Alzheimer's is the greatest health crisis of the 21st century. Women are on the front lines of this crisis.
In 2013 two thirds of the estimated 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer's are women. And they make up the vast majority of the 15.4 million caregivers - A staggering 70 percent!
That’s a total of approximately 14.5 million women suffering with Alzheimer’s today, and with the rate of growth of the disease, that number will grow to an estimated 18 million women in the next decade.
It’s time for women to get engaged and enraged, to demand a cure for this disease of unprecedented proportions - a disease that is killing our closest loved ones, exhausting our women in the prime of their lives, and shattering the visions of our older generations for all young people.
Here are the facts:
The disease is everywhere:
One in nine Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease.
Nearly half of people age 85 and older (45 percent) have Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimers is a killer and it’s only getting worse:
From 2000 to 2008, Alzheimer’s deaths shot up 66 percent while other leading causes of death (breast cancer, heart disease, HIV, stroke) all dropped.
By 2050, the number of American suffering from Alzheimer's is expected to quadruple to 21 million without a disease modifying treatment or cure.
Currently the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death, Alzheimer’s is the only one on the list of the top ten deadliest diseases that has no cure or effective treatment. There is also no way to prevent it. No one survives Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer's Disproportionately Affects Women
Simply being a woman is a risk factor for Alzheimer's.
The gender disparity may be due in part to women's longer lifespans, but recent studies suggest that men and women may be affected by Alzheimer's differently.
70% of the 15.4 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers for someone with Alzheimer's are women.
80% of caregivers report stress, anxiety and depression caused by the 24-hour care for a loved one - while neglecting their own care.
Half of these caregivers lived in the same household as the person for whom they provided care. Thirty percent had children under 18 years old living with them; such caregivers are sometimes called the “sandwich generation” because they simultaneously provide care for two generations.
Economic Realities of Alzheimer's Disease
Total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are projected to increase from $200 billion in 2012 to $1.1 trillion in 2050 (in 2012 dollars).
This dramatic rise includes a six-fold increase in government spending under Medicare and Medicaid and a five-fold increase in out-of-pocket spending.
Families spent 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $216 billion in unpaid wages.
The average family spent $41,000 - $56,000 in 2010 caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's care cost $109 billion in 2010 - more than heart disease and cancer.
The U.S. government commits a fraction of research funds to Alzheimer's disease compared with other top diseases.
U.S. taxpayers spend 400 times more on medical expenses for Alzheimer's than for research.
Health experts warn that paying for Alzheimer's, without investing in a cure, could bankrupt the federal health budget.
For a complete list of sources, download our fact sheet.