The Importance of Acknowledging the Alzheimer's Caregiver Journey

More times than not, the focus is on the Alzheimer’s patient journey. Understanding their needs, their progression from symptoms to diagnosis, treatment and living with a condition. In support of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month this November, Healthline is asking other important questions. What does this journey look like for a caregiver of a loved one living with Alzheimer’s? What are the inconvenient truths caregivers face each step of the way? And what impact does this role have on their physical, emotional, and financial health?

Whether it is seen as a privilege, a burden, or a necessity, the role of the caregiver is intertwined in the patient journey.

A 2018 Healthline State of Caregiving for Alzheimer’s & Related Dementia report set out to better understand caregivers and identify their constraints and needs that can help pharma marketers more effectively support caregivers in their ever-changing role. Here are some key pharma highlights:

The Caregiver Profile

Who is carrying all of the burden? The caregiver role is predominantly female (71%) and taken on by the patient’s daughter or son (48%). Generationally, adult children are the most common primary caregivers.

The Caregiver Trifecta: Balancing Responsibilities and Demands

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be a full-time job, yet the burden is often more complex than can be imagined. Caregivers, especially those part of the ‘sandwich generation,’ are also filling roles to raise children at home and hold jobs outside of the care they provide.

Impact on Caregiver Health

Caregivers report experiencing declines in their own health as a result of the strain and pressure of caring for someone else or simply not having the time to attend to their own needs.

Impact on Caregiver Financial Security

The cost of being a caregiver goes beyond their own health, and puts a strain on their wallets too.

Valuable Caregiver Resources

One in two caregivers participated in a support group, including an in-person support group, online community or private social network group.

Four in ten caregivers have used apps or websites to assist with caregiving.

The study illuminates the complex challenges that caregivers face while caring for Alzheimer’s patients, in addition to their roles as daughters, sons, parents, and professionals. Open communication and listening offers the industry an opportunity to more effectively reach and engage this population, provide more tools and resources, increase content development and support the whole-person.

Interested in learning more? Send us an email at to find out how you can help address the needs of caregivers and people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementia

Source: Healthline’s “State of Caregiving for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia” Survey. Survey respondents (n=384) were recruited from Survey Sampling International’s consumer panel from February 16 – February 23, 2018.

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