Most of us are writing down notes all the time: shopping lists, appointments, meetings, to-do reminders, events…the list goes on and on. If you’re a family caregiver, you have even more reasons for writing, as you manage another person’s life in addition to your own. Journals for caregivers are a perfect way to keep everything together in one concise location. Yet we recommend taking it one step further by making use of two separate journals for two distinct purposes which are both critically important to your role as caregiver.
The Organization Journal
This sort of journal is a good tool for keeping everything associated with a senior family member’s health and wellbeing in one place. Include:
- Any changes in condition
- Information regarding any troubling symptoms and what might be impacting them (i.e. Mom has been feeling fatigued the past few days; 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 answers and recommendations)
- Prescriptions being taken and any potential side effects the senior may be dealing with
- Contact info for doctors’ offices, the pharmacy, etc.
Bring the journal with you to each medical appointment so you will have the important information you will need close at hand.
A Journal for Venting
Taking care of your mental health is paramount to providing the best care for someone you love. A private journal just for venting your feelings and thoughts can be very beneficial, as research indicates that recording our experiences reduces our risk for depression. This journal is exclusively for your eyes only. There is no right or wrong strategy to how or what you write, but these suggestions might help:
- Do not censor your thoughts or be concerned with proper grammar – just let your thoughts flow.
- Abstain from any self-judgment; the aim 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’ve written after a period of time has passed, allowing you the chance to gain some emotional distance from your thoughts.
- Unsure where to start? These prompts can help.
There are many different techniques to keeping journals for caregivers; choose what is most effective for you!
- Traditional pen-and-paper notes
- Electronic documents
- Specialized caregiving apps, for example,:
- Balance – Especially 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 an easy medication management tool, but also includes a journaling section.
At Serenity Home Care, the leading provider of at-home care in Langford and the surrounding areas, our caregivers are here 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 online or call 250.590.8098 for more information.