One of the best things that residents of Beverly Hills and elsewhere can do for another is to be a caregiver, whether they’re family, friends, or clients.
This type of compassion is appreciated, for whatever reason: perhaps it’s obligation or loyalty to important people in your life because you want to be nice and help others, or it’s simply part of your job or volunteer duties.
The staff at Accredited Home Care believes that offering this type of care is welcomed by people who want to live at home and not have to relocate, and also can be rewarding to people who provide this care.
It can allow people to practice and perhaps learn new caregiving skills, which can be useful for those interested in nursing, medical or therapeutic professions in the future. It can also be a chance to spend quality time with someone who trusts you as long as they need you.
But should you remember and document your experiences? Some medical experts say yes.
Keeping a journal of your caregiving efforts can provide a variety of benefits for yourself and others.
- It can help you create a routine. Though you don’t need to keep a rigid schedule, especially if you’re new to caregiving, jotting down a regular ‘to-do’ list can make sure you take care of certain tasks and some vital ones aren’t neglected. You can write down secondary tasks that you can work on, or questions to ask providers or family members about your client’s background.
- It can help other medical providers. Certainly, nurses or other aides can take basic measurements such as blood pressure or mental acuity when they visit, but someone who is with the client every day can provide a better and thorough picture of their physical, mental and emotional health. With the permission of the client, your regular journal entries can be shared with their provider as well, especially if you keep track of their daily schedule, diet, medications, activities and thought process. This can be useful to track their ups and downs, especially if they have a progressive health condition like Alzheimer’s disease that could reduce their abilities and memories. If they ever change caregivers, such as if they have to relocate or need someone with more advanced medical abilities, your journal will serve as a great foundation.
- It can help the client. As long as they’re aware that you’re “keeping notes,” they may enjoy reading your observations occasionally. They’re trusting you with their health, so they might be interested in seeing how their health has changed over the time you’ve been visiting.
- It can be good to share with their family members. It can reassure them of what care you’re providing or their loved one’s progress. If the person’s health condition leads to hospice and eventual death, their family may appreciate anything that is a chronicle for their final days. Even if you provide just basic, clinical info rather than more a narrative, it still is treasured.
- It can help you. Many mental health experts suggest keeping a journal as a way to deal with stressful and sometimes downright difficult situations. In these cases, your journal can be therapeutic – and for your eyes only! You can describe your perspective of challenges, frustrations and any actions each day that you took to deal with them. It can give you the opportunity to share and work through your feelings especially if you’re not comfortable discussing this topic in front of anyone else. True, every caregiver has good and bad days, and clients are often a factor.
- It can help you feel grateful. Anyone can come up with a big list of moments that aren’t fun, especially after a long, tiring day. But after a while, it just sounds like complaining. Then, if you read the journal in the future, you also may remember those same unpleasant moments and feel bad again. Luckily, the opposite is true: if you try hard to write a few things to feel good about and you’re thankful for in each journal entry, it can go a long way in helping your happiness in the present and in the future. You can even make a ritual of starting each entry with something positive. Often, this positive, grateful attitude can be passed onto the client. He or she also might appreciate the sentiment since there likely are good and bad moments.
- Legal reasons. Something that people don’t want to think about when care is being provided is family conflict. However, family members or other trustees may disagree on a course of care, a living situation or even choices of caregivers. One recourse different groups have is to go to court and fight. If you’re a caregiver, your journal can be a key document to the client, including their daily medication and activities. While you may not need to provide a qualified medical opinion, your journal can be useful to show their daily or changing the state of mind.
Overall, keeping a journal can be a useful way of keeping track of your caregiving activities that can help you and your client.