Alzheimer’s takes a disproportionate toll on women, according to a report released from the Alzheimer’s Association. The report, as noted in USA Today, found that women are far more likely to develop the fatal disease than men: one in six women over 65 will get it during their lifetime, compared with one in 11 men.
And, not surprisingly, women are more likely to be caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s, and to pay a bigger personal and professional price for that care than men do. The association also noted that as many as half the people with Alzheimer’s don’t know they have it.
The report notes that “the toll of Alzheimer’s is gigantic and climbing fast. Feared primarily for its attacks on memory, Alzheimer’s is nearly as lethal as America’s biggest killers, heart disease and cancer, new estimates suggest.”
Nearly $1 of every $5 spent by Medicare goes to someone living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and nationwide we’ll spend about $214 billion this year on the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
More than twice as many women provide Alzheimer’s care than men, the care they provide is sustained and time-consuming, and substantially more women than men have to cut back on work hours, give up jobs and/or lose benefits to provide that care, the study shows. Obviously, caring for a loved one who is slowly losing their memory and heading toward death takes an emotional toll as well.