March 1, 2021
same old, same old
the value of routines
Same thing over and over again. Boring, right? Not really. In fact, most people are uncomfortable with the unknown. Having a routine is especially important for seniors as they begin to lose control over their physical and cognitive abilities. When individuals become more dependent on others for care, a predictable routine lets them know what will be happening, who will be helping them, how it will be done, and when it will occur. As a result, they feel less anxious because they know their needs will be met.
For caregivers like you, routines can reduce stress by lowering the need to make decisions all of the time. Routines also offer a sense of safety and security as there are no surprises or confusion for anyone. The resulting peace of mind can improve sleep, which benefits everyone’s health and happiness.
What does a routine look like? It involves doing the same activities, or types of activities, around the same time and in the same order each day. It gives structure to the day and makes caregiving easier. One example of a morning routine could be:
- Get up at 8 a.m.
- Use the toilet
- Brush teeth
- Get dressed
- Sit down for breakfast
- Take morning medications
Afternoon activities might include a movie, a puzzle, or even a walk outside. Routines can include quality time as well, such as listening to a special wake-up song or having lunch at a favorite restaurant on Tuesdays.
Remember: A routine is not rigid. Rather, it is structured and predictable.
When people become accustomed to established routines, they tend to be less likely to object to activities and transitions. We know that most people don’t like being told what to do. The beauty of following a routine is that it doesn’t feel like you are being forced to do something you don’t want to do. For example, if there is always a shower before getting dressed, then a shower is an activity that is “just what is done.” When individuals can anticipate what the next activity will be, they can better prepare mentally and are more inclined to participate than if taken by surprise. Even with dementia, people have a subconscious sense for the regular rhythm of the day.
Consistency is key. Same old same old is truly a good thing!
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Winter Growth’s founder dreamed of creating a community where seniors and adults with disabilities could continue to learn and grow—filling their lives with joy and purpose. For over 40 years, we have fulfilled her vision by providing unique, affordable Assisted Living/Memory Care and Adult Medical Day Care tailored to our clients’ individual abilities, interests, and lives.