Caregiver Journal: The Benefits of Journaling for Family Caregivers

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Being a caregiver is not an easy task. Whether you are taking care of a family member, a friend, a relative, or a patient, we commend you for your strength, compassion, and kindness. Providing care for someone requires a lot of responsibility and record-keeping which can take a toll on your emotional well-being. Making sure that you are healthy and emotionally sound should be a top priority. After all, you cannot pour from an empty cup. 

Why Caregivers Should Always Keep A Journal

Keeping a journal is an important tool for caregivers as it can take a lot of stress off your shoulders. Remembering every detail from doctor’s appointments, medical history, test results, among others can get overwhelming. While some can remember information easily, writing things down in a journal allows you to reference them and keeps the information as accurate as possible. 


Tip: While there are technological apps available to help keep track of information, writing things down allows your brain to easily recall information and filters out any unnecessary details. Applications, such as a calendar or reminder feature, are other helpful tools at your disposal. These are exceptionally useful for keeping track of doctor’s appointments and medication intake schedules. 

What Should Caregivers Write in A Journal

Writing down symptoms, physical observations, medical appointment times, questions for the doctor, and notes from follow-ups are a few things you should include in a journal. Since this journal will have medical information, make sure to always keep it in a safe and secure place. Only share this information with medical professionals and close family members. Here are a few pointers which can help you get started on your caregiver journal. Take note of the following:


  • Symptoms the person you are caring for is experiencing to ask the doctor about

    • Pain or discomfort, sleeping problems, falling accidents, fatigue, incontinence, negative side effects of medications, worsening medical condition, etc.
    • Keep track of how often these symptoms happen, how the patient feels, how bad the symptoms get on a pain scale of 1 to 10, and if anything is triggering or causing the symptoms to occur

  • Questions or concerns to ask the doctor before a medical visit or follow-up visit

    • Depending on the patient’s symptoms and medical diagnosis, there is a variety of concerns that can come up regarding their health, treatment, and recovery
    • Start by writing the top 3 concerns and add any additional questions below
    • Organizing these concerns based on high priority to low priority can help the doctor develop a plan to address them and answer any questions that may arise
    • Please do not ignore any concerns that the patient is expressing -- writing down more information and questions is better than writing none at all

  • During each medical visit, write down any useful notes and important information

    • The information given or topics of discussion during a visit may become overwhelming, especially if any bad news or test results are relayed
    • Remember to stay calm and know that your journal is there to help
    • It is important to write down any next steps or action items the doctor recommends. This can range from physical exercises, diet changes, any medical supplies to purchase that may not be covered by insurance, tracking observations regarding the patient’s medical condition, common side effects to watch for, among others.

Always remember that you are not alone in this journey. There are many people out there who care and want the best for you and your loved ones. Take a deep breath and be easy on yourself. You got this! San Pablo Commercial is here with good thoughts, prayers, love, and support.


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