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Women In 60s Nearly Twice As Likely To Develop Alzheimer’s Disease As They Are Breast Cancer

AlzheimersAccording to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released earlier this week, a woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man.

As real a concern as breast cancer is to women’s health, women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.*

“In addition to the very human toll, Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures confirms that Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the nation, costing the country $214 billion a year.

Almost one out of every five dollars spent by Medicare is on people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Because age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, these costs will grow exponentially as the baby boomers age,” says Susan M. Galeas, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, California Southland Chapter.

Adding to women’s Alzheimer’s burden, there are 2.5 times as many women than men providing intensive “on-duty” care 24 hours for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Among caregivers who feel isolated, women are much more likely than men to link isolation with feeling depressed (17% of women vs. 2% of men). The strain of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is also felt in the workplace.

Among caregivers who have been employed while they were also caregiving: 20% of women vs. 3% of men went from working full-time to working part-time while acting as a caregiver. 18% of women vs. 11% of men took a leave of absence 11% of women vs. 5% of men gave up work entirely 10% of women vs. 5% of men lost job benefits Human and Financial Toll of Alzheimer’s There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 580,000 in California, and Alzheimer’s has far reaching effects that can plague entire families.

In 2013 more than 1.5 million unpaid/family Alzheimer’s caregivers in California provided more than 1.7 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at nearly $22 billion.

The total national cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to reach $214 billion this year.

In 2014, the cost to Medicare and Medicaid of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will reach a combined $150 billion with Medicare spending nearly $1 in every $5 on people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

These numbers are set to soar at the baby boomers continue to enter the age of greatest risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Unless something is done to change the course of the disease, there could be as many as 16 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s in 2050, at a cost of $1.2 trillion (in current dollars) to the nation.

This dramatic rise includes a 500% increase in combined Medicare and Medicaid spending and a 400% increase in out-of-pocket spending.

The country’s first-ever National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease has a goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.

Ensuring strong implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Plan, including adequately funding Alzheimer’s research, is the best way to avoid these staging human and financial tolls.

Lack of Understanding of the Disease Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, yet it is still widely misunderstood and underreported.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of both men and women agree with the mistaken belief that Alzheimer’s must run in their family for them to be at risk.

When looking at certain ethnic groups, these numbers were even higher.

A third of Latinos (33%) and almost half of Asians (45%) agreed with that incorrect statement.

Realizing the impact Alzheimer’s has on women – and the impact women can have when they work together – the Alzheimer’s Association is launching a national initiative this spring highlighting the power of women in the fight against this disease.

The full text of the Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures can be viewed at www.alz.org. The full report will also appear in the March 2014 issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association (Volume 10, Issue 2).

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