“Don’t forget – No one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.” –Charles de Lint
As we age, writing in our journals can be even more useful than when we were young. Many of the health benefits are the same, but can be more impactful to a senior writer. Journaling has been shown to improve arthritis, improve lung function, and help alleviate depression, all conditions found more often in seniors. Journaling can also help seniors fight memory loss, as they track their daily routines, thoughts, and events in writing. Reliving past experiences by writing about them keeps long-term memories sharp, and can help give deeper insight into the writer’s opinions, thoughts and values. Also, journaling is an excellent form of stress relief for those with mobility problems. Unlike yoga or tai chi, journaling can be done seated or reclined.
Getting started as a senior can be fun! Choose your medium, be it a book, legal pad, or device, and write as you speak. These words are for your eyes only. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, dotting your I’s or crossing your T’s. Do you want to write about your past experiences? Your to-dos? Your family and loved ones? You can track the daily events or the major life changes, whatever feels best for you to describe. Do you feel anxious or stressed about a past event or a future engagement? Studies show that journaling about the cause of your stress can be as effective as yoga or meditation in managing it.
Are you caring for a senior? Consider encouraging them to keep a journal, or be their scribe and write down their reflections for them. Write in their voice, their words as they come out. Invite them to share more by asking open-ended questions, and avoiding those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. What you are documenting is a unique piece of history. Their story, their life as told by them. What made them, who inspired them, and what mark they made in the world.
Need some writing ideas? Please check our fine print journaling’s Prompt pages.
Are you a senior journaler? Are you a caretaker for the elderly and write for them? Share your experience in the comments!