Routines are immensely helpful for people with dementia.
Routines give them a comfortable feeling even if other things in their life are feeling out of control right now. When you land on a routine that works well for your aging family member then she’ll roll easily from one part of her day to another.
Set up a Rough Daily Plan
Start out with a rough framework of how your senior’s day usually runs. If she doesn’t have much of a routine in place now, you might be starting from scratch. To do that, look at what you would imagine her ideal day would look like.
Map out the Big Items
There are some big activities that will likely be a part of every day for your senior. This would be activities like getting up, eating meals, and other activities. Add in a little bit of extra time for each of those activities and see what kind of time you have left.
Pay Attention to Specific Times During the Day
Are there certain times of day that you know your elderly family member will be restless or tired? Or perhaps when you know she’ll need the bathroom? You’ll want to factor in those times while you’re making her routine. If you ignore them while you’re in the planning stages, you’re going to bump up against them when you try to put the plan in motion.
Follow Her Natural Rhythm as Much as Possible
The best thing that you can do when you’re setting up a routine like this is to honor your senior’s rhythms throughout her day. Everyone has a natural ebb and flow to their day and your senior is no different, even with dementia. When you factor those in, the entire routine will go more smoothly.
Test it Out with Some Help
The whole point of a routine is so that your elderly family member’s day runs like a well-oiled machine whether you’re there or not. Try out the routine with elderly care providers and tweak whatever isn’t working for your senior. They can help you to find the areas that don’t work as well for your senior so that you can fix those.
Once you have a routine that you feel will work well, give it a few days. You may find that you need to tweak some things here or there to get closer to an ideal routine for your aging family member.