March 7, 2022
A lot of us are jotting down notes all of the time: grocery lists, appointments, meetings, to-do reminders, events…the list goes on and on. If you are a family caregiver, you have additional reasons for writing, as you manage another person’s life along with your own.
Caregiver journaling is an ideal technique to keep everything together in one single concise location. However, we suggest taking it one step further by utilizing two journals for two specific purposes which are every bit as important to your caregiving role.
The Organization Journal
This kind of journal is a perfect tool for keeping everything related to a senior loved one’s health and wellbeing in one place. Include:
- Any changes in condition
- Information about any troubling symptoms and what could be influencing them (for example, Dad has been feeling fatigued this week; it seems worse on the days that she skips breakfast)
- A list of any questions you need to remember to ask the physician (along with their recommendations and answers)
- Prescriptions being taken and any possible side effects the senior may be experiencing
- Contact info for the pharmacy, health care professionals, etc.
Bring the journal with you to every doctor’s appointment so you will have the important information you will need at your fingertips.
The Venting Journal
Looking after your mental health is paramount to providing the best care for a loved one. A private journal exclusively for venting your thoughts and feelings can be very helpful, as research indicates that recording our experiences minimizes our risk for depression. This journal is exclusively for your eyes only. There’s no right or wrong approach to what or how you write it down, but these suggestions can help:
- Do not censor your thoughts or be concerned with proper grammar – just let the writing 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 frequently as you want, but only evaluate what you have written after a period of time has passed, enabling you the opportunity to gain some emotional distance from your thoughts.
- Unsure where to begin? These prompts might help.
There are a number of different techniques to keeping journals; select what is most effective for you!
- Traditional pen-and-paper notes
- Electronic documents
- Specialized caregiving apps, for example,:
- Balance – Designed for Alzheimer’s caregivers, find prompts to document common symptoms with simple yes/no answers to generate a shareable log.
- CareZone – This free app is an excellent medication management tool, but also includes a journaling section.
Continuum’s highly-trained St. Louis, MO caregivers are available to offer regular respite care services to allow you as much time as you need to spend in journal writing and any other activities you love that help restore and refresh you. Contact us to find out more information.