When people are young, they often hate routines. They want excitement and spontaneity. However, as people age, they thrive less on excitement and more on a regular system. This is even truer of seniors; routines have many benefits for them.
Routines Provide Safety
As people age, they often get forgetful. It may not even be caused by any disease such as dementia, just a part of the natural process of aging. With this forgetfulness lies a real danger to seniors: they can do things or forget to do things that could put their health or life at risk.
For instance, many seniors forget to take their medicine. However, having a routine can help them remember that they are supposed to take their morning pills with breakfast. If they do things the same way every morning, they will not have to work to remember what comes next or answer someone if they took their medicine or not.
Another example of how a routine can provide safety is that others will know if something is wrong. Does your loved one go to the senior center every Monday for lunch? If she’s missing one day, someone will notice.
Routine Provides Security
Routines make seniors feel secure – As they age and get forgetful, they may be afraid to try new things. However, a stable routine that has been in place for some time will make them feel more secure in their abilities.
Routines are especially important for people in the beginning stages of any type of Dementia. It gets harder for them to remember things, especially new things, but routines are often ingrained into their memory without conscious thought.
Routines also keep seniors calm, particularly those with Alzheimer’s. They recognize things that they have done all of their life longer than new items added to their routines. That is why they remember how to eat and get dressed longer than where they put something yesterday.
Often when faced with something new, they become fearful and can act out by becoming angry or uncooperative. However, if the function is part of their routine, they respond quietly and calmly.
Routines for the Caregiver
Not only it is important for the senior to establish routines, but it is essential that any caregiver follows a routine, too. Most homecare services providers stress that it is important that their caregivers will have a specific day to do certain tasks in a senior’s home. They may help with a shower on Monday, do the laundry on Tuesday, and go shopping on Wednesday. While remembering days becomes more difficult for seniors, these activities will help them. They may not remember that it is Monday, but they know its shower day.
This also allows the senior to know what to expect when the caregiver comes to their home. If a caregiver takes the time to know how a senior likes their meals prepared and what food they like to eat, it takes away much of the stress of having a stranger in their home. Same Advices apply to situations when a family caregiver helps out.
Other ways to keep with the senior’s routine includes:
- Put dishes back in the same cabinets
- Place personal toiletries back on the counter or in a cabinet so the senior doesn’t have to search for them
- Plan doctor’s appointments for the same time of day if possible so the senior will have an easier time remembering to get ready for it
- Take a walk on the same time of day
- Go to the same restaurants so they will know where things are located and what to order
Allow Flexibility into Your Routine
While establishing a routine is necessary with seniors, do not become too restrictive with the routines. Many seniors can have issues with this and feel a loss of control if they have no say about changes.
The best routine is one that is established with the senior in mind, but allows flexibility for changes when needed. This will comfort seniors without constricting them and help them maintain some control over their life.
Carefect Homecare Services provides many services that can assist your loved ones and help them maintain their day to day routines. Our caregivers know the importance of routines in a senior’s life and will help to maintain them. We provide personal care and housekeeping assistance, as well as respite care or accompanying them to doctor’s appointments or other social activities. Our caregivers provide professional, caring support so you don’t have to worry about your loved one when you’re not with them.