Journaling for Caregivers

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Ashland Public Library
Stockwell Meeting Room

Event Details

If you or someone you know is a caregiver, whether unpaid or as a career caregiver, this workshop is a free and accessible way to add another invaluable tool to your caregiving kit. Led by three experienced local professionals, even the most reluctant and inexperienced writers will learn how journaling can provide much needed respite and long-term well being.

At one point in most people’s lives, they are responsible for the wellbeing of another, whether as a paid job or, more likely, as a friend or family member.  An estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in 2014, according to the Caregiving in the United States 2015 report, prepared by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.

While caring for others is rewarding and often brings joy, the tolls of caregiving can have a negative impact financially and on mental, emotional, and physical health. Caregivers may also have a career and everyday obligations that demand their attention in addition to providing care, which can intensify the strain. Having an outlet to express the personal experience of caregiving can maximize caregiver resilience.

Daily journaling and list-making are tools – small yet effective, useful tools – available to most everyone to gain and maintain caregiver resilience.  Journaling is beneficial for gaining insight into one’s experiences, for reflecting on expectations, for caring for one’s self, for promoting mental health, and for decreasing stress.  By reviewing journal entries written in the past, the caregiver may realize that they dealt with a difficult situation well, learn from experiences, and actually be able to celebrate what they have been able to accomplish. From a practical perspective, journaling is low cost, does not require a lot of time, and can be completed whenever a spare moment arises. Journal entries need not be lengthy to be effective – even one-word entries can provide insight and relief.

For all these reasons, Ashland Public Library is proud to host a Journaling for Caregivers workshop on Monday, April 17 at 1:00 p.m., which is presented by Dr. JoAnn Shade, Dr. Judy McLaughlin, and Dr. Diana Spore. This workshop is also made possible from partnerships with the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County and the Older Adult Behavioral Health Coalition of Ashland County and support from the Friends of the Ashland Public Library. 

Participants will learn about the process of writing with a focus on daily journaling, and engage in a series of practical writing exercises. The workshop facilitators will describe other forms of creative expressions that can incorporated into the caregiver’s “respite, take-care-of-me” time. Participants will be provided with useful information and resources that will help them stay well while providing quality of care.  This is also an opportunity for caregivers to meet others facing similar challenges and share their stories.

Dr. JoAnn Streeter Shade is well-known in Ashland as a weekly columnist for the Ashland Times-Gazette, as well as a former, long-serving Salvation Army Officer. She has also written numerous books on topics such as spiritual growth, sexual abuse, marriage, biblical narrative, and the joy of living in Ashland and has ministered in a variety of settings for more than 35 years. She is married to Larry, is the mother of three adult sons, Greg, Drew and Dan, and Lauren and Becky, beloved daughters-in-law, and is Nana to the lovely Madelyn Simone and the delightful Elizabeth Holiday. With a M.A. in pastoral counseling and a D.Min. in the Women in Prophetic Leadership track from Ashland Theological Seminary, she combines her academic training with a writer’s eye, a pastor’s heart and a grandmother’s joy. 

Dr. Judy McLaughlin says her academic training and experience as a mental health professional and educator fortified her caregiving skills, but her family’s journey as the “O’Mama Care” team gave witness to what love can do together. It was not always easy, but it did allow her family to mine the treasures of the closing days of their mother’s nearly 93 years of life. As someone who has enjoyed writing since she was a teenager, Dr. Judy McLaughlin believes that sitting with others in the waiting room of heaven is being on holy ground. 

Dr. Diana Spore received her MGS in Gerontological Studies from Miami University, and her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies, with a concentration in Aging, from Penn State. She completed postdoctoral training at Brown University.  Her education, research, and training focused on long-term care, mental health and aging, psychotropic drug use among seniors, and caregiving.  She is a caregiver who uses journaling and creative writing in her daily life: to gain insight; to reflect on caregiving experiences; to retain a sense of humor and balanced perspective about life challenges; and to reduce stress.

For more information, contact 419-289-8188, visit, or stop by the service desk .

Event Type(s): ADULT PROGRAM
Age Group(s): ADULT

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