During convening, WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s launches its bold We Won’t Wait campaign to highlight the economic injustice of the disease on women
WASHINGTON, DC, May 13, 2016—WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s – an UsAgainstAlzheimer’s network and a global nonprofit organization that advocates for women – today announced the launch of its bold We Won’t Wait campaign to bring to light the economic injustice that women face when they experience Alzheimer’s either as the patient or the caregiver. The campaign is the first-ever effort to define Alzheimer’s as both an economic as well as a health-related injustice against women, and it is the organization’s next phase in its successful work over the last four years fighting for a cure through a woman’s lens.
“Business-as-usual approaches have failed women, so we are disrupting established orthodoxy. We are upending conversations that exclude women’s voices, leading public advocacy campaigns and linking influential women in order to beat the disease,” said Jill Lesser, President of WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, a mother of three teenage boys and a caregiver to her mother with the disease. “We are challenging inaction. We are demanding change at the highest levels of business, government and society. We are passionate. And We Wont Wait.”
Trish Vradenburg, Vice Chair and Co-Founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s agrees: “Our vision has been for an all-out fight against Alzheimer’s. To win this fight, we must include and elevate the women who are principally affected. We must urgently articulate and address the many ways that the status quo robs and undervalues them. We are determined to bring women together to build informed and passionate responses.”
Helping the campaign come to life are its inaugural partners that include: AfricanAmericansAgainstAlzheimer’s, Caregiver Action Network, Caring.com, ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s, Disruptive Women in Health Care, Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, Hadassah, HealthyWomen, LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s, LeadingAge, Lotsa Helping Hands, National Association of Female Executives, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Consumers League, Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health and the Society for Women’s Health Research.
Women are twice as likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s as men, making up two thirds of the 5.4 million people in the United States slowly dying with the disease; and women are two thirds of the caregivers. More women die of Alzheimer’s than breast cancer. Once women reach 65, they have twice the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s than breast cancer. The burden multiplies when you consider caregivers. They frequently put their careers on hold and drain their own savings to provide care. One in five switches to part-time work, sacrificing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages and benefits.
A hallmark of the convening is to spotlight a recent report released by the Milken Institute, entitled “The Price Women Pay for Dementia: Strategies to Ease Gender Disparity and Economic Costs.” Given the rapid increase in the population of older Americans, the number of women with dementia and those serving as informal caregivers will escalate and cost the economy a cumulative $5.1 trillion (in 2012 dollars) through 2040.
The launch of the We Won’t Wait campaign builds on the organization’s existing programs that amplify the voice of women. WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s advocates for new caregiver legislation to provide supports for those caring for loved ones, promotes minority women recruitment in clinical trials, is a member of a coalition called Dementia Friendly America and is a founding member of the Global Alliance on Women’s Brain Health – an initiative designed to put women’s brain health and dementia on the global stage in partnership with organizations in Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The organization is also responsible for one of the first prize-based research challenges to identify the reasons for sex-based differences in Alzheimer’s disease resulting in contributions to research projects addressing the issue.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) is an innovative non-profit organization demanding – and delivering – a solution to Alzheimer’s. Driven by the suffering of millions of families, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy and strategic investments.
As a member of the UsAgainstAlzheimer's Network, WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s unites women
across the globe to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Our growing network of women is impatient with the slow progress being made in the Alzheimer’s fight and, driven by our passion, is committed to ending current “business-as usual” approaches to funding, research and advocacy to bring Alzheimer’s out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Because women won’t wait.
Contact: Tim Tassa