Shriver: National Policy on Alzheimer's Needed

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Shriver, who has also produced a documentary and written a book on Alzheimer's, encouraged family members and friends of those living with the disease to fight back.

'March, Raise Money, Use Your Voice"

"You can march. You can try to raise money. You can use your voice in a very empowering way," she said. "People are so grateful to have this disease put on the front burner."

She said she believed that money could be found or raised for more research on diseases that affect the brain, especially as 77 million baby boomers begin turning 65.

"I never really listen to people who say, 'There's no money for this and no, you can't,'" Shriver said. "I just try to find a way around them. There's gotta be some money somewhere."

Caring for a Parent With Alzheimer's

Shriver said she started trying to understand Alzheimer's after her father was diagnosed with the disease in 2003. At the same time she was caring for her father, she also took care of her mother, who died in 2009.

"It's very hard to get your mind around the fact that that person is sitting there across from you, and they look like your mother or your father but they have no memory of the relationship you have," she said.

Shriver said that while she tended to be more emotional regarding her father, her brothers handled their father in a way that stunned and amazed her.

"They take care of my dad, they brush his hair, they suit him up and when he gets disagreeable, they play with him," she said.

This year's report builds on last year's "Shriver Report, A Woman's Nation Changes Everything," which found that about two-thirds of women are now not only their family's breadwinner but also a wife, mother and caretaker for elderly or sick relatives.

"I think more and more men are stepping forward to be caretakers of their wives, of their mothers, and they're learning a whole new side of themselves," she said. "Women need the help. Women need the support. We can't do this on our own. It's good for families and it's good for American business and politics."

ABC News' Kim Carollo contributed to this article.

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