Growing older can be scary, and for many seniors the unknown can be the scariest part. This is especially true if they are becoming more challenged in their abilities physically or even cognitively. Most seniors need structure in their days and begin to feel a bit insecure without it. Therefore, a daily routine they can count on does wonders in providing a sense of safety against the unknowns. A consistent routine also helps the caregiver, so everyone knows what’s coming next.
What Does a Daily Routine Mean?
A solid routine for your senior loved one simply sets in place the same activities at generally the same time each day. Not only does this help the day flow easier, but also ensures that very important things get done without fail, such as medication management, regular nutritious meals, and daily hygiene.
A good example of a morning routine would include waking at a set time, visiting the restroom, brushing teeth, combing hair and having breakfast, at which time the morning medication would be administered, along with coffee and water or juice.
A daily routine for older adults needs to be based on their normal daily activities. As you think through the routine, your goal is to just make it as structured and predictable as possible so they don’t have to wonder what is happening next. This structure will help provide security for your senior loved one.
Here are just a few of the ways seniors benefit from a structured daily routine:
The consistency of a routine allows for better rest and deeper sleep. Many studies have shown that seniors are healthier and better rested when they have a good routine in place. Since many seniors struggle with good sleep, a daily routine is one of the best ways possible to help with that.
Feeling Safe and Secure
Often, senior adults don’t like to be surprised by things that throw off their schedule. A daily routine lets them feel in control of their day. If the day makes sense for them, everything feels more stable. This is especially true if there are issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Daily structure will help these patients feel much more confident.
Less anxiety and stress
Seniors who have perhaps suffered from stroke or other cognitive impairments often feel quite stressed and worried. They may worry about their caregivers and being a burden, or they may worry about how they will just get through the day with a sense of purpose. Helping them to know exactly what is coming next is one of the best ways to restore a sense of dignity and security.
Routines during the day will produce a sort of muscle memory for them and this cuts down greatly on stress and anxiety. Writing the routine down can also be helpful so they can always look ahead and know what’s coming next.
Keep in mind that your senior’s quality of life is greatly improved when a daily routine is put in place. However, don’t feel the need to get so rigid that the routine itself causes any stress. It’s meant to help, not to frustrate. There will be times of illness or special events that will interrupt the routine, so always allow flexibility.
The main thing to remember here is that a daily routine can bring peace and predictability to your senior adult’s life, thereby reducing overall stress. For the caregiver, this is also great because both of you can ease through the day knowing what is next, helping your loved one to be heathier, happier and have better sleep.
For more tips on caring for your aging loved one or for help with care, call us at 530-622-9020 or click here to contact us.