The Benefits of Journaling as a Caregiver

Journaling can help relieve caregiving related stress

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

Journaling as a caregiver is a great technique to keep everything together in a single concise location. However, we recommend taking it a step further by making use of two journals for two specific purposes that are equally important to your caregiving role.

The Organization Journal

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

  • Any changes in condition 
  • Information regarding any troubling symptoms and what may be having an effect on them (i.e, Dad has been feeling lethargic the past few days; it seems worse on the days that he skips breakfast)
  • A list of any questions you want to remember to ask the doctor (along with their recommendations and answers)
  • Prescriptions being taken and any possible side effects the older adult may be dealing with
  • Contact info for the pharmacy, health care professionals, etc.

Bring the journal with you to each medical appointment so you will have the important information you’ll need close at hand.

The Venting Journal

Taking care of your mental health is key to providing the best care for a loved one. A private journal used only for venting your thoughts and feelings can be very helpful, as research shows that recording our experiences decreases our risk for depression. This journal is solely for your eyes only. There is no right or wrong strategy to how or what you compose, but these guidelines might help:

  • Do not censor your thoughts or be worried about proper grammar – just let your thoughts flow.
  • Refrain from any self-judgment; the aim is simply to empty the contents of your mind.
  • Include drawings or doodles if you’d like.
  • Write as often as you want, but only examine what you have written after a period of time has passed, enabling you the opportunity to gain some emotional distance from your thoughts.
  • Not sure where to start? These prompts might help.

There are many different techniques to keeping journals; select what is most effective for you!

  • Traditional pen-and-paper notes
  • Electronic documents 
  • Specialized caregiving apps, such as:
    • Balance – Designed for Alzheimer’s caregivers, find prompts to record 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.

Golden Harmony Home Care’s compassionate caregivers are available to offer regular respite care services to allow you as much time as you need to invest in journal writing and any other activities you love that help restore and refresh you. Contact us online or call us at 919-426-7522 to learn more about senior care in Raleigh, NC and the surrounding areas.

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