If you and your senior don’t already have a series of routines in play for her, you might want to reconsider. Having some specific patterns that define your elderly family member’s day makes a tremendous difference for both of you.
There’s a Level of Security Involved
For most of your elderly family member’s life, there’s been some sort of routine. It’s likely revolved around work, school, and family life, which can change gradually over the years. Now as she’s grown older, having no routine at all can feel foreign to your aging adult. Having regular daily and weekly activities helps her to feel that her life is normal and that it has a flow to it.
Routines Are Calming
In some cases, routines can even help to soothe or to calm your aging adult. This is particularly the case if she’s experiencing dementia or other cognitive difficulties. Even if your elderly family member can’t tell you verbatim what her routines consist of, the very act of experiencing those routines in action helps her to feel as if life is unfolding as it should be.
Routines Guard Against Forgetfulness
People of all ages and cognitive abilities, even without the threat of dementia, can be forgetful. Some aging adults need to take medication at specific times every day and routines can help to ensure that happens. Schedules and routines can help your senior to remember to do all sorts of things that she might not think she’d forget to do, like brush her teeth or eat a meal. The truth is that with a freer schedule, it’s really easy to forget these activities or to intend to do them later and then run out of time in the day.
Be Aware of Having Too Many Routines, Though
One caveat, however, is that routines that are too structured or too restricting can have the opposite effect on your elderly family member. They can make her uncomfortable and leave her feeling stressed out. Look for a healthy balance between routines that work well and routines that overpower your senior’s desire to do what she wants, when she wants. Elderly care providers can help you to work out when it’s better to have strict timetables and when it’s better to leave things more relaxed.
Having routines that energize your senior and support her goals keeps her involved in her daily activities. Take some time regularly to fine tune your elderly family member’s routines and get them to a point that helps her to enjoy her life to the fullest.