For older adults, a lack of structure can lead to a fear of the unknown. Seniors may also feel anxious due to changes in independence or physical or cognitive abilities. People managing Alzheimer’s, dementia, or a chronic health condition may feel especially anxious facing the day. With these conditions, it’s not uncommon for loved ones to worry about who will help them get dressed, fix their meals, assist with personal care needs, and perform a variety of other daily activities.
Setting up a daily routine for seniors can help alleviate some of the stress and worry about the day and even make the day more enjoyable. Additionally, a daily routine makes the day more predictable and easier to remember timed tasks, such as taking medications, eating meals, and drinking water. There are many benefits of having daily structure for both caregivers and older loved ones.
Benefits of a Daily Routine for Seniors:
- Reducing stress – Having a daily schedule prepares seniors for what comes next. It can be reassuring to know the pattern of the day and to have a predictable routine, allowing seniors to feel confident that their needs will be met.
- Reducing surprise – Surprises can be unsettling for anyone. When older adults know the daily schedule, they can better predict and plan for the day. Knowing what will happen and not worrying about something unexpected coming up helps older adults feel confident and secure.
- Reduce arguments and power struggles – A daily routine makes it easier to get things done without arguing about what to do next or making sure that important tasks, such as taking medications, are completed on time. A routine can also help encourage cooperation because a senior loved one is not feeling forced to do something unexpected.
- Caregiver breaks – With a daily routine in place, family caregivers can plan time for their own self care needs.
- Improve sleep – Everyone can benefit from having a set bedtime and waking time each day. Studies even show that having a daily routine can even improve the quality of sleep.
- Quality time together – Instead of worrying about what to do each day, family members can focus on enjoying activities with each other, such as going out to lunch, playing games, going for a walk, or engaging in a lovely conversation.
To plan a daily routine for seniors, first think about the essentials—meals, taking medications, being active, and personal care. Then add in the activities the senior enjoys doing independently, with a caregiver, or with others. Brainstorm together to think about any other daily tasks that are important to include, and think about the best times of day for these tasks to occur. Keep some flexibility for appointments and special events as well. A routine doesn’t have to be completely rigid, but be sure and alert the senior to these additions so they don’t come as a surprise.
Sample Daily Routine:
- Wake up at a set time each morning.
- Complete personal care tasks such as using the restroom, brushing teeth, and dressing for the day.
- Eat breakfast, and take morning medications.
- Do something active like taking a walk or practicing yoga.
- Enjoy a fun activity, such as working on a puzzle, reading a book, doing a craft, or playing a game.
- Eat a healthy lunch.
- Plan an outing, such as running an errand, going to the library, or visiting with friends.
- Relax with some quiet time or a short nap in the early afternoon.
- Make and eat dinner, and clean up for the day.
- Complete personal care tasks to prepare for bed, including taking evening medications.
- Go to bed at a set time each night.
Senior HomeCare of Tucson can help create a personalized care plan and daily schedule to help older adults live their best days, while improving their connection with family members. Our caregivers provide a wide variety of home care services including companionship, personal care, meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation, and much more. To learn more about our solutions for in-home care in Tucson and the surrounding areas, contact us online or by phone at 520-355-4787.