Are You in Denial? New Survey Shows Fear of Alzheimer’s Stops Crucial Action

The new WebMD-Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Alzheimer’s Attitudes and Behaviors released today reveals our conflicting attitudes toward Alzheimer’s disease (the only cause of death in the Top 10 in America that  cannot be prevented or cured).

The survey shows that fear of the disease and misperceptions about risk and prevention stop most Americans from taking action, whether it’s to learn about their own personal risk, to take steps to prevent it or to plan for the potential financial burden either as patient or caregiver.

[Read Maria’s Insight on the Snapshot findings: ‘We CAN Handle the Truth’] 

Of those concerned about getting the disease, 69% are worried about being a burden to their family, and 60% said the main reason for their unease is the lack of a cure.

[Watch Maria’s Alzheimer’s Architects of Change Live discussion with Seth Rogen & Lauren Miller Rogen]

While a large majority of Americans are aware of the disease, its symptoms and the impact, just 11% have taken steps with their doctors for prevention:


Less than half of all respondents said they would take tests to reveal their risk, and only a quarter of Americans would get a genetic test or a brain scan.

[Dr. Kenneth Kosik: How You Can Plan to Outsmart Alzheimer’s Every Day With Simple Steps]


While a majority of Americans believe Alzheimer’s could bankrupt them or cause their family great financial harm, less than half of them are doing anything to prepare.

This is especially true for Millennials, who are more likely than other age groups to view themselves as “caregivers on deck.”  Most have not thought about the financial implication of a family member having the disease.

[5 Tips to Cut Your Risk for Alzheimer’s in Half]


While the majority of Americans seem well informed about what the disease is…


…there is a lack of understanding of who in the population has the highest risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s:



[Read Maria Shriver’s latest ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ essay]

1 in 5 Americans have been or are caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s. Women were almost twice as likely to response that they have been caregivers ore quite a job to care for a family member with the disease. Aside from the financial cost, their is a physical cost. Nearly half of caregivers report that their role is equivalent to either a full time or part time job:


However fearful, Americans seem optimistic about a cure. In fact, a quarter believe we will have a cure by 2025.

“Alzheimer’s is not a natural part of aging. It claims a new person every 67 seconds, the majority of whom are women. This poll and the facts contained in it should shake us all out of denial. This is a disease that affects all of us. And it will take all of us to beat it.” ~Maria Shriver

Click here to view the full infographic of the results of The WebMD and The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight Into Alzheimer’s Attitudes & Behaviors.

Read the full findings of The WebMD and Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight Into Alzheimer’s Attitudes & Behaviors on

About the Author

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Built on the important legacy of The Shriver Report Project-- Special Editions, Maria Shriver introduces a new quick-dive, high-impact brand of reporting and analysis to our changing global landscape. The Shriver Report Snapshots paint a real-time picture of contemporary cultural issues, inform through cutting-edge survey results, inspire engagement with targeted challenges and ignite stereotype-cracking dialogue.

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