Have you ever woken up from a dream feeling completely confused? The dream seemed so real, and it takes a few minutes to regain your bearings. For someone with dementia, this disorientation is part of everyday life. Our goal in taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s is to help provide as much stability as possible, and one of the simplest ways to accomplish this is by sticking with a predictable routine.
How a Routine Helps Those With Dementia
Short-term memory loss makes it challenging for someone with dementia to learn and remember new things. A familiar routine helps build self-confidence, reinforce a feeling of independence, and lessen anxiety.
To create the most comfortable routine for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, try the following:
- Follow their lead. Retain any routines the senior 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.
- Modify as needed. Over time, as the disease progresses, the individual’s ability level will change, making it harder to complete parts of their routine. The objective should be to always strive to provide as many opportunities for independence as you possibly can, even though modifications are needed.
- Make it meaningful. Include time each day for activities that strengthen the person’s self-worth and sense of purpose, according to their abilities: folding laundry, mixing a salad, sorting papers, etc.
- Select activities that relate to lifelong interests. Think through the person’s particular interests and incorporate those one way or another into their routine: fishing, music, gardening, knitting, etc.
Needless to say, we realize that life does not always allow us to follow a predictable routine. Family caregivers need and deserve to take time off from their care duties for self-care, whether just a few hours each week or an extended vacation. It can be beneficial for the individual in your care to have a respite caregiver step in prior to taking time away, incorporating them into the daily routine. This makes it easier for you to step away, knowing the senior is already familiar and comfortable with their professional caregiver.
The most effective dementia care requires specialized training and expertise. Our dementia caregivers are specialists 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. Email or call us any time at (866) 229-2505 for a free in-home consultation to find out more information.