The majority of Alzheimer’s patients and caretakers are women, and more than half of them report serious emotional and physical stress that results from taking on the care of their ailing loved ones.
Most everyone knows something about Alzheimer’s. Or knows someone with the disease. Alzheimer’s is quickly taking center stage—hundreds of clinical trials are under way, hundreds of Alzheimer research papers are being published every year, and media coverage occurs almost daily. But what most Americans don’t realize—and what this ground-breaking report makes clear—is that women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease.
This detailed report is worth the read. As our population ages, we will continue to see a rise in Alzheimer’s disease. Harry Johns, the CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association explains:
Given my mom’s Alzheimer’s (she died three years ago) and my role as president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, I’m especially sensitive to the disproportionate effects of Alzheimer’s on women demonstrated by The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s. It’s not difficult for me to understand why so many families are in denial about Alzheimer’s. Facing it, like the disease itself, is terrible for everyone affected. Nonetheless, denial causes many with disease to go undiagnosed. It causes families to be completely unprepared for the realities that so many will face as it progresses, and we know anecdotally4 that many physicians avoid diagnosing Alzheimer’s because they don’t want to be the bearer of such bad news. Some will simply prescribe available medications without making a diagnosis.
This anachronistic approach must change. We need to talk about Alzheimer’s disease openly and widely until acceptance of its diagnosis and its discussion is commonplace. That’s why Maria Shriver and her entire family speaking out about their father’s condition is so vital. That’s why the Alzheimer’s Association is working with her on this very important report. That’s why the Reagan family’s discussion of President Reagan’s Alzheimer diagnosis was so crucial in 1994, and why their work with the Alzheimer’s Association has been so beneficial. It’s also why the Alzheimer’s Association has made it a high priority to raise the level of the discussion in America by annually releasing Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures; sponsoring the HBO series “The Alzheimer’s Project”; working closely with the media to produce significantly increased coverage of Alzheimer’s; placing advertising to create awareness; and working with other Champions like David Hyde Pierce, Kate Mulgrew, Victor Garber, Natalie Morales, Bradley Cooper, Soleil Moon Frye, Seth Rogen, Terrell Owens, Peter Gallagher and many others to get America talking about Alzheimer’s.
At Welcome Home, our communities have been participating in education programs for our team members from the Alzheimer’s Association as well as supporting local Memory Walks. To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, you contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900 or visit them on their website at www.alz.org. If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and would like to join one of our family support groups you can contact any one of the following:
- Golfinch Estates Memory Care – Fairmont, MN – Mindy (507) 235-9405
- Copperleaf Senior Living – Willmar, MN – Chrissy (320) 222-5000
- Garnette Gardens Senior Living – Redwood Falls, MN – Lacey (507) 644-8500
- Manor House Memory Care – Grand Rapids, MN – Ann (218) 327-1936
- Keelson Harbour Senior Living – Spirit Lake, IA – Jessie (712) 324-2338
- Thomas Landing Senior Living – Rice Lake, WI – Gloria (715) 736-6060
“This Week” with Christiane Amanpour kicked off ABC News’ special report on Alzheimer’s. You can view that video here.