Everyone is afraid of the unknown, most especially seniors who have recently lost friends or whose families rarely visit.
As they lose control of their physical abilities, cognitive capabilities and independence, the world becomes quite unfamiliar. If they have unstructured and unpredictable days, everything can become quite stressful.
Therefore, having a routine helps a lot of senior citizens lead a quality life even in their old age.
This article is part of my “Importance of Elders” series that features 50+ articles on keeping seniors and the elderly happy and healthy so that we can have them in our lives longer. See the entire series here.
Why Is Having A Daily Routine For Your Elderly Loved Ones Important?
Reduces Stress And Anxiety
Your elderly loved ones who don’t have complete control of their lives may feel stressed and anxious all the time. As such, they are likely going to feel unsure or disoriented about what’s happening every moment.
It might happen to elderly people suffering from stroke, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Note that, your elderly loved ones might be too ill to manage their day-to-day activities. They are usually dependent on caregivers to help them live their days.
When they are dependent on someone, not having an idea on whether or not their needs will be met can also be quite stressful.
Having a routine will reduce their stress and anxiety. They have an idea of what is happening and at what time. They have an idea of who will be helping them and how they will do everything.
With time, these routines become muscle memory and they don’t have to worry or consciously think about what’s happening next.
Increased Sense Of Safety And Security
Most people, especially older people, don’t love surprises or uncertainty. Not being aware of what happens next makes them feel insecure.
Even worse, they might not be willing to do anything if they weren’t aware of it before.
Well, having a routine for your elderly loved ones makes it easier to plan and predict their day. It makes them feel stable and safe at all times. They can cope with cognitive and memory issues when everything else around them feels unpredictable.
Note that, even if your elderly loved one is suffering from dementia or another disease that affects their cognitive abilities, he/she might not be consciously aware of the routine. They might not have an idea of what time it is or how much time has passed.
Having a regular routine makes your loved one feel secure and grounded. They have an idea of what’s happening and at what time. Even better, they have an idea of who to ask for help when something happens.
Did you know having a regular routine is important for helping the elderly sleep better?
A lot of scientific studies have identified that doing the same basic activities such as dressing, eating, and bathing at the same time every day improves overall sleep quality. Yes, it’s quite common for older adults to have trouble sleeping through the night.
Therefore, creating a simple daily routine without using drugs helps them sleep through the night comfortably.
What Does A Daily Routine For The Elderly Mean?
Having a routine helps seniors and their caregivers know what to expect in the coming day. There’s no need to stress over what will happen next.
Following a routine is the best way to reduce stress, improve sleep and increase security. Your elderly loved ones will feel happier and healthier.
A daily routine for your elderly loved ones doesn’t have to be a strict schedule. It’s good to have a simple schedule that allows structure and predictability.
Don’t forget: As you create a daily routine for your loved ones, you need to ask for their input.
A sample daily routine involves the following:
- Waking up time
- Time for grooming and personal hygiene needs
- Time for eating breakfast and other meals
- Time to take medication, if there are any
- Time to relax on the porch or do any other relaxing activities such as taking a walk
- Time to run errands
- Time for doctor appointments
- Time to visit friends
- When to sleep
Such a simple routine makes it easier for your elderly loved one to lead a structured life every day and night. Any sudden changes might bring a lot of anxiety.
Also, not having such a structure might be quite stressful.
You need to use the input of your loved one when creating a daily routine. Follow through the routine to improve their quality of life effortlessly.