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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One in Six Women Over 65 Will Get Alzheimer's -- 10.5 Million Are Caregivers To Someone With Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age. It causes causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior and the symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time. It is a disease that occurs much more commonly in women than in men.

Statistics show that one in six women over the age of 65 will get Alzheimer's, compared to one in 11 for men. In fact, women are twice as likely to get Alzheimer's than they are breast cancer, according to the Alzheimer's Association. African Americans are twice as likely to get the disease than non-Hispanic whites. Alzheimer's is expected to triple by the year 2050.

Women are clearly taking the brunt of this disease, both as patients and as caregivers. A large percent of caregivers in general are women, and that is the case with Alzheimer's caregivers as well. The difference with Alzheimer's is that is requires a great deal of constant care for those who are in the later stages of the disease. The loss of memory and ability to care for one's self means round-the-clock care, and that is mostly delivered by women, many of whom have forfeited careers in order to care for a loved one with Alzheimer's. According to non-profit WomenAgainstAlzheimer's, 10.5 million women are currently caring for someone with Alzheimer's, and 70 percent of caregivers are unpaid.

The toll this disease is taking on women, either as patients or caregivers, is a huge concern by the Alzheimer's Association. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, the organization is pushing for the government to fund more research on the disease which could lead to better outcomes for women and others.
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