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The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's

The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's
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August 23, 2010
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The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's

Maria Shriver, whose California Women's Conference is the preeminent forum by, for and about American women, is joining with the Alzheimer's Association — the leader in Alzheimer care, support and research — to release The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's on Oct. 15. The Shriver Report is a groundbreaking, comprehensive examination of the impact of Alzheimer's disease on American women as caregivers, advocates and people living with the disease.

This is the second in a series for The Shriver Report, an ongoing study of transformational moments in American culture and society. Last year, Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress published The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything, a landmark study looking at how Americans live and work today now that mothers are the primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families. The Shriver Report launched a national conversation continuing today about the far-reaching consequences of women's shifting roles in American life.

This year The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's will provide a pioneering and comprehensive examination of the Alzheimer experience in our country. As the first of 78 million baby boomers are entering their mid-60s, an Alzheimer tsunami is approaching, and it will impact women disproportionately. Women are not only the majority of Alzheimer patients in this country. They are also the overwhelming majority of caregivers for people living with Alzheimer's and other dementias. This presents a huge and growing burden on millions of women — as people living with the disease, as caregivers and as half of the American work force. Is this country ready for the impact on family, the workplace, our healthcare system, our government? Is anyone ready?

The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's will be the first multi-disciplinary look at these questions — and intends to ignite a national conversation by asking questions and answering them in a comprehensive and accessible way. In addition to substantive chapters by scholars and experts mining the data and explaining the breakthroughs and trends in the medical research, the economic impacts, the sociology and the cultural shifts — there will be personal essays, original photography by award-winning photojournalist Barbara Kinney and the results of a new, largest-ever nationwide poll on the effects of Alzheimer's on women and families.

Maria Shriver's own father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2003. "Alzheimer's has had a profound impact on my family," said Shriver. "The Alzheimer's Association tells us as many as 5.3 million people, most of them women, are living with Alzheimer's disease in our country — and unless something is done, by 2050, it will impact up to 16 million families directly and millions more indirectly. We launched this edition of The Shriver Report to shine the spotlight on the fact that Alzheimer's is a national epidemic that affects all of us, not just the elderly, and cuts across economic and age groups to have overpowering implications on all aspects of American life."

The Shriver Report contributors include Barbra Streisand, Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, Soleil Moon Frye, Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines, ABC News "Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen, former First Lady Laura Bush, President Ronald Reagan's daughter Patti Davis, Alzheimer's Study Group chairmen Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Bob Kerrey, and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Personal essays by a diverse group of Americans — including women in their 50s and 60s with younger-onset Alzheimer's — will illuminate with unflinching honesty the effect of Alzheimer's on American families.

"Given the enormous impact Alzheimer's disease has on women and families in this country, we partnered with Maria Shriver to escalate the national conversation about Alzheimer's. Maria's personal experience with Alzheimer's is relatable to the American public and will help bring the disease to the forefront," said Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer of the Alzheimer's Association. "With a new person developing Alzheimer's every 70 seconds and women impacted disproportionately as both people with the disease and caregivers, the Alzheimer's Association sees this as an opportunity to illustrate further the devastating path this disease will continue on without adequate funding for care and research."

The Shriver Report supporters include Deloitte LLP and Visa, Inc., and the report's contributing partners include the UC Berkeley Center on Health, Economic and Family Security and the Families and Work Institute. The Shriver Report release will be accompanied by extensive coverage and outreach by our media partners ABC News, Time and grassroots outreach supporter AARP, which will help amplify the conversation. ABC News will provide a week of coverage across its broadcast platforms.

ABC News president David Westin said, "The ABC family knows how devastating Alzheimer's is and how important it is for families to have access to the information they need to help them cope. We are honored to be partnering with Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer's Association on the release of The Shiver Report and hope our reporting can help shed new light on this heartbreaking disease."

"Our research shows that the average American caregiver is a woman who holds down a paid job and juggles family responsibilities to find the 20 hours a week she devotes to caring for her parent, who has a one in four chance of having Alzheimer's," said Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president of social impact for AARP. "That is why AARP is proud to work with The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's to highlight this conundrum and inspire business, government and community leaders to become aware of this dynamic and get creative in seeking change."

"Time is committed to our ongoing coverage of important health issues like Alzheimer's, and we look forward to working with The Shriver Report to draw attention to the extraordinary challenges this disease presents," said Richard Stengel, Time's managing editor.

The coverage will lead up to Maria Shriver's March on Alzheimer's on Oct. 24, kicking off the annual Women's Conference in Long Beach, Calif. Shriver will be joined there by emcee and Alzheimer advocate Leeza Gibbons, actor Rob Lowe and co-chairs actor Peter Gallagher, Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines, actress and activist Soleil Moon Frye, Body by Jake CEO Jake Steinfeld and members of the cast of "Glee." Jane Fonda will lead participants in warm-up exercises before they begin the 5K March, which will be followed by refreshments, entertainment and a candlelight vigil honoring those lost to Alzheimer's disease and their friends and families. All proceeds from the March will benefit the Alzheimer's Association. For more information, visit

About Maria Shriver
Shriver is the author of six books and an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning broadcast journalist currently serving as California's First Lady. Shriver was co-executive producer of last year's Emmy Award-winning four-part HBO documentary series, "The Alzheimer's Project." It took an inside look at cutting-edge research in the country's leading Alzheimer laboratories and examined the effects of this disease on patients and families. One of the Emmy Award-winning films in the series, "Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?", was based on Shriver's best-selling children's book dealing with Alzheimer's. "The Alzheimer's Project" one of HBO's most-watched events ever, can be seen at A mother of four, Shriver has expanded the California Women's Conference into a star-studded, multi-day event for 30,000 participants, featuring newsmakers, cultural leaders and opinion makers, all with the goal of inspiring and empowering women to be architects of change in their own lives, their communities and the world.

About the Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®. Visit or call 800.272.3900.

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