As people get older, they often lose control over various aspects of their life such as physical or cognitive abilities and their independence, which can be scary and stressful. If you are caring for an elderly loved one, establishing a consistent routine can make life more predictable and less stressful. With a routine, everyone knows what to expect, and there’s no need to worry about what’s coming next.
What is a routine?
A routine means doing the same basic activities around the same time every day. This gives structure and a natural flow to the day. It also makes it easier to make sure your older adult has taken medication, eaten regularly, and drank enough water.
For example, part of a regular daily routine would be to wake up at 8 a.m., use the toilet, brush teeth, comb hair, change from pajamas to regular clothes, sit down to eat breakfast, and take their morning medications. When you create a routine for your older adult, base it roughly on their current daily activities. The main difference is to make it more structured and regular.
Benefits of routines
Reduced stress & anxiety
Some seniors become too ill or frail to manage their days and become dependent on others for everything. Not knowing when or if their needs will be met is stressful. A predictable routine can reduce their stress and anxiety because seniors know exactly what will happen, how the activity will be done, and when it will occur. Routine actions will also become part of their body memory. They won’t have to consciously think or worry about what they’re doing.
Increased feelings of safety & security
Having a routine lets seniors predict and plan their day, which makes them feel safe. It’s easier to cope with memory and cognitive issues when everything else is steady and predictable. Even though a senior with dementia might not be aware of the routine or even of time passing, having a routine will make them feel more grounded and secure.
Having a regular daily routine also helps older adults sleep better. A study found that doing the same basic activities like eating, dressing, bathing, and going to bed at the same time every day improves sleep quality.
Simple daily routines can significantly improve your loved one’s quality of life, but you’ll still need to be flexible on days when your older adult isn’t feeling well or if there’s a special event. Sticking to a routine most of the time can reduce stress, increase their feelings of security, and improve sleep.
Helping you through the process
Oasis Senior Advisors can provide you with support and guidance when you feel it’s time for your loved one to move to assisted living. We offer resources for seniors and their families, so you can feel confident in your senior housing selection.