Anyone who’s ever been wowed by a speech or surprised by a bumper sticker knows that inspirational quotes are extremely diverse and can cover every possible topic. Caregivers face a variety of challenges that other people may deeply resonate with and their thoughts can be very inspirational. Caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients have real-life experiences that illustrate the emotion that is linked with the effort of caring for someone with memory loss.
This collection of Alzheimer’s quotes derives from caregivers posting to our Facebook page as well as contributions from familiar cultural icons. The collection also uniquely includes the words of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.1 The best and most meaningful quotes cover a wide range of things. Whether the topic is love, patience, fear, courage, or compassion, the wisest words tend to point to one particularly important truth: that we are not alone.
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The experience of taking care of someone who is no longer themselves can make you feel very isolated and alone. Loneliness is a major challenge associated with Alzheimer’s disease, for both the person who is beginning to forget things as well as for the person caring for them. When a loved one with Alzheimer’s doesn’t recognize you or has forgotten your name because of dementia, it is tempting to assume there is no point in continuing to visit.
It can be painful in many ways to be present for a person with Alzheimer’s, and even lifelong friends may drift away because the friend with dementia may forget important experiences they had together. Friends may pull away in response to feeling confused or angry with the world for allowing their dear friend to suffer. Whatever the reason, it’s important to know that people with dementia need connection more than ever before.
“Something that’s really important is to help people understand the level at which we want to be engaged. We still want to have social activities.” — Anonymous Alzheimer’s patient
“Friends had a difficult time when I was first diagnosed, and I realized it was because they just didn’t know enough about the disease, and I felt it was important that I speak up about it.” — Anonymous Alzheimer’s patient
“Although the days are busy and the workload is always growing, there are still those special moments when someone says or does something and you know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. That’s why I became a nurse.” — Diane McKenty
The brain changes that accompany dementia can leave a patient feeling scared, confused and misunderstood. They may know they forget things and worry about it. Compassion allows people to feel witnessed and understood. It is a balm for discontent. The person with dementia can benefit greatly from compassion, as can caregivers, family, and friends.
“Since I am the only person I know who has Alzheimer’s disease, I wish I could talk to other people in my position. I feel like I am the only one who knows what this feels like.” — Anonymous Alzheimer’s patient
“Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy.” — Chogyam Trungpa
“Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we do rise above ourselves.” — Mason Cooley
Positivity is contagious, though it’s important not to have expectations about someone under your care who is developing a positive attitude. What’s important is that you, as you care for the person, strive for it and model it while with your loved one. Your contentment and positivity can be a calming element for someone with dementia.
“What I realized is you cannot dwell too long on what you can’t do anymore. It is a new life — how do I begin to take my new life on?” — Anonymous Alzheimer’s Patient
“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” ― Amy Tan
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things which you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act: it is an attitude.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.” — Emory Austin
Patience can be fleeting, especially when dealing with dementia. It may appear and then vanish suddenly when a challenging situation occurs. Most problems resolve more easily when you can maintain your center and accept things as they are. Your patience may be the thing that your loved one relies on for comfort.
“I think my family could be more forgiving of me when I don’t remember things, instead of saying ‘I already told you that!’.” — Anonymous Alzheimer’s Patient
“Have patience—remember how you will want someone to treat you when you reach the time when you need a caregiver!” — Linda D., on our Facebook page
“Keep your patience and give all the dignity to our blessed seniors that they have earned over a lifetime.” — Sherril C., on our Facebook page
“God gave burdens; he also gave shoulders.” — Yiddish Proverb
Some inspirational quotes are more meaningful than others, and these that focus on love are very powerful.
“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.” — Mother Theresa
“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” ― Tia Walker, from The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for Those You Love
“No matter what the relationship was between the parent and child—whatever it was—this is going to be extremely challenging because it is not logical. There’s no way to deal with it rationally or directly. You don’t reason it out. What I’ve said to so many people is: we always must lead with our love.” ― Dr. Stephen Hoag, in our interview with him on Alzheimers.net about A Son’s Handbook: Bringing Up Mom with Alzheimer’s/Dementia
1Alzheimer’s Association. (2008). Voices of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Summary Report on the Nationwide Town Hall Meetings for People with Early Stage Dementia. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/early-stage-town-hall-r.pdf