While journaling is enjoyed by people of all ages, it can be a particularly beneficial activity for seniors. Regardless of what subjects are addressed, or even the quality of writing, journaling can contribute significantly to mental and emotional health.
The good news is that it’s not difficult to get started with this activity. All you or your loved one need are a notebook, writing utensil and dedication to jotting down at least a few sentences on a regular basis.
Health Benefits of Journaling for Seniors
Journaling can be a fun way to pass the time, but it also produces positive effects that enhance your wellbeing and quality of life. Here are some of the benefits of journaling as a senior:
Journaling is an effective tool for preserving memories. If you want to remember a certain event, activity or emotion, you can write about it and then reference the journal entry later on. The same goes for when you want to share information or a story with a loved one who you won’t see or talk to for a while. Some seniors even choose to keep a dedicated daily memory journal to help them keep track of important information, upcoming appointments and everyday occurrences. However, journaling can also help improve your recall and keep your mind sharp when you challenge yourself to write about events that took place in the past. Think back on memories that left an impression on you and try to capture whatever details you can remember. If you fill a journal with stories from your past, it would even become a valuable keepsake for your children or grandchildren.
Providing Stress Relief
In the course of your daily life, you have both positive and negative experiences. During your senior years, you also tend to face big transitions that evoke a myriad of feelings. Journaling can help you process your thoughts and emotions in a healthy manner. Once you’ve transferred them to your journal, your mind and body are generally able to relax and focus on other things. You can also sort through and organize your thoughts better when they live on paper, enabling you to more easily apply your critical reasoning skills.
Creating a Routine
Many older adults also benefit from maintaining a consistent routine, whether you are living at home or in a senior community in Seattle. It can help them sleep better and ward off symptoms of loneliness and depression. Exercise and eating nutritious meals are important parts of that routine, but journaling can be as well. It can be an especially nice and relaxing activity to integrate into your nighttime routine before bed, as the activity enables you to write down whatever is on your mind so there’s less chance it will keep you awake.
Enhancing Cognitive Skills and Creativity
Finally, journaling keeps your mind active and engaged, strengthening your cognitive abilities. You’ll find yourself mentally searching your vocabulary, figuring out the right words to explain what you’re experiencing internally and externally, and that fosters creativity. Your journal can also be a place to experiment with fiction and simply write down funny or interesting bits from your imagination.
Typing vs. Writing: Which is Better?
Many of the benefits of writing consistently are prevalent, whether you keep a journal on your phone, laptop or tablet or you use a notebook or journal. Either way, you’ll still be sharpening your memory, relieving stress, warding off symptoms of isolation and depression, and documenting important information and events.
One additional benefit of writing by hand is that it can help improve your fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination during a time in your life when these areas may be declining.
On the other hand, using a computer or other electronic device for preserving your daily journal entries allows you to become more familiar and comfortable with technology.
Best Journal Topics for Seniors
So, you know journaling would be advantageous for you or your loved one, but what is there to write about? The subjects you cover don’t matter as much as the consistency of the practice itself, but having a couple ideas can help you get started and compel you to write every day. Here are four subject areas and a few corresponding prompts to consider:
1. Daily Routine
- What was the best or happiest part of your day?
- Did anything unusual happen today?
- Did you hear about anything important, including local and national news events?
- What was the most meaningful thing someone said to you today?
2. Memories and Wisdom
- What is one piece of advice you would give yourself 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Five years ago?
- Make up an inspirational phrase or motivational quote based on what you’ve experienced and learned over the years.
- Pick a strong memory from your childhood or young adulthood—whether happy, sad, moving, scary or completely mundane—and write it down, including as many small details as possible.
- Consider your biggest fears and joys from years ago, as well as those that characterize your today. How have you changed or grown?
3. Fun and Random
- Write down a funny, interesting or recurring dream you’ve had recently.
- Pick a subject you’d like to learn about—such as botany, sports, astrology or a specific period of history—and write down anything new you’ve learned during the day or week about your chosen topic.
- What are the things you want to eventually do during your lifetime? Also, share about them when they happen.
- What is your favorite new movie or song from the past month or year?
Staying Engaging as a Senior in Seattle
Journaling can be an effective and valuable tool for preserving your memories, processing your thoughts and keeping your mind engaged. Along with writing each day, there are other activities that can boost your mental and physical health during your senior years. At Daystar Retirement Village, we don’t just offer comfortable, convenient senior housing in Seattle but also a wide variety of amenities and activities to enhance the long-term quality of life for you or your loved one.