Routines simplify and smooth life for caregivers
A top caregiving goal is to make life easier for your older adult, yourself, and others who are involved.
One way to do that is to create a consistent daily routine for your older adult. This helps days run more smoothly.
Daily routines can reduce uncertainty, arguments, and decision-making – decreasing overall stress for both you and your older adult.
In addition, sticking to a routine might free up some mental energy to help you find more ways to take breaks and take care of yourself.
We explain what a caregiving routine is and share 5 ways they make your life easier.
What are caregiving routines?
A routine is doing the same basic activities around the same time every day. This gives structure and a natural flow to the day.
For example, part of a regular daily routine for your older adult might be to wake up at 8am, use the toilet, brush teeth, and comb hair. Then, change from pajamas to regular clothes and sit down for a hot breakfast of oatmeal, apples, and tea. Late afternoons might be reserved for audiobooks, puzzles, or no-fail household tasks.
It might take a little experimenting to create a daily routine that works well for your older adult and you. Start with the timing and activities you think work best and make adjustments as needed.
5 ways caregiving routines make daily life easier
1. Stop the power struggles
Most people dislike being told what to do and when to do it and seniors are no exception.
Once a routine becomes a natural part of their life, they’ll be more likely to go with the flow of activities and won’t feel like you’re suddenly forcing them to do a certain activity.
2. Increase cooperation
Nobody likes surprises. When you and your older adult both know what’s going to happen and when, there’s less stress and uncertainty in your lives.
And when someone is able to anticipate the next task or activity, they can mentally prepare and will be more willing to participate than if they feel surprised by a seemingly random activity.
Even if your older adult has dementia, their subconscious can develop a sense for the regular rhythm of the day. That helps them feel more comfortable and secure even if they aren’t outwardly aware of the routine.
3. Reduce the need for decision-making
Making decisions all day is tiring, even if they’re minor ones.
A regular daily routine saves valuable mental energy because most of the tasks, timing, and activities have already been decided.
This significantly reduces the number of choices you’ll have to make so you can spend your energy on other things.
4. Improve your sleep
Quality sleep is essential for good health and a daily routine can also help older adults sleep better and more regularly.
Plus, having a steady sleep schedule helps both of you get better rest overall.
5. Build in time to enjoy each other
With all the responsibilities of caregiving, spending quality time with your older adult often gets pushed to the bottom of the To Do list.
Make it easier to spend quality time together by building it into their daily, weekly, or monthly routine.
It could be as simple as starting each morning with a hug, ending the day with a bedtime song, enjoying a nice walk in the park every Sunday afternoon, or having lunch at their favorite restaurant once a month.
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By DailyCaring Editorial Team