What is a daily routine?
The same activities performed around the same time each day is a routine. This is an inherent practice for most people. It starts at a young age when we begin school at just five years old. We wake up at the same time, do the same thing for most of the day, come home, eat, do homework or enjoy family time, do extracurricular activities, and then begin the bedtime routine. From the time we are newborns, parents teach us a routine. We sleep and eat at certain times. Having a routine teaches consistency and allows our bodies to adjust to the demands of everyday life. Our body knows which day and time we need to expend more energy. Our body knows when to count on receiving fuel for more energy. And our body knows when it is time to sleep and wake up.
What should be included in the routine?
What is part of your routine should be based on your normal daily activities. Some seniors like to exercise in the mornings while others enjoy taking a bath. Whatever is important to them that happens every day or every week and can be structured into a routine is what should be included. Of course, important things such as taking medication, doctor or therapy appointments need to be able to fit into the schedule. Those tasks will seem more normal and less of a burden if they are planned, and the individual does not feel they have to sacrifice other important activities to do them. To be honest, humans don’t change much. Toddlers don’t like bedtime because they fear missing out on other fun things. Seniors do not like feeling physically or cognitively limited because they also do not want to miss out. Because of this, it is important to ensure fun activities are regularly scheduled. A great way to help with depression, stress, and anxiety in seniors is to make them feel like they are still a part of society because they are! They should have the freedom to go out to events, watch their favorite movies or play their favorite games just as much as the next person.
Why is a routine important?
For seniors especially, having a routine can restore dignity and independence because they know what is coming next and don’t have to rely on someone else to tell them what they are doing and when to do it. For seniors who live alone, the consistency can help them remember to take medications and they will be less likely to forget other important self-care if done routinely. People of all ages have a habitual morning routine. Wake up, use the restroom, brush your teeth, take a shower, make your bed, comb your hair, eat breakfast. The list goes on. Whatever your routine is, this shouldn’t change as we age. Having a routine can reduce the stress and anxiety that is prevalent in seniors. A schedule can also improve sleeping patterns and quality of sleep.
Why does a routine matter if my loved one suffers from memory loss?
Sundowning is a common condition among the population that suffers from a decline in cognitive function. Sundowning is when the individual gets upset, agitated, confused, and defiant as the sun goes down and night begins. This can have a huge impact on sleep. Having a routine can increase the ease of sleep and quality of sleep by training the body and mind when it is time for bed, and not napping excessively during the daytime hours. Although seniors who suffer from memory loss may not remember what they are doing and when they will recognize the lack of disruption in their day. They will have feelings of peace and reduced stress. Stress can trigger episodes of anger in those who have dementia, so having a routine that reduces stress and increases familiarity can improve the quality of life for the individual and the caregiver.
What does a routine look like in a facility?
Even if your loved one does not yet suffer from dementia, having a routine makes them feel safe and stable. Predictability is key. Likely they have worked and had a consistent schedule for most of their lives and retirement and aging should not change that. Some older adults have become too ill to manage their day. Many of them end up in some kind of facility. If this is the case, it is imperative that the facility offer them this kind of stable environment so that your loved one can thrive. In a facility, it is as important for the caregivers as it is for the residents to know what the flow of the day will be like. Low turnover of employees is necessary to not only keep the routine consistent but so that the elderly residents can recognize familiar faces. The people should be as routine as the daily tasks. If you are looking for care for your loved one in Brigham City, Utah, this particular facility is known for its employee retention. Employees at The Gables Assisted Living of Brigham City love their job and the residents they care for. The Gables Assisted Living of Brigham City is also known for its routines and consistency, allowing residents to feel safe and comfortable.
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