By Meredith Melnick Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Recently the Alzheimer’s Association teamed up with California’s First Lady Maria Shriver and issued The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s, based on a survey of 3,118 American adults about the experience and impact of Alzheimer’s disease. The report found that Alzheimer’s is disproportionately a woman’s problem. Two-thirds of the disease’s sufferers are women. And 60% of unpaid caretakers of Alzheimer’s patients (usually family members) are women. In total, 10 million or 6.4% of all American women are affected by the disease.
In my colleague Alice Park’s recent TIME Magazine cover story about Alzheimer’s, she revealed that a 65-year-old has a 10% chance of developing the disease. With 78 million baby boomers reaching peak age for diagnosis in the next few years, Alzheimer’s will add an additional $627 billion burden to our health care system — more than doubling our current Alzheimer’s costs of about $300 billion a year.