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The Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on the Workplace

By July 8, 2019Commentary, In the News

Contributed by Joshua Grill, PhD, Director of UCI MIND

A recent report from The Economist concludes that three neurological disorders — migraine, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease — are impacting workplace productivity. Notably, all three conditions disproportionately affect women.

While it is now clear that Alzheimer’s disease begins decades prior to diagnosis, the larger impact on the global economy results from the growing number of workers who are trying to balance employment as well as caregiving for a parent with the disease. More than 16 million Americans are unpaid caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and the most common caregiver is an adult daughter of a parent. These women are busy with families as well. Of course this impacts their productivity at work.

We need to do more for these families to ease their burden—make it easier for them to keep working, advance their careers, and to provide care. The Economist report, which was based on desktop research and interviews with experts such as Jason Karlawish, MD, a colleague and Director of the Penn Memory Center, highlights some important opportunities, such as education in the workplace, enabling flexible schedules, and increasing other workplace resources.

Our research has also shown that Alzheimer’s disease patients cared for by an adult child are underrepresented in clinical research studies. Creating opportunities for these families to enroll in studies would help patients, caregivers, and the overall research agenda — accelerating progress toward solutions for Alzheimer’s disease.

To download the whitepaper, click here>