Journaling is gaining popularity, for many different reasons. Far from the “Dear Diary” days of our adolescence, it’s so much more than just a method to safely share our secrets and dreams. Senior care journaling is a wonderful way to alleviate stress, for example. It allows for creative expression through writing, drawing, even just doodling to inspire ideas. But perhaps it is most advantageous as a resource for improved dementia care at home.
Dementia and its evolving phases can be extremely challenging for family caregivers to navigate. It may feel as though just when you’ve mastered a method to help with one difficult situation, another emerges in its place. Journaling makes it easy for you to track:
- The time a challenge occurs
- The events and environment surrounding that challenge
- What helped (and what did not)
- Any potential triggers, including fatigue, pain or discomfort, hunger, etc.
- And more
It might appear intimidating to think about adding daily journaling to your already busy day. Still, keeping it simple is just as useful as extended, drawn-out details. Stick to the essentials, including information such as:
- Everyday signs and symptoms. Is the individual disoriented? Agitated? Calm? Wandering? Aggressive? Jotting down these details each day lets you observe if there’s a pattern, if the challenges are getting worse, and what the primary cause could be.
- What was occurring at the time? Is the senior getting upset right before lunchtime every day? At bedtime? Whenever a visitor drops by? This information will help you develop a plan to preempt the behavior. Perhaps lunch needs to be served an hour earlier, or a relaxing nighttime routine may need to be established.
- Eating habits. How much and what types of foods is the older adult eating? Are they drinking enough to stay hydrated? If serving sizes are too big for the senior to eat at one sitting, would it help to provide 6 smaller meals throughout the day rather than 3 larger ones?
- Bathroom needs. If incontinence is not yet a problem, it’s likely that it will be at some time. Sticking with a consistent routine of using the restroom often helps, and tracking incontinence issues makes it easier to identify the best schedule.
- Safety issues. Observe any mishaps that take place in order to prevent an accident. Because the goal is always to encourage independence in addition to safety, it can be a fine line to walk. The notes you take will help guide you in knowing when it is time to safely lock certain items away.
- The effectiveness of medications. Watch for symptom changes as meds are administered to identify if any possible negative effects are being experienced. Having notes to share with the doctor about what you’re witnessing and the details surrounding medications that may be involved will likely be invaluable.
- Healthcare provider’s orders. At medical appointments, keep your journal handy for documenting suggestions and next steps.
Home With You Senior Care’s experts in Manchester, MD elder care are happy to assist with keeping a journal to track these details and much more. Give us a call at 410-756-0959 to request your complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about how our skilled dementia care can improve life for a senior you love. Visit our Locations Served page to view a full list of the communities we serve.