Creating and maintaining a schedule provides a sense of routine, and in some cases, something to look forward to. We understand as well as anyone that things come up and life happens, but establishing a sort of regularity will ease some day-to-day stresses. Below are just a few of the areas of life that show the importance of establishing a routine or schedule.
Hygiene & Health
Developing a routine for personal care is important because it can ensure that personal hygiene, completing any necessary physical therapy or exercise routines and receiving the needed medication and health treatments are being taken care of. Also, taking care of oneself feels good! Building a program of self care tasks will keep you thinking positive.
Changes in health and physical abilities can happen slowly. Having a regular schedule for exercise, bathing, and chores such laundry and taking out the trash will help you know when these changes happen and when to recognize support or help is needed. A change might be as simple as a tight muscle, or could be as serious as noticing an irregular bruise or bump; having a routine gives seniors the ability to address concerns as they arise. Practicing good hygiene not only helps individuals feel better about themselves, but also gives family members and loved ones peace of mind that they are maintaining every day, healthy habits.
Medication management is a source of concern for many, and can be particularly stressful for older adults. Find out if your loved one needs support with their medications – and if so, put systems in place to help. These could be as easy as a morning and afternoon phone call, or as detailed as hiring professionals to assist. Taking medications when and how they are prescribed is a very important part of an individual’s health and success, and establishing a routine for when they are taken or administered can ease the burden or worry that prescriptions can sometimes cause.
Older adults who struggle with or suffer from memory loss often experience confusion or disorientation. Creating a schedule can help them feel more comfortable in their environment. Although creating a routine may not necessarily restore their memory, it can help them manage successfully with day-to-day life.
When tasks are done repetitively and regularly, they are easier to remember. Simply doing certain activities at the same time every day or every week supports independence, especially if they can be easily recalled. Specific routines like brushing teeth before breakfast, watering plants after lunch, taking a walk in the afternoon or eating dinner at 5:30 each evening makes the day enjoyable and easy to follow, as well as helps create stability.
Personal & Social Life
Whether it’s visiting your parent or loved one in person, chatting with them on the phone, or talking though a computer video call, keeping in regular touch is an essential part of an older adults life. They love hearing from family, friends, and grand kids!
Sit down with those who would like to visit regularly and come up with a realistic schedule. After you have an initial schedule in place, discuss it so they know what to expect. A large calendar that has visits and events written on it can be very helpful.
A healthy lifestyle is all about finding a balance. Routines provide a reassuring structure to daily life at a time when older adults may begin to feel the frustrations and confusions of their age. A daily routine also offers the stability for individuals to relax and enjoy what their days bring and settle into a healthy, affirming, and encouraging senior lifestyle.