International Women’s Day 2017

Celebrating all women on International Women’s Day and all of the wonderful men who might support us! Of course, many women with dementia live alone, or have another woman supporting them; we celebrate you all. We also acknowledge the impact of dementia on men and sons, but know from the reports and data, that dementia impacts far more women than men globally, either as care partners or as women who are diagnosed with dementia.

There are many reports you can read about this, including the newsletter DAI sent out recently if you are on our mailing list. In case you are not subscribed, I have added the information in our e-News below.

Women are much more likely to be affected by dementia than men. The majority of people living with the disease and those most at risk of developing dementia are women, and women account for an overwhelming majority of care partners and health professionals;

Women make up the majority of care partners-  two thirds in higher income countries, and many more in low and middle income countries;

There is not enough research on dementia and women. There is a need for more research with women as participants and gender dynamics of the disease;

Due to pressure of other activities – Professional, Mother, Care partner, Homemaker – Women have less time and are less likely to see health providers early;

By 2050, 68% of the 131.5 million people with dementia will live in low and middle income countries. In these countries, the primary care partner is much more likely to be female.

Last week, an event was hosted in London by GADAA, “Women and dementia: A Global Challenge”.  The recording of the event will be available to view soon. Kate Swaffer, DAI’s Chair, CEO and Co-founder was one of the women presenting, and you can read her speech notes here…

GADAA’s full report Women and Dementia: A Global Challenge can be downloaded here, and ADI’s report on Women and Dementia: A Global Research Review can be downloaded here.

Key facts

  • Dementia is listed by the World Health Organisation in the top ten causes of death for women worldwide and is now the biggest cause of death for women in the UK.
  • Throughout the world, women experience higher dementia prevalence rates than men and face gender-specific barriers to living well with the condition.
  • Women provide the vast majority of both unpaid and formal care to people living with dementia, with around two thirds of primary caregivers around the globe being women, rising to more than 70% in lower and middle income countries.
  • The stigma surrounding dementia exists universally and extreme forms of discrimination can lead to the abuse of women. Older women affected by conditions such as dementia are exposed to what has been termed a ‘triple jeopardy’ discriminated against as a result of their age, sex and condition.
  • A recent UK study identified that women living with dementia are more likely than men to be prescribed psychotropic medication that can negatively affect their physical health.
  • In the US, 20% of female care partners have gone from working full-time to part-time, compared with only 3% of working male caregivers. 19% of working women care partners had to leave work to provide dementia care in the US.
  • Yet of the 29 countries in the world with a national plan to tackle the disease, only 12 offer gender-sensitive responses. There is also no systematic data collection to disaggregate the prevalence, diagnosis rates or impact of dementia on women.

The Global Alzheimer’s & Dementia Action Alliance (GADAA) aims to connect a broad spectrum of wider international civil society organisations (iNGOs) including international development organisations, health-focused NGOs, disability rights champions, older people’s networks, human rights organisations, faith based groups and women’s organisations. Through the GADAA network we aim to champion global action on dementia and to support iNGOs in responding to the global challenge. DAI is a member of the GADAA Steering Committee.