It Takes Two: The Dual Purposes of a Caregiver Journal

Most of us are writing down notes all the time: grocery 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, as you manage another person’s life along with your own.

Journaling is an excellent technique to keep everything together in one concise location. That being said, we suggest taking it one step further by making use of a caregiver journal for two specific purposes which are equally important to your caregiving role.

A Journal for Organizing

This type of journal is an ideal tool for keeping everything pertaining 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 recommendations and answers)
  • Prescriptions being taken and any possible side effects the individual may be dealing with
  • Contact info for doctors’ offices, the pharmacy, etc.

Bring the journal with you to every doctor’s appointment so you always have the important information you will need close at hand.

A Journal for Venting

Looking after your mental health is vital to providing the best care for a loved one. A private journal just for venting your thoughts and feelings can be extremely beneficial, as research shows that writing down our experiences reduces 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, however these recommendations might help:

  • Don’t censor your thoughts or be worried about proper grammar – just let your thoughts flow.
  • Abstain from any self-judgment; the goal is simply to empty the contents of your mind.
  • Include doodles or drawings if you’d like.
  • Write as often as you need, but only evaluate what you have written after a period of time has passed, allowing you the opportunity to gain some emotional distance from your thoughts.

Unsure where to start? These prompts might help.

There are many different methods to keeping journals; 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 record common symptoms with simple yes/no answers to generate a shareable log.
    • CareZone – This free app is a great medication management tool, but also includes a journaling section.

As one of the top-rated home health agencies in Virginia Beach, Seniorcorp’s highly-trained care team is 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 at 757-640-0557 to get started. For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.