In recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month, WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s and the We Won’t Wait campaign would like to recognize and remember the millions of women who are disproportionately harmed by Alzheimer’s. They are victims, caregivers, and families – mothers, wives, and daughters. For too long, the injustice of their sacrifice and suffering has been overlooked.
The Injustices of Women & Alzheimer’s
Consider a typical Alzheimer’s journey: a woman over sixty-five has a one-in-six chance of developing the disease; twice the rate of breast cancer. As the first symptoms appear, she becomes one of the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s – over 60% of whom are women. The person who provides care, her daughter, is also a woman, like two-thirds of Alzheimer’s caregivers in the U.S.
Her daughter struggles with the strain of caregiving: a round-the-clock job that can last for a decade, perhaps adding to her pre-existing around-the-clock job of raising children. She abandons her career and depletes her savings; women bear 80% of Alzheimer’s’ $200 billion social cost. Caregiving strains her physical and emotional health and therefore that of her family. She watches as her mother fades away, with no treatment and little hope for a cure.
Perhaps most tragically, their struggle plays out in the shadows, like the experiences of most American women affected by Alzheimer’s. This is tragic because, while our society can’t offer a cure tomorrow, we can recognize and change the many ways that the Alzheimer’s burden falls on women.
Currently, our country is doing little to address this devastating disease, and the inequality of its growing toll. Instead, women are asked to wait: wait for Alzheimer’s research funding, wait for policies to support caregivers, wait for improvements in diagnosis and treatment. To wait as the number of affected individuals triples by 2050.
That’s why WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s has launched the We Won’t Wait campaign. We have a vision for a world united by women to stop Alzheimer’s. We believe that women must take urgent action to spur progress, and achieve tangible results in the lives of those who combat the disease daily.
The millions of women affected by Alzheimer’s are a community of immense strength. The We Won’t Wait campaign channels our shared experiences and outrage into a disruptive movement to fight every aspect of Alzheimer’s, immediately.
We are determined to reverse policy inertia, stalled conversations, and widespread ignorance. Public research funding for Alzheimer’s is a tenth of that for other diseases. Research on sex-based differences in brain disease, in particular, is underfunded and understudied. The journey to a simple diagnosis is often long and complicated, and access to clinical trials is uneven. Brain health and risk reduction strategies are not widely publicized.
We will overcome these challenges. Together, we will spark a far-reaching response to address the greatest public health crisis, and economic and social imperative for women, in our time. Not merely a campaign, we are creating a movement that will spotlight the disease and launch multifaceted solutions.
Fighting Every Aspect of Alzheimer’s
Our response has five pillars: we will multiply the amount of public funding for Alzheimer’s research; demand that sex-based studies are a research priority; overhaul social support, medical, and workplace systems to alleviate the economic injustice of Alzheimer’s; improve families’ access to diagnosis, treatment, and clinical trials; and promote risk reduction strategies and ideas for living well with Alzheimer’s.
The campaign’s partners unite women’s health organizations, women’s advocacy and civil rights groups, business associations, and thousands of women who believe that no one should have to endure this tragedy. We bring experience, leadership, and influence to reframe and prioritize Alzheimer’s, across business, policy, and society.
We need your voice. Please read more about WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s and the We Won’t Wait campaign here, and consider joining the movement, sharing our message, and attending our events. With the help of advocates like you, we can end this disease.
We won’t wait.