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Words of Support for Caregivers, From Their Loved Ones

What’s behind the daily sacrifices made by family caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease? It is their love for their family member that allows them to tackle their nearly endless daily tasks — managing daily routines, addressing cognitive challenges, offering mental and emotional fortitude, providing physical care, and beyond. 

There are more than 11 million Americans caring for family members living with Alzheimer’s dementia. In recognition of this often-forgotten group, we asked our caregivers’ friends and family to describe how they see the caregivers in their lives. We also checked in with our community members who care for someone with Alzheimer’s on their experiences as a caregiver. Caregiving can be an isolating journey, and we hope this article will help those caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s feel less alone, seen, and heard for all they do. 

Here’s what the family and friends of caregivers shared to celebrate the caregiver in their life (in addition to advice from caregivers to other caregivers!):

1. You are deserving of love and support.  

Families and friends of caregivers were effusive in describing their loved ones as “loving” and “supportive.”

“My caregiver is very caring and kind-hearted. He guards me like a lion. I always feel safe and loved.” – A person living with Alzheimer’s about their caregiver

You can also support yourself as a caregiver by educating yourself about Alzheimer’s. Learning more about the disease and its progression can help you provide the best care possible. It can also support you in knowing what to expect over time.

2. It’s natural to feel stressed and overwhelmed.

It’s common for caregivers to experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, and overwhelmingness while navigating the care of a loved one living with Alzheimer’s. In fact, a 2023 survey conducted by Wakefield Research and sponsored by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. indicated that nearly two-thirds of family caregivers reported their role as being more stressful than any job they have held in the past. As such, stress relief techniques are often recommended to manage the emotions that are a natural part of caregiving. Ways to improve your overall well-being could include finding time for yourself to practice meditation or breathing exercises, trying physical activities like walking or gardening, or doing something you enjoy. 

They need all the support they can get. Even if it’s just words of encouragement. – A caregiver’s loved one 

“Alzheimer’s is a beast in itself. It’s so hard on the person having it, but it’s equally hard on the caregiver, especially if it is a parent who has this disease… I compare it to being Alice in Wonderland. Nothing is as it seems. You can only take it one day at a time.” – A caregiver’s loved one

3. Taking time to care for yourself is important. 

Caregiving can impact your mental and emotional well-being. Be gentle with yourself as you learn more about how to care for your loved one. In the aforementioned 2023 Wakefield Research survey, 57% of caregivers reported sacrificing sleep, while approximately 45% of caregivers also reported sacrificing self-care and 43% for mental health.

“We have less time for ‘fun things’ together and she has less joy in her eyes than she did before. It’s been very stressful and a large change of life.” – A caregiver’s loved one 

“He is doing the best he can but forfeiting his own health in the process.” – A caregiver’s loved one 

It’s important to remember to take time to care for yourself, too. While caregiving can be 24/7, caregivers still need time for themselves. Sometimes, this can feel impossible to manage, but even a 10-minute walk, a short meditation, or finding a moment to stand in the sun with your eyes closed can make a big difference.

If you experience changes to your mental health, talk to your health care provider about how they might be able to help. 

4. It’s OK to ask for help.

Just as no one living with Alzheimer’s should face it alone, caregivers should not have to feel isolated. Know that you are doing your best, and it’s OK to ask for help when you need it. 86% of caregivers surveyed use resources — such as help from family members, advice from health care professionals, and organizational tools — to help them in caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

“It’s OK to feel like you’re not doing it right and like you need a break, and it’s OK to ask for help.” – A caregiver to other caregivers

“Caregiving is a lot harder than people think. Even as a nurse I thought I knew, but being on the family side of things takes on a whole new perspective. They don’t just wake up and don’t remember; it’s an ongoing thing that even they can see happening and it’s very scary for them. It can be very frustrating at times for both the patient and the caregiver as communication becomes harder.” – A caregiver to other caregivers

“You aren’t alone.” – A caregiver to other caregivers

Caregivers often need help with daily tasks such as meal preparation, transportation, and housekeeping. Friends and family members can offer to help with these tasks to support the caregivers in their lives. 

Whether you need words of encouragement, a break, or care — support is available to you. The Alzheimer’s Association is a great place to start. There are many caregiver support groups and communities available virtually and in-person for you to access.

Your work is incredibly important, and you deserve recognition for all that you do. If you have a caregiver in your life, don’t be afraid to ask them what they need or how to help!


About Otsuka

Otsuka is a health care company driven by our purpose and defined by our beliefs. At Otsuka, we’re working to lead an industry-wide shift in the ways caregivers are valued and supported. We are dedicated to caring for caregivers — standing with them, the way they stand with their loved ones — and offering the tools they need for the health of others and themselves. Discover our caregiver commitment.

January 2024 01US23EUC0330

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