A Groundbreaking Look Into the Epidemic's Effect on Women as Caregivers, Advocates and People Living With Alzheimer's
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer's Association – the leader in Alzheimer's care, support and research – today released The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's. This groundbreaking report reveals the epidemic's effect on women as caregivers, advocates and people living with this disease.
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 and compose 60 percent of the unpaid caregivers for family members and friends with Alzheimer's. That means 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.
The economic impact of Alzheimer's disease – on government, families and business – totals about $300 billion per year. The cost of caring for a single person with Alzheimer's is a whopping $56,800 a year, the bulk of it borne by each family. With the baby boomers entering their mid-60s, an Alzheimer's tsunami is about to hit, with the number of people with Alzheimer's disease expected to triple, reaching as many as 16 million by 2050.
"The statistics in this report are shocking," said Shriver. "We have to ask ourselves as a nation if we're ready for what will happen as this epidemic unfolds. When my father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed back in 2003, my mother, four brothers and I all felt we were entering a world that was confusing, dark and depressing. People just didn't talk about Alzheimer's when it hit their families. It was a diagnosis shrouded in shame and there was little information and even less hope. It's time to start talking about Alzheimer's. It's time to fight this disease."
An instant eBook edition of The Shriver Report created by Free Press will be available on October 19th wherever Simon & Schuster eBooks are sold. This eBook will be the only copy of the report available to the public. Portions of the report are available now through the Alzheimer's Association at alz.org or ShriverReport.com.
The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary anthology of every facet of Alzheimer's disease –medical, sociological, political and economic. The academic core of the report is composed of expert reviews of issues and trends with analysis backed by a nationwide poll of 3,118 adults, including more than 500 Alzheimer's caregivers.
But there's more to Alzheimer's than numbers. The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's includes original photography by award-winning photojournalist Barbara Kinney and personal essays. Contributors 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 Kathleen Sebelius and Vice President Joseph Biden. In addition, extraordinarily honest and moving essays by a diverse group of Americans – including teenage caregivers and women in their 60s living with Alzheimer's – further illustrate the toll Alzheimer's is taking on America.
"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."
Unpaid family caregivers are on the frontlines of the battle against Alzheimer's. More than 11.2 million Americans provide billions of hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's or other dementias. More often than not, women report stepping up to become the caregiver because no one else in their family will do it and 40 percent of them say they had no choice in the matter. Caregivers' own heath care costs an additional $4 billion a year due to the emotional and physical stress and strain of caregiving.
This report will not only shine a bright light on the implications of a disease that directly impacts 10 million American women, but it will ignite a dialogue for the millions of women currently suffering from depression, cardiovascular disease, and obesity – diseases that disproportionately affect women and link to Alzheimer's.
The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's is designed to spark a national dialogue around kitchen tables and in communities across the country. This is led on the national stage by today's issue of TIME, whose story on women and Alzheimer's features original reporting based on findings from The Shriver Report. On Sunday, October 17th Maria Shriver will be on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour discussing the report for the first time and kicking off a week of coverage across ABC properties.
The Shriver Report supporters include Deloitte LLP and Visa Inc. Grassroots outreach supporter AARP will help amplify the conversation and research partner Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security at UC Berkeley School of Law once again provided an academic anchor to the report and made critical substantive links from the first Shriver Report to this one. The Families and Work Institute shared revealing, never-before-seen data on the plight of Alzheimer's caregivers today.
This is the second in a series of Shriver Reports examining transformational moments in American culture and society. Last year, Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress published The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything, a landmark study examining how American families live and work today, now that women are half of all the country's primary and co-breadwinners. The Report launched a national conversation about the far-reaching consequences of women's shifting roles in society that continues today.
The launch of The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's leads into Maria Shriver's March on Alzheimer's benefiting the Alzheimer's Association on October 24, and the annual Women's Conference in Long Beach, California the following day. Shriver will be joined at the March by emcee and Alzheimer's advocate Leeza Gibbons and co-chairs actor Peter Gallagher, Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines, actress and activist Soleil Moon Frye, Body by Jake CEO Jake Steinfeld and members of the cast of "Glee." Jane Fonda will lead participants in warm-up exercises before they begin the 5K March, which will be followed by refreshments, entertainment, and a candlelight vigil honoring those lost to Alzheimer's disease and their friends and families. All proceeds from the March will benefit the Alzheimer's Association. For more information, visit http://www.womensconference.org/march-on-alzheimer-s/.
About the Alzheimer's Association:
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; to advocate for policy change; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
About Maria Shriver:
Shriver is the author of six books and an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning broadcast journalist currently serving as California's First Lady. A mother of four, she has expanded the California Women's Conference into a star-studded multi-day event for 30,000 participants, featuring newsmakers, cultural leaders, and opinionmakers, all with the goal of inspiring and empowering women to be Architects of Change in their own lives, their communities, and the world. Shriver was co-Executive Producer of last year's Emmy Award-winning four-part HBO documentary series, "The Alzheimer's Project." It took an inside look at cutting-edge research in the country's leading Alzheimer's laboratories and examined the effects of this disease on patients and families. One of the Emmy Award-winning films in the series, "Grandpa, Do you Know Who I Am?" was based on Shriver's best-selling children's book dealing with Alzheimer's. "The Alzheimer's Project," one of HBO's most-watched events ever, can be seen at http://www.hbo.com/alzheimers/the-films.html.
SOURCE Alzheimer's Association