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In the news - women and Alzheimer's, new study

Posted by Steve Jones

Sun, Sep 13, 2015

Nurse Talking to an Elderly Female Patient

Recently, a study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference found that women’s Alzheimer’s symptoms worsen much quicker than men’s. The study claims that women with Alzheimer’s conditions deteriorate almost twice as fast as men with the same condition. These findings could have a large impact on how we view, treat and deal with Alzheimer’s.

We've often written about Alzheimer's in our blog:

But here are our answers about this new study and what it could mean for the home-care community.

Why is there a difference between genders?

This recent study suggests that women, once their Alzheimer's symptoms begin, have their memory deteriorate at a much faster rate than men. Though the cause is not known, there are speculations about that hormones and longer life span could be contributing factors to the higher rates of Alzheimer's among women. An earlier 2015 study conducted by the Stanford University’s faculty of medicine suggests that a certain “Alzheimer gene, ApoE-4” has much more of an impact on women than on men. Currently, over 60 per cent of the population with Alzheimer's are women.

What does this mean for caregivers and the in-home care community?

Though it's not always apparent at first, the gender discrepancy could have an impact on the home-care community. Alzheimer's is a very common condition for those over the age of 65. The Alzheimer’s Society says that 14.9 per cent of seniors have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

When providing care for those with Alzheimer’s, often patients prefer to have a caregiver of the same gender. Currently, 60 per cent of caregivers for patients with Alzheimer's are women but if the number of women with Alzheimer's continues to rise, the demand for women caregivers must match that change.

How can we know if a loved one has symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

Though we don’t know much about the origins of Alzheimer’s disease, we do know that it can have a drastic impact on daily life. The first signs of Alzheimer’s include mild memory loss, but the later symptoms can be much more severe, including disorientation, severe memory loss and an inability to care for oneself. If you feel that a loved one is experiencing Alzheimer’s symptoms, it’s important to visit a doctor.

How can I care for my relative with Alzheimer’s?

Caring for a relative or loved one with Alzheimer’s can at times be difficult, but there are many steps and strategies that you can use to help.