Significant Findings Include: 36% of Caregivers Feel Depressed; 84% Would Want Early Diagnosis, and 51% Wish Loved Ones Had Been Diagnosed Sooner; 55% of Respondents Not Saving For Retirement; Majority Indicate Their MD Has Not Discussed Aging or Alzheimer's June 13, 2012 A major new report on the dramatic toll Alzheimer's disease is taking on women in the U.S., who are shown to be the primary caregivers for loved ones, reveals an increasing cost to their personal and professional lives as well as their pocketbooks. The study entitled Women and Alzheimer's Disease: The Caregiver's Crisis, surveyed 1,204 current and former caregivers who provide unpaid care for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's disease and was commissioned by the Working Mother Research Institute and featured in the June/July issue of Working Mother magazine and online.
Highlights of the findings include:
The Working Mother Research Institute report is sponsored by GE, with knowledge support from the Alzheimer's Association. Women now make up two thirds (66%) of the estimated 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer's and provide the majority of unpaid care for loved ones suffering from the disease. The full Caregiver's Crisis report can be found here.
Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, says, "The findings are dramatic. Caretakers are providing hundreds of hours of assistance every month while juggling careers, marriages and kids. The bottom line is that too many women find themselves caught in a role they did not anticipate, sustained only at great personal cost and with no clear end date. The caregiver's entire life is affected, and the responsibility weighs heavily on her family and job, not to mention her own health."
The burden is colossal: Working Mother calculates, based on data from the Alzheimer's Association and The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's, released in 2010, that 6.7 million women caregivers devote some 10 billion hours per year—working out to about $126 billion in unpaid labor.
"The research uncovered in this report will be instrumental in understanding the burden that caregivers face when managing Alzheimer's disease," said Pascale Witz, president and CEO, GE Healthcare, Medical Diagnostics. "We are proud to sponsor this study, as it sheds a new light on the impact of Alzheimer's disease on women caregivers and increases women's knowledge of the disease."
Managing Roles and Responsibilities: Effects of Caregiving
The study finds that caregiving and careers don't mix well. Thirty-nine percent of current caregivers surveyed say they passed up promotions because of caregiving. Slightly fewer, 36%, say it has impacted their ability to get ahead.
"An estimated 2 million women are bearing the brunt of caring for their children and a loved one with this degenerative disease. And as with all elder care, responding to Alzheimer's is a marathon, not a sprint," says Jennifer Owens, director of the Working Mother Research Institute. "Indeed, life expectancy after diagnosis averages eight years, but can be much longer. One third of caregivers surveyed said they've been assisting a loved one for more than four years."
"This study reinforces the fact that women take on the responsibility of caregiving. Alzheimer's impacts many areas of their lives including career, relationships, children and their own health," said Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer of the Alzheimer's Association. "It is important for women to know that they can turn to the Alzheimer's Association for guidance and resources for themselves and for the circle of people they support."
Doctor/Caregiver RelationshipAlmost 80% of respondents indicate their doctor has not discussed aging with them, and 87% have not discussed Alzheimer's.
Costs and InsuranceClose to 40% of the patients of current caregivers have long-term care insurance (former caregivers report an even higher rate of 51%).
MethodologyThe online survey was developed by the Working Mother Research Institute and conducted by Walker Communications, January 6–11, 2012.
About Working Mother MediaWorking Mother magazine reaches 2.2 million readers and is the only national magazine for career-committed mothers; WorkingMother.com gives working mothers @home and @work advice, solutions and ideas. This year marks the 27th anniversary of Working Mother's signature research initiative, the Working Mother 100 Best Companies, and the 10th year of the Best Companies for Multicultural Women. Working Mother Media, a division of Bonnier Corporation (bonnier.com), includes the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE, nafe.com), Diversity Best Practices (diversitypractices.com) and the Working Mother Research Institute. Working Mother Media's mission is to serve as a champion of culture change. Follow us on Twitter @_workingmother_ and on Facebook.
ABOUT GEGE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.
Alzheimer's Association The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.
SOURCE Working Mother Media
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