It Takes Two: The Dual Purposes of Journaling for Family Caregivers
We’re always writing notes to ourselves throughout the day: appointments, shopping lists, meetings, events, to-do reminders…the list goes on and on. If you’re a family caregiver, you have even more reasons for writing, while you manage another person’s life along with your own.
Journaling for family caregivers is a helpful way to keep information together in one organized, concise location. However, we suggest taking it one step further by utilizing two journals for two specific purposes which are equally important to your role as caregiver.
The Organization Journal
An organization journal is a useful tool to compile everything related to a senior loved one's health and wellness. Include:
Information about any concerning symptoms and what could be impacting them (i.e, Mom has been feeling sluggish this week; it seems worse on the days that she skips a mid-morning snack)
Any condition changes
Prescriptions being taken and any possible side effects the individual may be experiencing
A list of any questions you need to remember to ask the doctor (along with their recommendations and answers)
Contact info for doctors’ offices, the pharmacy, etc.
It even helps to take the journal to doctor’s appointments so you will have the information you need at your fingertips.
The Venting Journal
Taking care of your mental health is paramount to providing the best care for someone you love. Keeping a personal journal to use for venting and releasing your feelings can be very therapeutic, and studies have shown that documenting our experiences reduces our risk for depression. This journal is exclusively for your eyes only. There is no right or wrong approach to how or what you compose, however these guidelines can help:
Refrain from any self-judgment; the goal is simply to empty the contents of your mind.
Do not censor your thoughts or be concerned with proper grammar – just let your thoughts flow.
Write as often as you would like, but only evaluate what you have written after a period of time has passed, enabling you the chance to gain some emotional distance from your thoughts.
Include drawings or doodles if you would like.
Unsure where to begin? These prompts can help.
There are many different approaches to journaling for family caregivers; select what works best for you!
Traditional pen-and-paper notes
Specialized caregiving apps, for example:
CareZone – This free app is a great medication management tool, but also includes a journaling section.
Balance – Specifically for Alzheimer’s caregivers, find prompts to note common symptoms with simple yes/no answers to create a shareable log.
The Care Company’s compassionate 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. Call us at (416) 422-2273 or contact us online to get started.