Changing the Future of All Minds

A new poll conducted by the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and Caring Across Generations—and released November 12—reveals the widespread impact of insufficient support for a nation laboring under the high financial and emotional cost and burden of caregiving. A broad segment of American families are desperate for solutions – signaling a major opportunity for candidates to tap into this powerful voting bloc by prioritizing caregiving issues and Alzheimer’s research.

The poll found that 85 percent of the respondents­–which spans across gender, race, and party lines–are motivated by Alzheimer’s and caregiving needs as a political issue and indicated that they would support candidates who prioritize quality care for older adults and support for caregivers (85%); funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research (74%); access to quality childcare (68%); and universal paid family leave (67%).

“Today we have nearly 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, a number that could grow to 13.8 million by 2050 – two out of three will be women,” said WAM founder Maria Shriver. “Candidates running for public office today would be wise to tap into this demand for caregiving relief for women, and research for a cure for Alzheimer’s.”

Currently, one in six women over the age of 60 are now projected to get the disease yet still bear the major brunt of caregiving demands within the family unit. Two in three Americans are caregivers who put in an average 35.9 hours a week.

The survey also revealed that women, specifically, are:

  • More likely to be caregivers than men (55% of women vs. 45% of men)
  • More likely to take on the bulk of caregiving, including among Alzheimer’s/dementia caregivers with half of women devoting more than 21 hours per week on top of other responsibilities (50% of women vs. 35% of men)
  • Devoting more hours to caregiving than men, including Alzheimer’s/dementia caregivers, among whom women devote on average 39 hours per week vs. 22 hours for men – the widest gender gap outside of caring for a child
  • For women who are currently caregivers, 54% are also working full-time outside of the home
  • More likely to report feeling stressed (44% of women vs. 30% of men) and overwhelmed by their caregiving duties (42% women vs. 25% men)
  • Less financially prepared than men, with only 26% stating that they have saved for future care needs, compared to 42% of men
  • Unprepared for their own future care needs, and do not have a plan in place for their own care (71% of women vs. 60% of men)

The poll also found that most Americans are not aware that Alzheimer’s predominantly affects women, are not discussing brain health with their doctors and not prepared for the emotional or financial demands of caregiving, either for themselves or for older family members.

For complete poll results, click here.

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