My friend and colleague, Elizabeth B. Miller, founder of HappyHealthyCaregiver.com, cared for her aging parents and mother-in-law. The experience inspired her to write the Just for You: A Daily Self-Care Journal. The journal helps family caregivers integrate caregiving and self-care with their busy lives.
As a Certified Caregiving Consultant, she advises clients to encourage their loved ones to do as much for themselves as possible. While some activities may be easier for the caregiver to perform, having the aging individual do them requires them to physically move, problem-solve, and interact with others – all critical skills to maintain as they age. To help caregivers do this, she created a journal that provides a simple solution to prioritize daily self-care.
It was Elizabeth’s own love of journaling that inspired the book. “I personally love journals and have found writing to be so cathartic. I realized when I am more transparent with my thoughts and feelings, I see myself more clearly.” The Just for You journal is a great start for anyone who is new to journaling, including seniors. Journaling provides many benefits for our aging loved ones. Here are a few:
– Creative Outlet – Journaling boosts creativity. Use colored pencils and markers to doodle, color in the images, and personalize the pages.
– Keepsake – Each of the journaling prompts helps uncover something about the writer including their dreams, values, favorite items, and the important moments in their lives. —These daily writings (in their loved one’s handwriting) will be treasured by future generations.
– Stress Relief – Many mental health counselors encourage keeping a journal because it provides time and space to process and share our thoughts.
– Brain & Motor Skills – The act of physically writing and drawing helps keep our brains sharp and improves hand eye coordination. Writing also requires remembering events, concentrating on a single task, and recalling words. Journaling is great exercise for our brains and our hands.
– Routine – Incorporating a daily journaling habit first thing in the morning or before bed can be an enjoyable daily routine.
A few of the other advantages of journaling is that the materials are inexpensive, mobile and don’t require much storage space. All important factors for seniors who may be considering downsizing or are already living in a small space.
Carol Marak is an aging advocate, Seniorcare.com. She earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.