Alzheimer’s disease can be overwhelming for patients and caregivers alike. The emotional component of Alzheimer’s can be the most difficult challenge of this debilitating disease, as caregivers watch loved ones struggle to remember or complete everyday tasks. Boca Raton elderly care professionals recommend having a structured daily routine to help bring consistency and comfort to seniors and caregivers during this challenging time. Here are 5 tips for creating a schedule that works for you and your elderly loved one.
1. Be consistent.
The goal of any routine is to bring consistency to daily tasks. While a senior with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty remembering to do certain things, a daily schedule does not depend on memory but on ritual. You can create consistency in the routine by, for example, following certain rituals at the same time each day. Rather than preparing meals haphazardly, institute specific times for each meal of the day, and stick to that schedule.
2. Create a detailed schedule.
Your goal is to schedule with as much specificity as possible. In addition to meals, sleep schedules should also follow specific bedtimes and wake-up times. You can create blocks of time for activities like housecleaning, social visits, errands, and personal hygiene as well.
3. Put the schedule in writing, and refer to it often.
It is not enough to simply keep the daily routine in your own head. Make sure that you work with your loved one to create the schedule, and refer to it as often as possible. Consider using a large whiteboard or calendar and posting it prominently in the home. As the day progresses, you or your loved one can check off activities as you complete them. Referring to the schedule throughout the day will help remind your elderly loved one about upcoming activities and will bring a sense of familiarity to the day.
4. Use cues to help transition throughout the day.
If you are finding it difficult to move from one part of the routine to the next, think about how you can signal these transitions. For instance, dim the lights in the evening as bedtime approaches, and set the table before mealtimes. It can be helpful to include your loved one in these preparatory cues to help ensure smooth transitions.
5. Acknowledge any interruptions.
No matter how disciplined you are about preparing a consistent schedule, daily living inevitably interrupts even the best plans. On days with special events like doctor’s visits or holidays, be sure to remind your loved one that the day is unique. On those days, try to maintain as much of your regular schedule as possible, but make sure to acknowledge any important differences. By acknowledging these interruptions, you can help minimize your loved one’s confusion.
While it can be challenging to care for an elderly loved one with Alzheimer’s, establishing a daily routine can bring a great deal of order and comfort to the process. With a solid structure in place, you and your loved one will feel a sense of order and accomplishment each day.
If you could use help meeting your loved one’s care needs, turn to Home Care Assistance. In addition to comprehensive Alzheimer’s and dementia care, we also provide Parkinson’s and stroke care in Boca Raton on an hourly or live-in basis. For more information, call a dedicated Care Manager at (561) 826.9282 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.