Daugher with older mother in Carmel, IN

Caregiving: Why Is Routine Important?

A Quality Caregiver Will Prioritize Routine

Predictable schedules reduce stress for everyone, but especially the elderly. Have you heard the expression, “creatures of habit?” A caregiver that provides consistency will help aging adults remember what’s ahead and it brings a sense of comfort to them. If an older adult suffers from dementia, daily routines are that much more important.

Benefits of a Structured Routine

Structured schedules for dining, bathing, and dressing provide feelings of safety for most seniors. They typically sleep better with regular sleep and wake up times, as well.

A caregiver quickly realizes that elderly adults who suffer from dementia are less confused with routines, too. They may not remember what they did earlier that day, yet they seem to subconsciously sense what’s coming next in the day. This helps with behavioral challenges, as well, since regularly scheduled dining prevents extreme hunger and reduces stress and anxiety in dementia patients.

As a caregiver keeps a regular schedule, there’s less planning to do and more of each moment with the person being cared for is appreciated.

Plan a Daily/Weekly Routine

Consider the adult first 

If you are a caregiver, consider the person being cared for when planning meals, daily care or activities. Know the time of day when the person functions best. If the older adult already has a routine that’s been ritualized for years, why try to change it now? If waking up early for toast and coffee is what he or she is accustomed to, just follow this ingrained routine. Keep familiar routines as much as possible.

Flexibility is needed

A daily/weekly routine is vital, but flexibility will be needed, too. There will be occasions when the older person doesn’t feel well and they may need additional rest. On better days, an impromptu activity like a walk might be just right.

Keep variety with activities 

Schedule activities for each week, but offer some variety, too, like exercise, cognitive challenges, spiritual nourishment and social time. Discover hobbies that were pursued in the past. Perhaps there are modifications that can be applied to anything that is now too difficult.

Everything in its place

Rearranging personal belongings in the home will likely cause confusion and frustration for your elderly adult. Caregivers should only move things around as needed for safety.

Perhaps you could benefit from some assistance as a caregiver? Home Care Assistance can provide in-home care to help the older adult with as little or as much as you need. Call Home Care Assistance at (317) 316-0804 and get started.