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The Importance of Daily Routine When Caring for People with Dementia

Caring for an older relative with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at home requires great perseverance and a willingness to learn. Naturally, we want our older loved ones to feel as comfortable as possible, which is why creating a good daily routine is so essential. Helping give them a sense of control over their lives is crucial to providing them with the best quality of life possible before their condition progresses further.

People diagnosed with dementia can sometimes have a difficult time learning new things. The condition damages brain cells and affects their ability to communicate. It’s a daunting prospect to face a situation that worsens one’s physical or cognitive skills while dealing with life’s unpredictabilities.

This is why many caregivers at home look to implementing a specialized routine for people with dementia, which offers the following benefits to both you and your loved one:

Reduced stress and anxiety

Naturally, older people will feel a great sense of stress and anxiety if they don’t have control over their day. It can be disorientating not knowing what’s going to happen next. A great daily routine can help reduce both feelings massively as it gives them a clear roadmap for the day and doesn’t leave them wondering.

Eventually, the daily routine will become almost second nature, improving their quality of life while making at-home elder care more accessible.
Promotes a feeling of security.

Giving your older loved ones more control over their lives will also give them a sense of stability and security. A daily routine builds a safe environment where they don’t have to fear unexpected occurrences that they wouldn’t be able to handle.

It also keeps them safe, as it’s easier to handle memory and cognitive issues when there’s a clear plan to follow.

Improved sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential to the well-being of your loved one. A daily routine is a great way to establish a precise bedtime, which will become routine over time. Getting enough sleep can help improve the older person’s mood and general disposition.

In Canada, insomnia affects up to 40 percent of over 65-year olds. Setting regular bedtimes is an excellent way of assisting them to get rest without using medications or other treatments.

Retained abilities

Implementing a daily routine ensures that your loved one continues doing as many tasks as possible. The more they do these tasks, the higher the chance that those abilities will remain when they go into the later stages of the condition.

What should I consider when writing a daily routine?

When planning a daily routine, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What are their likes and dislikes?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What activities bring them the most comfort?
  • How did they previously structure their day?
  • What time of day do they function best?
  • Do they have a regular bedtime and wake-up time?

Finding answers to these questions will enable you to create a daily routine suitable for your loved ones and maintain as much joy in their everyday life as possible. Giving care can be taxing, so you should find activities that you both can enjoy. For example, you might both like taking walks or playing board games.

It would help if you also made an effort to let them assist them around the house. Even if they don’t do the tasks perfectly, you should praise their actions and make them feel valued.

Activities will generally revolve around the following areas:

  • Household chores
  • Personal care
  • Intellectual activities (such as puzzles, music, or reading)
  • Social activities
  • Spiritual activities
  • Physical activities (walking or light gardening)
  • Creative tasks (painting, drawing, music, arts and crafts)

Please take into consideration the routine they had before they received their diagnosis. Did the older adult already do or enjoy one of these tasks? Perhaps they play cards on Wednesdays or read a book once a week? You should also ensure that there is a good balance of activities. Once you’ve chosen some, which should be selected based on the answers given to the questions above, you can start writing their daily routine plan.

If you’re struggling with choosing activities and what’s best for your loved one, contact a specialist who will be able to guide you through your particular situation.

It’s essential to be flexible with dementia routines

Once you start helping your loved ones through their daily routine, pay attention to what’s working and what isn’t. For example, take note of certain activities that bring a positive reaction or parts of the routine that cause anxiety or stress.

Identifying these issues in elder care is essential to writing a plan that makes your loved one feel as comfortable as possible. It’s also important to remember that their capabilities will become more limited as the condition worsens, so you must adjust their routine accordingly. On the other hand, you should identify tasks that they are good at and implement those into the routine.

In addition, going on a trip is better if the location is somewhere your loved one is familiar with. Ideally, it’s somewhere they’ve visited regularly. Going to a new place with many people can be hard to process and cause feelings of anxiety and stress.
When should I consider specialized care for someone with dementia?

There might come a time when the person’s condition worsens to a point where you need to consider getting specialized care. This is usually when their health and safety become more engendered, such as if they start wandering away, losing physical mobility, or falling repeatedly. They might also begin to grow frustrated and become aggressive. One of the positives is that it’s easier to transition someone with a set daily routine into specialized care.

Help with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton

Our team at CareHop is ready to step in when you need us. We provide professional in-home Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care on a live-in or on-demand basis. Our care services are designed to help your loved ones thrive while bringing joy and fulfillment into their lives and peace of mind to your family.

Please feel free to contact our team anytime for more information about our programs that focus solely on your family’s needs.

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop. He started the business inspired by his Grandmother to look at ageing as a happy experience to bring sunshine into the homes of others.

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