With the new year just around the corner, now is a great time to consider new strategies that can help you be an even more effective caregiver and also provide benefits to your senior loved one. Journaling is a wonderful way to cut down on caregiver stress, and can be utilized as an outlet to problem-solve and keep a record of caregiving’s associated tasks. Furthermore, journaling can:
- Make you healthier. Writing about challenging situations and emotions for as little as 20 minutes three to four days per week has been shown to boost immune system functioning, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, enhance mobility for individuals with arthritis, and much more.
- Sharpen your caregiving skills. Reading back over what you’ve written at the conclusion of each week helps you to pick up on any patterns, triggers that upset your senior loved one, certain times of day which are better or worse for the older adult, etc. You can then take steps to proactively anticipate these issues before they become problems.
- Help you understand yourself better. Caregiving can take so much of your energy and attention; it is possible to lose sight of who you are and what is important to you as a person. Journaling helps bring your own thoughts, feelings and emotions to the surface.
- Help you understand others better. Along those lines, describing disagreements and misunderstandings in your journal will allow you to see things more clearly from the other person’s standpoint, and offer insight into how you can resolve (and prevent) conflicts.
As with implementing any kind of new routine, it may take some time to get used to the concept of journaling and to make it a priority. The key is to reserve a specified time each day, whatever time works for you, find a calm, private place, and tell yourself that it’s ok to write about anything and everything that comes to mind.
One useful method for journaling is to use a “stream of consciousness” approach – not putting a whole lot of thought into what you are going to write and exactly how to write it, but simply to start writing and to keep writing continuously – whether or not it’s connected to your caregiving duties or not. Remember, your writing will not be seen by others (unless you decide to share it), or graded. Forget about perfect grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and just let your feelings flow out onto the paper.
If finding time and energy to devote to journaling is a struggle, contact Grace Home Care, the Topeka dementia care leaders. We’re always available to provide regular, ongoing respite care services that give family caregivers the time they need for themselves. Let us partner with you to make sure your loved one receives the highest possible quality of care, while you enjoy the healthy life balance you need and deserve.
Call us at 785-286-2273 for additional helpful caregiving tips or to arrange a free in-home consultation to learn more about our top-rated Topeka dementia care and respite care services. For more information about each of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.