Journaling can be a great practice for people of all ages, and it has particular benefits for seniors. Writing regularly puts your mind to work in a number of important ways, which can help you support ongoing cognitive function. Capturing your memories in writing helps you reflect on them in the future and share them with others.
And seniors who are interested in that last aspect — the sharing with others — might want to take a journaling habit to the next level and start their own blog.
A blog is a website that's made up of many separate posts. The posts are like individual journal entries that people can read.
A blog can be a public journal where you simply record your thoughts and what's going on around you for others to read. Or it can be a themed site where you write only about certain things. For example, you might write posts only when you go to events or attractions, or you could keep a blog about your quilting or woodworking hobby.
There aren't really rules when it comes to blogging, and older adults can try different things to see what they most enjoy sharing. It is, however, a good idea to remember that anyone online can read your blog, so only share what you're comfortable with the entire world knowing about.
• A computer or tablet so you can set up your blog and type/publish your posts. Residents at Autumn View Gardens in Ellisville can use the assisted living community's computer center if they don't have their own devices.
• An internet connection.
• An account with a blog platform or your own domain name and hosting. If you don't want to pay for a domain name or hosting, the easiest option is to sign up for an account with a blogging platform. Some options include:
Setting up a blog is fairly easy. If you're already used to using the internet, communicating on social media sites and reading other people's blogs, you may find it simple. If you're newer to the internet and confused on the process, consider reaching out for help from loved ones or the staff at the assisted living community if you're a resident.
Here's a basic guide to starting your blog:
Choose a platform. Start with the suggestions above and browse the platform. Read other people's blogs and get a feel for how people communicate and use the platform. You can also Google free blogging platforms to find other options and do the same thing. Choose a platform that you're comfortable with.
Set up an account. Sign up for a free account with the platform you choose. You'll need an email address in most cases to do that. You'll also need to create a username. Decide whether you want to remain anonymous or go by your real name when blogging, and choose your username accordingly.
Choose a name for your blog. It can be as simple and straightforward as "Tom's Thoughts" or "Lisa's Blog." But you can also get as creative as you want. The name you pick isn't set in stone, either. You can change it any time you want, so pick something basic as you're setting up your blog and don't let the name get in the way of starting your new online adventure.
Write and publish your first post. Most blogging platforms have some prompts to help you through writing your first post. If those don't occur automatically as you're setting up your blog, look for a help or "?" button and search the help articles for information on publishing your first post. Then, write the post and get it out there. Don't worry about making everything perfect or winning a Pulitzer. Instead, concentrate on having fun and just being you.
Keep writing and publishing posts. There are no rules for when and how you have to publish. If you want to gain an audience, it's a good idea to be consistent so they can count on hearing from you at certain times. For example, if you post once a week on Tuesdays, do try to keep that schedule. But if you're just posting for fun and don't have any goals with regard to an audience, post when and how you like.
If you're interested in starting a blog as a senior but aren't sure where to start, consider reading the blogs of others for inspiration. Ask your friends if they have a blog or Google blogs on topics of interest to you and become a regular reader of a few. You might even comment on other people's blogs before and after you start your own to build a community of online blogging friends.