DAI and GADAA collaborated with others in 2017 to write a report and host an event, Women and Dementia in London for International Women’s Day. You can read the speech given by DAI Chair, Kate Swaffer here. The information we highlight again for International Women’s Day is still very relevant to women and dementia. It is especially relevant to the #IWD2020 theme this year, #EachforEqual, which we can all work towards.
Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia. Globally, more than 50 million people have dementia, with almost 10 million new cases every year. Throughout the world, women are experiencing higher dementia prevalence rates than men and face gender-specific barriers to a high quality of life with the condition.
The impact of dementia is much greater for women than men the world over, as reported by the Global Alzheimer’s & Dementia Action Alliance (GADAA) in 2017. Although this alliance is no longer active, but the website is still available and continues to host information and reports.
Women & Dementia: A Global Challenge reported that dementia is listed by the World Health Organisation in the top ten causes of death for women worldwide. It is now the leading cause of death for women in the UK, and it is the leading cause of death in women in Australia.
However, only twelve countries offer gender-sensitive responses to the disease.
The report found that women provide the majority of both unpaid and formal care to people living with dementia. Two thirds of primary carers worldwide are female, rising to more than 70% in lower and middle income countries. Carers of people living with the condition often have to make changes to their employment situation and women are more likely than men to reduce their hours to part-time, or stop work completely, to provide care to those living with dementia.
Some key facts about Women and Dementia
- Dementia is listed by the World Health Organisation in the top five 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.
Hidden Voices: Women Speak Out on Dementia
On Thursday 19 October international civil society members and policy-makers from around the world came together to learn more about one of the 21st century’s biggest global health priorities and its effect on women worldwide.