Have you ever woken up from a dream feeling totally disoriented? The dream seemed so real, and it takes a minute to regain your bearings. For someone with Alzheimer's, this confusion is a part of everyday life. Our goal in taking care of someone with dementia is to help provide as much stability as possible, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is by sticking with a predictable routine.
How Can a Routine Help Seniors With Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease?
Short-term memory loss makes it challenging for someone with Alzheimer's to learn and remember new things. A familiar routine helps build self-confidence, reinforce a feeling of independence, and minimize anxiety.
To establish the most comfortable routine for a senior loved one with dementia, try the following:
• Follow their lead. Retain any routines the person already has established: a morning shower before breakfast, meals at the same seat at the table as always, an afternoon TV program, a walk after dinner, etc.
• Adjust as needed. Over time, as the disease progresses, the person’s ability level will change, making it harder to accomplish parts of their routine. The goal must be to regularly strive to provide as many opportunities for independence as you can, even if modifications are needed.
• Choose activities that relate to lifelong interests. Consider the individual's particular interests and incorporate those in some manner into their routine: music, gardening, fishing, crocheting, etc.
• Make it meaningful. Include time every day for responsibilities that promote the person’s self-worth and sense of purpose, based on their abilities: folding laundry, sorting papers, mixing a salad, etc.
Needless to say we understand that life doesn’t always allow us to follow a predictable routine. Family caregivers need and deserve to take time away from their care duties for self-care, whether just a couple hours weekly or an extended vacation. It can be helpful for the senior in your care to have a respite caregiver step in before you take time away, incorporating them into the routine regularly. That will likely make it simpler for you to step away, knowing the senior is already comfortable and familiar with their professional caregiver.
The very best dementia care calls for specialized expertise and training. The Care Company’s dementia caregivers are experts in providing innovative, patient care and alleviating the difficult symptoms of the disease, and we’re here with just as much or little assistance as you need. Contact us online or call (416) 422-2273 for a free in-home consultation for more information.