Take Two: The Dual Purposes of Journaling for Caregivers

Take Two: The Dual Purposes of Journaling for Caregivers

Most of us are jotting down notes all the time: grocery lists, to-do reminders, appointments, meetings, events…the list goes on and on. If you’re a family caregiver, you’ve got even more reasons for writing, as you manage another person’s life in addition to your own.

Journaling for caregivers is a great way to keep everything together in one concise location. Yet we recommend taking it a step further by utilizing two journals for two distinct purposes that are equally important to your caregiving role.

The Organization Journal

This type of journal is a great tool for keeping everything related to a senior family member’s health and wellbeing together. Include:

  • Any changes in condition
  • Information regarding any concerning symptoms and what may be impacting them (i.e., Mom has been feeling lethargic this week; it seems worse on the days that she skips breakfast)
  • A list of any questions you want to remember to ask the doctor (along with their answers and recommendations)
  • Prescriptions being taken and any potential side effects the senior may be experiencing
  • Contact info for doctors’ offices, the pharmacy, etc.

Bring the journal with you to each medical appointment so you always have the information you need at your fingertips.

The Venting Journal

Taking care of your mental health is vital to providing the best care for someone you love. A private journal just for venting your thoughts and feelings can be extremely helpful, as research shows that writing down our experiences reduces our risk for depression. This journal is for your eyes only. There’s no right or wrong approach to what or how you write, but these suggestions can help:

  • Don’t censor your thoughts or concern yourself with proper grammar – just let them flow.
  • Refrain from any self-judgment; the goal is just to empty the contents of your mind.
  • Include drawings or doodles if you’d like.
  • Write as often as you want, but only review what you’ve written after a period of time has passed, allowing you the chance to gain some emotional distance from your thoughts.
  • Unsure where to begin? These prompts can help.

There are several different methods to keeping journals; choose what works best for you!

  • Traditional pen-and-paper notes
  • Computerized documents
  • Specialized caregiving apps, such as:
    • Balance – Specifically for Alzheimer’s caregivers, find prompts to document common symptoms with simple yes/no answers to create a shareable log.
    • CareZone – This free app is a great medication management tool, but also includes a journaling section.

Amy’s Helping Hands is here to help with award-winning elder care in Windsor, Ontario and the surrounding areas that allows you as much time as you need to spend in journal writing and any other activities you enjoy that help restore and refresh you. Contact us at 519-915-4370 to learn more.