Take Two: Why You Should Consider Keeping Two Caregiving Journals
Most of us are jotting down notes all the time: grocery lists, to-do reminders, appointments, meetings, events…the list goes on and on. If you’re a family caregiver, you’ve got even more reasons for writing, as you manage another person’s life in addition to your own. Journaling is a great way to keep everything together in one concise location. Yet we recommend taking it a step further by utilizing two caregiving journals for two distinct purposes that are equally important to your caregiving role.
The Organization Journal
This type of journal is a great tool for keeping everything linked to a senior family member’s health and wellbeing in one place. Include:
- Any condition changes
- Information about any troubling symptoms and what could be having an effect on them (for example, Mom has been feeling tired this week; it seems worse on the days that she skips breakfast)
- A list of any questions you want to remember to ask the physician (along with their answers and recommendations)
- Prescriptions being taken and any possible side effects the individual may be experiencing
- Contact info for the pharmacy, health care professionals, etc.
Bring the journal with you to each medical appointment so you always have the important information you will need at your fingertips.
A Journal for Venting
Taking care of your mental health is vital to providing the best care for someone you love. A private journal used only for venting your thoughts and feelings can be very helpful, as research shows that recording our experiences minimizes our risk for depression. This journal is solely for your eyes only. There is no right or wrong approach to what or how you write, but these suggestions might help:
- Don’t censor your thoughts or be concerned with proper grammar – just let your thoughts flow.
- Refrain from any self-judgment; the aim is simply to empty the contents of your mind.
- Include doodles or drawings if you’d like.
- Write as frequently as you want, but only examine what you’ve written after a period of time has passed, allowing 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; choose what works best for you!
- Traditional pen-and-paper notes
- Computerized documents
- Specialized caregiving apps
Hired Hands Homecare’s knowledgeable caregivers are here 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 for more information about our customized care solutions in Novato, Santa Rosa, Napa, and the surrounding areas.