Lots of people find that routines are a helpful way to ensure that they get to everything they want to do. But for someone with dementia, routines could be incredibly grounding and help with feelings of security. Your senior might be needing a routine, especially if she’s exhibiting more challenging behaviors than she has in the past.
Start with a General Plan for the Day
Map out how your senior’s day runs now and how you ideally would like it to go. Routines work for people with dementia because they offer a support structure that makes them feel comfortable and that meets their needs. Try taking notes for a few days about what tends to happen for your elderly family member. From there you can start putting in your specifics.
Include Major Activities for Each Day
Think about the major activities that your senior needs to have in each day. These would be things like bathing, getting dressed, eating, and whatever she enjoys doing for fun. Get an idea how long it takes to do each of these things so that when you start plugging them into her daily routine you leave enough time for all of them. You might start to discover that too much is packed into each day for your elderly family member and that can contribute to agitation and challenging behaviors.
Timing Matters for People with Dementia
When your senior does certain things they may matter a lot more than you or she realizes. She may have certain times of day when more mentally challenging activities are easier for her. Or she may find that she’s especially tired at specific times. Making note of these little details can help you to really determine when it’s best for her to engage in certain activities. If she tends to be more restless in the early afternoon, a short walk might be appropriate then.
Try Out the Routines and Tweak Them as Needed
The final step is to put the routines to work. It’s only when you actually try them out that you know for sure whether the routines you’ve developed are going to truly help or not. It can help if you work with home care providers to determine the best ways to adjust those routines. Home care providers can recommend options that might help your senior to get the most out of every single day.
Routines can take a little while to be fully effective, but once you’ve got the right one in place you might be surprised at how well your senior’s days run. You’ll be less likely to run into some of the issues that might be a problem now.