The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's
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10/14/10 | Maria Shriver | 5 Comments

Maria Shriver 200x4
Maria Shriver





I am a child of Alzheimer’s.

My father, Sargent Shriver, was the smartest person I ever knew. He was sharp and witty, a walking encyclopedia—his mind a beautifully tuned instrument that left people in awe and inspired. That was then. Today he doesn’t know I’m his daughter, and he doesn’t even know my name.

Every minute or so—in fact, before you get to the end of this page—someone in this country will develop Alzheimer’s. It’s an epidemic and a mind-blowing disease—not just for the people who get it, but for everyone around them. No matter who you are, how old you are, what you’ve accomplished, what your financial situation is—when you’re dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, you feel powerless.

A year ago, The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything explored the transformational moment in our nation’s history when women become the majority of the workforce—and the primary or co-breadwinners in almost two-thirds of American families.

Now, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, the second landmark study -- The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s -- finds that women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s epidemic. We make up 65 percent of the people with Alzheimer’s— and up to three-fifths of all Alzheimer caregivers. That’s 3.3 million American women with Alzheimer’s and another 6.7 million women providing care for a friend or loved one. Consider that by mid-century as many as 8 million women will have the disease. We are in the midst of a national emergency, and we’re woefully unprepared.

What we need is a new kind of national conversation about Alzheimer’s and growing old in America—just like the conversations heard around kitchen tables all over the country. My hope is that this Shriver Report triggers that conversation -- focused on this disease and its ramifications. It’s time. We must face up to some big questions: With Americans living longer and with the incidence of Alzheimer’s growing, what’s going to happen to our women, our families, our workplaces, our attitudes, our society, as the Alzheimer wave hits over the next few decades? We’re talking crisis.

My hope is also that as the veil is lifted, as information and funds and support programs are made available, families will see that they’re not alone. As more people, like the ones you’ll meet in The Shriver Report, speak out and share their personal journeys with Alzheimer’s, more families will see that there’s nothing to be ashamed of—that there’s hope out there because, together, we are finally making Alzheimer’s a national issue.

The truth is that we simply must put Alzheimer’s on the front burner because if we don’t, Alzheimer’s will not just devour our memories, it will also break our women, cripple our families, devastate our healthcare system and decimate the legacy of our generation. But if we do, I’m convinced that this Woman’s Nation will be able to say that, believe it or not, there once was a time when there was no cure for Alzheimer’s.

If you want to help defeat this mind-blowing disease, I invite you to join me and thousands of people on Sunday, October 24 for my March on Alzheimer’s to kick off The Women’s Conference 2010 in Long Beach.  If you can’t attend, please consider making a donation.  The march will benefit the Alzheimer's Association, the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research.  You can learn more about the event and sign up or donate here.

Please join us. We are the hope.
You can read the full report at The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s at

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  • Thank you Maria for bringing this mean disease to the forefront. We must get everyone on board to understand how devastating this disease is and how it will bankrupt families of finances and drain health if not fully prepared.

    Posted by GayleComm, 8 November 2010.

  • I am also a daughter of a parent with dementia. It's devastating and extremely expensive. My book, "Caring For Betty and Don't Forget Doug", A Personal Journal about a parent with dementia while the other parent is the care giver. My part comes into play when they are no longer able to care for themselves and how my own health was affected. My second book is "Awareness To Prevention And Wellness: Achieving Overall Health Through Wholeness In Keeping A Happy And Healthy Mind, Heart And Spirit.

    Posted by GayleComm, 8 November 2010.

  • I was moved when I heard how you spoke about continuing to miss your mother. I also like the advice that we don't always have to know what to do next. That's very freeing. If you ever have a chance, it would be wonderful to have you visit my website and comment. I write about losing my mother and my own breast cancer. Good luck as you finish out your CA first lady duties and move on to the next thing, whatever that may be! I know you'll continue to inspire other women.

    Posted by nlstorahl, 4 November 2010.

  • This is such an important issue you are bringing into the forefront. How we take care of our elderly says a lot about our country's values. I am very sorry about the loss of your mother. Losing my mother in 2008 was one of the hardest things I have experienced and I am forever changed. "Losing" much of your father to this disease must be heart wrenching as well. People like myself all across the country admire and respect your work. I wish you would consider running for office yourself some day!

    Posted by nlstorahl, 27 October 2010.

  • Thank you for spearheading this very important issue. I applaud you.

    Posted by iinadia, 17 October 2010.