Have you ever awoken from a dream feeling completely disoriented? The dream seemed so real, and it takes a few minutes to regain your bearings. For someone with dementia, this confusion is part of everyday life. Our goal in caring for someone with dementia is to help provide as much stability as possible, and one of the best ways to help someone with dementia feel as stable as possible from day to day is by sticking to a predictable schedule.
How Can a Routine Help Someone With Dementia?
Short-term memory loss makes it challenging for adults with dementia to learn and remember new things. A familiar routine helps someone with dementia build self-confidence, reinforce a sense of independence, and lessen anxiety and restlessness.
To establish the most comfortable routine for a family member with dementia, try the following:
- Follow their lead. Retain any routines the older adult already has built: 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, which makes it harder to accomplish parts of their routine. The objective ought to be to regularly make an effort to provide as many opportunities for independence that you can, even when modifications are needed.
- Make it meaningful. Include time each day for tasks that enhance the person’s self-worth and sense of purpose, based on their abilities: folding laundry, sorting papers, mixing a salad, etc.
- Select activities that are tied to lifelong interests. Think through the person’s specific interests and incorporate those, one way or another, into their routine: fishing, music, gardening, crocheting, etc.
Of course, we realize that life doesn’t 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 that’s just a couple of hours each week or an extended vacation. It can be great for the person 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 most effective dementia care calls for specialized training and expertise. Our dementia caregivers know how to help someone with dementia by providing creative, patient care and easing the difficult symptoms of the disease. We’re here with as much or little assistance as you need. Reach out to us any time at (949) 859-4700 for a free in-home consultation or for more information.