POLL: Majority of Americans Believe Electing More Female Candidates Could Bring Positive Change to Family Issues Like Caregiving


Overwhelming Number of Those Surveyed Believe that Female Candidates Will Bring Positive Change to Issues Affecting Their Families

Large Majorities Say They Are More Likely to Support a Candidate Who Prioritizes Improving the Quality of Care and Support for Caregivers, as Well as Those Who Support Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research Funding

Very Few Say They Hear Elected Officials Talking a Lot About Improving the Quality of Care and Support for Caregivers, Even Though a Majority of Americans Worry About This

Most Americans Surveyed Say They Feel Government Should Do More for People as They Age and Do More for Caregivers and Most Admit They Have Saved Little to Nothing for Retirement

NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Results from a new Shriver Report Snapshot Poll reveal the majority of U.S. adults believe having a record number of women running for office will lead to positive change in the federal government and that they will bring more focus to issues affecting American families.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents stated they believe more women in office would improve support for families providing care to aging relatives (62%) and would improve the quality of care for people as they get older and support for caregivers (60%). Eight in 10 respondents also agreed women running for elected office are more focused on the interests of individuals (83%) and families than the interests of businesses (17%), and women have a better understanding of issues facing caregivers (80%).

The survey, released today by Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and Genworth, a leader in helping Americans prepare for the financial challenges of aging, found that large majorities of the population say they would be more likely to support a candidate who prioritizes improving the quality of care for people as they age and support for caregivers, as well as funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research.

Additional poll results showed:

  • An overwhelming 87% of respondents say the government should be doing more to help the aging population and their caregivers.
  • Of those polled, more than half said they worry a great deal or a fair amount about caring for a spouse (59%) or another family member (57%) as they get older.

Despite the significant burden faced by U.S. caregivers,few respondents (27%) say they have heard candidates talking a lot about caregiver-focused issues such as quality of care for people as they get older and how to support caregivers. Instead, Americans say that what they are hearing the most from elected officials are personal criticisms of their political opponents (53% say they are hearing a great deal about this).

“Five days ahead of the national election, these results are a clarion call for everyone running for office in both parties,” said Maria Shriver, founder of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. “This poll indicates that the public desperately wants political candidates and elected officials to speak up and make family issues like caregiving and funding Alzheimer’s research a priority. They are optimistic that the record number of women running for office can bring positive change to these important issues, but sadly, they are disappointed that very few of our current elected officials are talking publicly about them today.”

“Caregiving is all too real for the nearly 40 million Americans who provide unpaid care for a loved one each and every day, including many living with Alzheimer’s,” Shriver continued. “Americans are pleading for politicians to make caregiving and Alzheimer’s a national priority and they say if they do, they would be likely to reward them with their vote.”

On the topic of Alzheimer’s, a majority of Americans surveyed said they fear the disease, but most admitted they aren’t talking about brain health with their doctor.

Additionally, the survey also revealed 62% of those polled are very worried or fairly worried they won’t have enough money to retire, with many saying they have saved little to nothing at all.

The concern about the sufficiency of financial resources for retirement comes as no surprise to Thomas J. McInerney, President and Chief Executive Officer of Genworth Financial, a Fortune 500 company that provides financing and care solutions that help people age on their own terms.

“When planning for retirement, most Americans do not fully appreciate the grave financial risks they face from a long-term care event and how rapidly these considerable costs can deplete their resources,” said McInerney.

“Given the financial challenges associated with growing older, it’s imperative that we have public policy makers who are committed to supporting innovative solutions that help Americans manage long-term care costs and ensure they have adequate income during retirement,” McInerney continued.

The release of the poll coincides with the start of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month, which was designated by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s at the time. Now, that number has risen to 5.7 million and is projected to rise to nearly 14 million by 2050. Every 65 seconds, a new brain is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Two-thirds of those brains belong to women. Currently, 16.1 million Americans care for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia and provide an estimated 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care valued at over $232 billion.

According to Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., gerontologist, Age Wave CEO and Co-Founder of the Alzheimer’s XPrize, “This new Shriver research is both alarming and enlightening. With the aging of America, older women will carry the burden of caring for loved ones, while themselves disproportionately ending up alone, impoverished and suffering from horrible diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”

“For example, Dychtwald continued, “while there are over five million Americans with Alzheimer’s – the majority of whom are women, and more than 35 million unpaid elder caregivers – also the majority of whom are women, it is unconscionable that so few politicians – the majority of whom are men, are committed to medical breakthroughs, healthcare improvements or much-needed eldercare related benefits that would provide women with the respect, dignity and support that they absolutely deserve.”

The latest Shriver Report Snapshot Poll was a 10-minute, online, quantitative opinion survey, which was conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement from October 16-21, 2018, and sponsored by Genworth. The survey was completed by a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults.



Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a Fortune 500 insurance holding company committed to helping families achieve the dream of homeownership and address the financial challenges of aging through its leadership positions in mortgage insurance and long-term care insurance. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Genworth traces its roots back to 1871 and became a public company in 2004. For more information about Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey and planning resources, please visit genworth.com.

Founded by Maria Shriver, the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to raising awareness about women’s increased risk for Alzheimer’s and to educating the public about lifestyle changes they can make to protect their brain health. Through its annual campaigns and initiatives, WAM also raises dollars to fund critical gender-based Alzheimer’s research at leading scientific institutions, so that we can better understand this mind-blowing disease and hopefully get closer to a cure.

Maria Shriver is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist and producer, a seven-time New York Times best-selling author, an NBC News Special Anchor and the founder of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. In 2010, her groundbreaking report in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s,” was the first to publicly report that Alzheimer’s disproportionately impacts women. Shriver executive produced the Academy Award-winning film, “Still Alice,” which tells the story of a woman affected by early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and co-executive produced the Emmy Award-winning HBO series “The Alzheimer’s Project.” She also authored the bestselling children’s book “What’s Happening to Grandpa?” and “Color Your Mind,” the first-ever coloring book for people with Alzheimer’s. Shriver has testified in front of Congress twice on behalf of Alzheimer’s. Her voice was instrumental to the 2010 passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. In 2017, Shriver received the Alzheimer’s Association’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award.



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