Many aging adults need the consistency provided by daily routines. When a senior knows what he or she is going to do every day, it can take the stress out of the basic activities of living. Here are six reasons your elderly parent should have a daily routine.
1. Minimize Stress
For seniors with anxiety, disorientation, or cognitive decline, routines can lower their stress levels. As older adults begin to lose control of their physical or cognitive health, everything can become a source of stress, from their morning hygiene routines to their midday meals. When seniors have set plans they can follow, they have a greater sense of control and independence.
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2. Manage the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
For seniors with Alzheimer’s, the benefits of routines extend beyond simple stress relief. The disease has less impact on the part of the brain that controls procedural memory, which means older adults retain muscle memory and are often able to follow routines. In fact, the gross motor memory of seniors with Alzheimer’s is no different from that of healthy seniors, as long as the motor memory skill is practiced consistently. Make sure your loved one practices his or her routine daily, as it has tangible cognitive benefits.
3. Enhance the Quality of Sleep
Older adults generally sleep better when they follow consistent sleep schedules. When seniors have set routines, they wake up and go to bed at roughly the same time every night, which helps them establish healthy sleep habits. Aging adults who sleep seven to eight hours a night give their bodies the chance to rest, heal, and perform many crucial physiological processes.
4. Gain a Sense of Safety
Seniors facing major life transitions may experience emotions more intense than anxiety. When older adults don’t know what the future holds, they often feel legitimately unsafe. For these seniors, predictable routines can provide a sense of security during otherwise tumultuous times.
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5. Reduce Sundowning Side Effects
When a caregiver devises a routine that works for a senior with Alzheimer’s, it can reduce sundowning effects. Sundowning can be caused by many factors, but the effects are often reduced if seniors aren’t overtired in the evening. If your loved one’s routine ensures he or she gets adequate sleep and some early afternoon exercise, it can quell the restless wandering associated with sundowning.
6. Make Time for Spontaneous Events
One of the primary benefits of routines is that they can be broken. Caregivers shouldn’t be afraid to leave room for flexibility. While some activities should be kept consistent, such as mealtimes, medication times, and bedtimes, other activities can be unplanned. Following daily routines often allows older adults to make some time for spontaneous events.
Many older adults require help with cooking, cleaning, and managing other daily routine activities. Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing serious illnesses and require more extensive live-in care. Tucson seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve. To talk to one of our friendly Care Managers and create a customized senior care plan, call us at (520) 276-6555.