Alzheimer's disease affects millions of Americans, but a recent survey found that it may have an especially profound impact on women. The majority of individuals with the disease are women, as are the majority of those who provide unpaid Alzheimer's care to loved ones. The survey, conducted by the Working Mother Research Institute, shed light on the challenges these women face and offers potential ways to help.
The survey included 2,500 women, 1,200 of whom had cared for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease. The average number of hours of Alzheimer's care provided each week was 47.2, but about a third of the participants provide 60 hours or more of care per week.
Additionally, about 81 percent of the participants have children, meaning they are part of the "sandwich generation" that is caring for the generations both ahead of them and behind them, simultaneously.
Women ranked the economic downturn and lack of help as the top two stressful aspects of caregiving. The report determined that women could benefit from more access to resources such as respite care and financial education about tax credits and Medicare.
It also concluded that employers can make a massive difference in supporting working women as caregivers by offering more flexibility in scheduling and workers' benefits such as allowing paid sick time to be used for caregiving.