women as caregivers, people with the disease and advocates.

The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s demonstrates that women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s epidemic. According to the Alzheimer’s Association Women and Alzheimer’s Poll unveiled in the report, women are almost two-thirds of all Americans with Alzheimer’s. In addition, women compose 60 percent of the unpaid caregivers for family members and friends with Alzheimer’s. This means that there are 10 million women who either have Alzheimer’s or are caring for someone with the disease. The toll Alzheimer’s has on individuals and caregivers is further compounded by the financial burden felt by families and the U.S. government.

“This report gives us a glimpse of Alzheimer’s in a different light. With 10 million women affected, Alzheimer’s is a women’s issue,” said Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer of the Alzheimer’s Association. “One-third of the 6.7 million female caregivers are a part of the ‘sandwich generation’ caring for children and an adult with Alzheimer’s disease simultaneously. The Alzheimer’s Association Women and Alzheimer’s Poll also found that 64 percent of women reported the fact that they had to arrive late, leave early or ask for time off due to caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, and the majority of respondents found it more difficult to get employer support for elder care than child care.”

In addition, The Shriver Report goes beyond statistics to illustrate the effect Alzheimer’s has on women through original photography and personal essays by well-known public figures and everyday Americans. These individuals share their personal struggles as people living with the disease, caregivers and family members.

Contributors to the report include Barbra Streisand, Terrell Owens, Soleil Moon Frye, ABC News “Nightline” anchor Terry Moran, CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen, former First Lady Laura Bush, President Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis, Alzheimer’s Study Group Chairs Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Bob Kerrey, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Vice President Joseph Biden.

The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s will spark a national dialogue around kitchen tables and in communities across the country. To learn more or purchase your copy of The Shriver Report, please visit

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