As we age, we realize how important it is to capture our family history, our thoughts, important family events, vacations, etc. Most of us aren’t very good at doing it and put it off because we think we can always do it later in life when we are less busy. I would venture to guess that most people do not do it, hence the phrase “never put off until tomorrow what you can do today”.
How many mothers created a baby book for their babies and did so earnestly and then somehow they never kept up with it, or did one for their second or third child? Have you ever gone on vacation, and then a few years later try to recall something that happened on the vacation or where it happened, and just can’t recall the specifics? How about recalling important specifics about milestones, your parents, your children, and other significant events in our lives? We are all so busy, those memories eventually fade and become a distant memory.
Thirty five years ago I became an avid genealogist, documenting my family tree and more importantly my family’s history. I enjoyed it immensely and thought it would bring great value to my extended family. Within twenty years I would lose almost all of my close relatives, but I had their family histories documented and I was so glad I did. I then became an avid scrapbooked documenting every move my children in carefully curated scrapbooks made by me.
Fifteen years ago, I was going through a tumultuous time in my life and found solace in journaling. I documented what was occurring in my life, what brought me joy and what upset me, what my hopes and dreams were, and what I was grateful for. Journaling has been cathartic for me, and I continue to journal even today. It has also been very helpful when I need to recall something what or when something happened and I have referred back to my journals often. For example I also journaled daily my experience with the nursing home my Mom was in, and the journal entries came in handy when I filed a complaint against the nursing home.
In 2013, I started using an IOS journaling app called Day One which I use on my iPhone, iPad, and MAC. It is a fantastic app which connects to my calendar, and photos on my phone and has the ability to prompt me to journal my memories complete with photos and videos. Day One offers several purchase options which give you different feature rich options including creating separate journals. For example I have journals for:
- Each year
- My activities as a pet advocate
- Alzheimer’s Journal
Documenting my families life used to be something I enjoyed and was a “hobby” but now that I have Early Onset Alzheimer’s it’s something I feel I must do for myself and for my children. It allows me to document my life, and my feelings and also allows me to go back and read what happened in my past. I love going back and seeing what happened. Day One prompts me daily with posts that happened in previous years! Even better…….the Day One app allows me to print my journals complete with pictures and text for a nominal fee (see the picture at the top of this blog of my recent Australia/New Zealand trip….a bucket list trip)! Wherever we went on this trip, I pulled up the app on my phone and started journaling right on the trip and capturing the important things I wanted to remember and inserting the picture immediately. When I got home, I order the book above for $20. What a great way to capture my life for my kids and other family members.
Having a journaling app in my pocket has been an extremely useful tool in my arsenal against Alzheimer’s. It is helping me capture what’s important to me and feel like I am leaving a legacy as well. As my memory deteriorates my family members can show me these books to help me remember significant events in my life.
Another coping strategy….not today, Alzheimer’s.