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article imageMaria Shriver Takes On Alzheimer’s Disease

By Susan Berg     Oct 22, 2010 in Lifestyle
Women make up almost two-thirds of all Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association, the leader in Alzheimer care, and Maria Shriver have worked together on The Shriver Report: “A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s”.
Source: ABC News on the Shriver Report
The Shriver Report is a groundbreaking report because it discusses the epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease on women. Women are hit hardest with Alzheimer’s disease since two thirds of all people with the disease are women. Women are also caregivers and advocates.
Shriver, is an author and a journalist. She is married to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. They joined with the Alzheimer's Association's Chief Strategy Officer, Angela Geiger in calling for support of the National Alzheimer's Project Act. This act would create an inter-agency advisory council to help the government's efforts on Alzheimer's research, care and services. They also want to work on better workplace support, including elder care benefits similar to those for new mothers.
How can ordinary people do help?
"They can begin to, in their own lives, connect the dots between their heart health and their brain health," Shriver said. That means eating healthy, exercising, looking into longterm care insurance options - and voting on Nov. 2 for representatives who support increasing funding for Alzheimer's research.
"I can tell you from my own reporting, I haven't met a person who doesn't' say that exercise is going to be good for you cognitively," she said. "Anything that is going to be good for your heart is going to be good for your brain."
The report can be purchased book for $12.99 at It includes essays from celebrities and regular people, and a host of sobering statistics, some of which are:
* Nearly 10 million American women either are living with Alzheimer's disease or are caring for someone who has the disease; 60 percent of all Alzheimer and dementia caregivers are women
* More than half the people in the United States know someone with Alzheimer's disease, and 30 percent of Americans have someone in their family with the disease.
* Some 11.2 million Alzheimer and dementia caregivers provide over 12 billion hours of unpaid care, and four out of 10 say of these people say that they had no choice in becoming caregivers.
* About one-fourth of women caregivers made a promise to keep their loved ones at home, however, a one-third feel the promise is too difficult to keep.
* Almost 80 percent of caregivers report having less time for other family members and friends because of the responsibility of caregiving.
Because of the emotional stress and physical burdon of caregiving, Alzheimer and dementia spouses were six times more likely to develop dementia.
* The Shriver Report found that yearly cost for Alzheimer's care is $56,800, with families usually paying 60 percent of those costs.
* Only seven percent of the population - believes a great deal of progress is being made to find a cure.
* Most people are not prepared for the caregiving costs or options if they were to develop Alzheimer's disease.
Shriver also produced a documentary and has written a book on Alzheimer's disease. She continually encourages family members and friends of those living with the disease to fight back.
More about Maria shriver, Alzheimer disease, Caregivers, Women, Shriver report
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