We have all been made aware of heartbreaking cases of breast cancer. The suffering of women. The impact on families. The hope and pride in pink ribbons and walks.
Alzheimer’s is a silent disease we’d rather not talk about. Our reticence speaks to the courage of President Ronald Reagan in moving the conversation into the public arena.
Women in their 60’s are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease as breast cancer. That’s a part of the hard, cold truth we turn away from in fear.
“Lifetime risk for developing breast cancer in women is 9.3%. Alzheimer’s Disease is now 17.2%,” says Caroline Gonynor, Education Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association Houston and Southeast Texas Chapter.
Women also carry the burden of being caregiver to people who have Alzheimer’s. There are 2 and a half times as many women than men providing intensive “on-duty” care.
“20%of women went from working full time to part time while providing care-giving duties, as opposed to 3% of men,” Gonynor tells KTRH News.
There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. 3.2 million are women. For every $5 dollars Medicare spends on health care for the elderly, $1 goes to someone with Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that by 2050, Alzheimer’s will cost $1.2 trillion dollars to treat.