Why You Need These Two Types of Journals for Family Caregivers

A woman writes in one of her journals for family caregivers.

Keeping these two distinctly different journals for family caregivers will better meet your needs as well as those of the person in your care.

Many of us are writing down notes all of 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 an ideal technique to keep everything together in a single concise location. Yet we recommend taking it one step further by utilizing two journals for family caregivers that serve two specific purposes that are equally important to your role as caregiver.

The Organization Journal

This type of journal is a great tool for keeping everything associated with a senior family member’s health and wellbeing in one place. Include:

  • Any condition changes
  • Information about any concerning symptoms and what may be having an effect on them (for example, Dad has been feeling lethargic recently; 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 recommendations and answers)
  • Prescriptions being taken and any potential side effects the older adult may be experiencing
  • Contact info for the pharmacy, health care professionals, etc.

Bring the journal with you to every doctor’s appointment so that you always have the important information you’ll 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 used only for venting your thoughts and feelings can be very helpful, as studies have shown that writing down our experiences decreases our risk for depression. This journal is exclusively for your eyes only. There’s no right or wrong strategy to how or what you write down, but these guidelines might help:

  • Don’t censor your thoughts or be concerned with proper grammar—just let the writing flow.
  • Abstain from any self-judgment; the goal is just to get your thoughts written down.
  • Include drawings or doodles if you’d like.
  • Write as often 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.
  • Not sure where to start? These prompts might help.

There are a number of different techniques to keeping journals; choose what is most effective for you!

  • Traditional pen-and-paper notes
  • Electronic documents
  • Specialized caregiving apps, such as:
    • CareZone — This free app is a great medication management tool, but also includes a journaling section.

For additional resources to help you in your caregiving journey, contact Harmony Home Health & Hospice at 877-463-3322. Serving Salt Lake City, Orem, Albuquerque, and the surrounding areas with professional home health care and hospice services, we’re always here to help.