New report: Alzheimer’s takes heavy toll on women

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- It’s a disease that affects more than 110,000 people in the state of Wisconsin alone.

A report released today by the Alzheimer’s Association shows just how big of an impact the disease can have on women.

The report says a woman's estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s after the age of 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man.

“What we are seeing is the longevity factor playing a role. Women tend to live longer than men so more women are diagnosed but that's because they live longer and age is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease,” Paula Gibson of Azura Memory Care said.

Gibson says age is likely a key factor into why more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men. When it comes to taking care of loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s, 70% of caretakers are women.

“What I do notice is the women tend to go longer into the disease process and what happens is they wear themselves out. Then the care giver needs the care and that's why a lot of times the caregiver will pass away before the person they are giving care to,” Gibson explained.

“Caregiving is lonely. I was working, I was taking my husband to daycare, I was trying to manage the bills,” Angie Carillo said.

Carillo is one of the more than 15-million people in the U.S. caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
Her husband John was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease 6 years ago.

Being a caregiver can be lonely and a great financial burden. Angie recently had to move John out of their home, and into a private care facility, which can be costly.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association--the national cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to reach $214-billion this year.

The Alzheimer’s Association report also finds women are much more likely than men to switch from working full time to working part time or giving up their jobs entirely in order to take care of loved ones.

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