Keep a Diary


Registered User
Jan 1, 2007
Newcastle upon Tyne
Hi everyone,
I expect a lot of you do this already, but when things started to get really serious with my Dad I began to keep a diary of everything he did. I typed it onto my PC - and now I type up after every visit.
Like most people I had terrible guilt feelings when my Dad first had to go into a home before Christmas - thinking that there must have been some alternative, and my mind played tricks on me as I remembered him just as someone with a few memory problems.
I have just re-read my dairy going back to October, and it is has really hit me that the behaviour he is displaying now was really there then too - the wandering, the incontinence, the talking incoherently to an empty chair, the not knowing who I was.
Anyway, just thought this might be a useful tip for anyone whose relatives are starting to show alarming signs - if you write everything down you might not feel so guilty once the time comes for permanent care.


Registered User
Feb 20, 2008
West Yorkshire
Hi Carolyn
Its such a good idea. I wished I had done this year's ago. I suppose our memory can play tricks on us sometimes.Its practical too, a good way of keeping a check on things. Its also very therapeutic. Sometimes the feelings we go through as carers watching the decline can be just too much to burden other people with, who haven't shared a similar experience. Its good to get it out! A piece of paper( or PC) can't react can it?
take care


Registered User
Aug 21, 2007
Hi Carolyn

I also wished I'd kept a diary particularly as I'm seriously questioning my decision to put my Dad into permanent care.

I'm still going to make a list of the things I remember we had to cope with though because I need to keep his appointment with the memory clinic and sure as fate Dad will seem incredibly normal at that particular point in time. He loves to get out on 'adventures' and will be most entertained by the whole experience!

AJay xxx


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Carolyn
I began to keep a diary of everything he did. I typed it onto my PC - and now I type up after every visit.
yes, almost essential, in my opinion. I'm on A4 page 410 of mine at present.... only a few lines per day with my Jan, but it does cover over 16 years so far :eek:

A diary is an essential aide memoire for when we explain to the medical folk how things really are, otherwise time fades our remembrance of how our loved one was last month, compared with this month, or last year, compared with last year.

Writing it also encourages us to take more notice of things when we are with them.

I also found it helped me being able sometimes to view this path as an observer - while still being hands-on in caring of course.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Hi Carylon, please take note of Brucie's comments
I also found it helped me being able sometimes to view this path as an observer - while still being hands-on in caring of course.

Reality check needed sometimes.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
I started keeping a diary in 2004, when I first became concerned that my husband`s changes in behaviour were due to more than just ageing.

When I first went to the GP to raise my concerns, I believe he took me seriously from day one, becuse of the diary.

My husband has a check up with his consultant every four months. A week before the appointment, I print out the latest seven days of the diary and send it to the doctor.

It saves talking in front of my husband, of incidents he would deny, as they would have been long forgotten, and gives the doctor a very detailed picture.

It is appreciated.


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi Carylon
all good advice .
Do keep a diary and make sure that every phone call,every conversation is recorded when dealing with officialdom.
You never know what you may need in the future.


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Hi Carolyn,

I keep a diary for both my parents as mum went into respite before christmas and is still there and my father has quite a lot of health problems of his own. It does help when medical appointments come up and they ask how have things been ? I recently went to an appointment with my father (who was mums carer) and because he is under three different hospitals one does not know what the other is doing half of the time so I was able to enlighten the dr as to what medication he was on, the dr actually said it was a good job I was there as he was going to put him on some medication and then send him for blood tests to see the reaction, in fact he had been on that medication for three months !

I think the point Grannie G made about printing the last weeks events before an appointment is a very good one.

Like you said many of us do keep diaries but
iIt is a good idea to bring it up again for new members who may not have thought of it though Carolyn.



Registered User
Jun 29, 2007
North Wales
Must admit that I haven't kept a diary but wish that I had.

So, thank you for the prompt, will try to make a start right now.

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hugely important advice which can hardly be reinforced enough ....... I had started to 'make a few notes' when I was nervous about some of mum's 'behaviour' some years back ......

Since then (and thanks to advice here I first remember from Brucie) I have kept a fairly regular and more structured 'journal' ... it serves a therapeutic purpose for myself (Did I really witness that???? etc ) .... a fabulous 'aide-memoire' when I need to compile notes prior to consultations ....... and a very important point Norman has raised ...... I even now log mum's spending patterns (irrational or not!!!!! - which any 'officialdom' can inspect alongside EPA accounts) ...... for the sake of maybe a few minutes each day - I believe this 'journal' is of great benefit ..... to mum first all so that I can give a clear picture to anyone who might ask or need to know ..... and indeed to help me in both 'administrative' and emotional senses in managing her care ......

A good prompt, thanks Carolyn .... I'm not sufficiently calm enough yet to write up today's entry!!!!!!;):)

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Norman said:
make sure that every phone call,every conversation is recorded when dealing with officialdom.
I echo Norman and Karen.

I kept scant notes about visits to the GP, medication prescribed, phone calls etc but really wish I had done more.


Registered User
Oct 28, 2005
Cambridgeshire UK

I also have kept a diary, started in 2002 when I first thought my husband was behaving a little oddly. He's in a care home, been there for one year on Friday and we've had several different stages, crying, sitting down and sleeping most of the day,fits, walking about all the time and for the past 3 weeks he's been singing, making up his own words and adding a bit of made up French too, seranading the carers which is highly amusing so I took my digital camera and have five short videos of him which I will put on to a disc and the family can all have a copy as his daughters are 'too busy' to come and see him and I hope they might appreciate these videos in times to come. The manager and staff were quite happy for me to do them and some of the staff are on the videos. I did actually put them on You Tube for friends to see who live too far away to come and visit him.