February 17, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille


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. For family caregivers, there are additional reasons for writing while managing another person’s life along with their own.

Journaling is a great way to keep everything together in one concise location. Yet we recommend taking it one step further by making use of two journals for two specific purposes that are equally important to your caregiving role.

A Journal for Organizing

This sort of journal is an excellent tool for keeping everything pertaining to a senior family member’s health and wellbeing in one place. Include:

  • Any changes in condition
  • Information regarding any troubling symptoms and what might be impacting them (for example, Dad has been feeling sluggish 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 physician (along with their answers and recommendations)
  • Prescriptions being taken and any potential side effects the senior may be experiencing
  • Contact info for doctors’ offices, the pharmacy, etc.

Bring the journal with you to every medical appointment so that you will have the information you need at your fingertips.

A Journal for Venting

Taking care of your mental health is key 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 indicates that writing down our experiences minimizes our risk for depression. This journal is exclusively for your eyes only. There’s no right or wrong approach to what or how you write, but these guidelines might help:

  • Do not censor your thoughts or be concerned with proper grammar – just let the writing flow.
  • Abstain from any self-judgment; the goal is simply to get your thoughts written down.
  • Include drawings or doodles if you’d like.
  • Write as frequently as you would like, but only review what you’ve 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 can help.

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

  • Traditional pen-and-paper notes
  • Electronic documents
  • Specialized caregiving apps, for example,:
    • Balance – Specifically for Alzheimer’s care journaling, find prompts to write down common symptoms with simple yes/no answers to generate a shareable log.
    • CareZone – This free app is an excellent medication management tool, but also includes a journaling section.

At Home Independent Living’s compassionate 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 our team today and learn more about our respite care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding areas. For more information about all of the areas we serve in New York, please visit our Service Area page.