Bearing The Alzheimer’s Burden


(NBC News) — Women have a one in six chance of developing Alzheimer’s Disease compared to one out of 11 men, and they’re not only more likely to be diagnosed with the mind-robbing condition. They’re also more likely to take on the role of caregiver to those affected.

Alzheimer’s has left 66-year-old John Wallace a fraction of the man he used to be.

“When you’re in your mid-50s, you’re looking at retirement, and what’s going to happen after you retire. John and I a whole plan. And all of a sudden, that was not going to happen,” says his wife, Angie Carrillo.

Angie is one of the more than 15-million people in the United States caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.

It’s a demanding job, both physically and emotionally, especially for women.

They comprise up to 70% of those caregivers according to a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Women actually report that they are more likely to suffer from depression and stress than men in their care-giving role,” notes the Association’s Dr. Maria Carrillo.

Angie had to change the way she sees the relationship with her husband when she was thrust into the caregiver role.

“I’m a widow, and I have a child,” she says, “and then it made it bearable.”

Being a caregiver can be lonely and a great financial burden.

Angie recently had to move John out of their home and into a private care facility, which costs more than half of her monthly salary.

“This one’s private pay, so it’s all on us, and I just don’t know what’s going to happen,” she says.

The monetary value of unpaid caregivers in the U.S. tops $220-billion.

The Alzheimer’s Association report also finds women are much more likely than men to switch from working full-time to working part-time or giving up their jobs entirely. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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