Caring for Seniors of All Faiths


How Keeping a Dementia Journal Can Make Caregiving Easier

Keeping a dementia journal helps caregivers track symptoms, identify patterns, and manage behaviors more effectively and with greater confidence.

Putting pen to paper is powerful; it forces us to reflect on our day and the events in it that may seem mundane but could actually be profound. Writing helps you see these events from a new perspective. For caregivers, keeping a dementia journal can provide important perspective that not only helps you spot behavior triggers and patters, but can make caregiving easier.

Start off the new year by adding journaling to your daily routine. By keeping track of symptoms associated with dementia, family caregivers can spot patterns and other clues that can help them manage and anticipate difficult behaviors. Additionally, this information can be shared with doctors and other family members.

What Should I Track in a Dementia Journal?

Along with your own thoughts and feelings related to your caregiving journey, it is important to track the following when keeping a dementia journal:

  • Symptoms: Keeping track of new and emerging dementia symptoms can help you better see how the disease is progressing in a loved one. Note any issues with confusion, new or existing behaviors, loss of or change in abilities, and any other symptoms that you notice. Reflecting on these notes allows you to gain new insight into a loved one’s care needs. For instance, your notes might indicate that Mom can no longer remember to turn off the stove, so a change in meal planning and prep might be needed.
  • Challenging behaviors and possible triggers: Anxiety, anger, and even hallucinations are common among people with dementia. These behaviors can be extremely stressful for caregivers, especially when they seem to come on at random times. However, keeping track of the behaviors can help you notice patterns and potential triggers. Along with the behavior, note the environment — where the person was, what was happening, time of day, etc. You might notice that Mom tends to get agitated routinely close to lunchtime or whenever she feels hungry. This can help you plan mealtimes better or ensure you have snacks on hand during outings.
  • Medications and side effects: If a loved one is taking any medications, it is important to keep track of any side effects so that you can share them with the physician. Be aware of what each drug is supposed to do as well so you can note if it is effective or if another medication could be more helpful.
  • Safety concerns: Safety in and around the home can become a major issue for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Pay close attention and note any issues a loved one has with using appliances, getting up and down the stairs, handling sharp objects such as knives, or with everyday household products like cleaners. Any problems with these items can indication a need for safety modifications in the home or perhaps for an in-home caregiver who can better monitor or help with daily activities.
  • Diet and nutrition: Eating a healthy diet is vital as a person ages, and dementia can cause changes in a person’s eating habits. If you have concerns about a loved one’s diet, keep a log of what they eat, what foods they like or dislike, and when they feel more interested in food. This can help you determine the best times of day to offer food and what to serve. Keeping track of food can also help you either validate or ease concerns about how much a loved one is eating. If you have a feeling they’re not eating enough, but your notes show they are eating three nutritious meals a day along with snacks, you can feel more confident about their overall nutritional intake.
  • Any information to share with the doctor: Another great benefit of keeping a dementia journal is that you can have a log of important information to share at medical appointments. Whenever you have concerns that you’d like to bring up with the doctor, it is crucial to note the following:
    • What is happening
    • How often it happens
    • How severe it is
    • If there seems to be any trigger

Keeping a dementia journal can also clue you into the fact that a loved one’s care needs are advancing and in-home care may be needed. At Jewish Family Home Care, a trusted provider of dementia care and home care in Tamarac and the surrounding areas, our in-home caregivers are here to help ensure that people with dementia get the care and attention they need to remain safe and happy at home. We are also happy to provide respite care for family caregivers so they can care for themselves as well. If you have a loved one who could benefit from our in-home memory care in Tamarac, FL or the nearby areas, give us a call today at 954-908-5677.