The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) has published a report calling for a gendered approach and response to dementia at the national and international level. The report posits that women will disproportionately bear the burden of dementia in terms of numbers, but also impact in the coming years. The ‘feminization of ageing’ is a widely recognised trend and yet hitherto a comprehensive approach to the impact of dementia on women remains largely under explored.
Invariably women and men as they age, share many of the same fundamental needs. Yet, as is acknowledged in many parts of the world, older women are particularly vulnerable and are subject to prolonged inequalities experienced since childhood, for example, lower levels of education and a greater risk of poverty. This report assumes a life course approach to the challenge of dementia and women, arguing from a global perspective that women face a ‘triple jeopardy’ as a result of the associated stigma attached to their age, gender and decline in cognitive functions.
ILC-UK make a number of recommendations for improving outcomes and interventions for women, which include:
- 1. Dementia health policies and programmes should incorporate a gender dimension in their design, delivery and evaluation
- 2. Gender should be included as a key health determinant in the promotion and disease prevention of dementia
- 3. Dementia research at the regional, national and international level needs to be disaggregated by gender and age
- 4. Women and men should be equally represented and involved at the micro and macro level of decision-making with regard to the development of health and social care policies and resource allocation as they pertain to dementia
- 5. There is a need for greater interdisciplinary research incorporating the biological and social models of health for men and women to improve health interventions and outcomes