The purpose of this report is to understand the main issues affecting women in relation to dementia from an international perspective. The report examines the effect of gender on three specific groups: women living with dementia; women caring for people with dementia in a professional caring role; women undertaking an informal caregiving role for someone with dementia.
The report also looks at cross-cutting issues, including factors affecting women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs); family structures and kinship; and the effects of migration.
Some key findings from the report include:
- Across all regions of the world, dementia disproportionately affects women
- More women live with dementia than men. The prevalence is higher for women than for men;
women are more at risk of developing dementia and the symptoms they live with are more severe
- Women provide a substantial proportion of informal care to people with dementia, with around two thirds of primary caregivers overall being women
- This figure is significantly higher in LMICs, areas which will account for 71% of the global prevalence of dementia by 2050
- The formal care workforce is predominantly female, providing the majority of health and social care in the community as well as in hospitals and care homes
- There is currently very little research focusing on the gender issues of living with, or caring for, someone with dementia and on the long-term impact of dementia on women as family and formal caregivers
Some key recommendations from the report include:
- All countries need to understand the current and predicted prevalence and acknowledge that dementia disproportionately affects women. Accordingly, policy makers should review what support is currently available and what is required to meet future needs
- There is also a need for skilled care competencies for health and care staff and professionals working with people living with dementia with complex needs and co-morbidities
- In all regions people should be able to access appropriate information and support in place, enabling women across the world to continue to provide care, and to feel cared for themselves