5 Ways Caregiving Routines Make Daily Life Easier

Daily routines for caregivers help days run more smoothly and reduce stress

Routines simplify and smooth life for caregivers

A top caregiving goal is to make life easier for your older adult, yourself, and others who are involved.

One way to do that is to create a consistent daily routine for your older adult. This helps days run more smoothly.

Daily routines can reduce uncertainty, arguments, and decision-making – decreasing overall stress for both you and your older adult.

In addition, sticking to a routine might free up some mental energy to help you find more ways to take breaks and take care of yourself.

We explain what a caregiving routine is and share 5 ways they make your life easier.




What are caregiving routines?

A routine is doing the same basic activities around the same time every day. This gives structure and a natural flow to the day.

For example, part of a regular daily routine for your older adult might be to wake up at 8am, use the toilet, brush teeth, and comb hair. Then, change from pajamas to regular clothes and sit down for a hot breakfast of oatmeal, apples, and tea. Late afternoons might be reserved for audiobooks, puzzles, or no-fail household tasks.

It might take a little experimenting to create a daily routine that works well for your older adult and you. Start with the timing and activities you think work best and make adjustments as needed.


5 ways caregiving routines make daily life easier

1. Stop the power struggles
Most people dislike being told what to do and when to do it and seniors are no exception.

But if your older adult has a consistent daily or weekly routine, the activity is simply what’s done at that time (getting dressed, eating, bathing, etc.).

Once a routine becomes a natural part of their life, they’ll be more likely to go with the flow of activities and won’t feel like  you’re suddenly forcing them to do a certain activity.


2. Increase cooperation
Nobody likes surprises. When you and your older adult both know what’s going to happen and when, there’s less stress and uncertainty in your lives.

And when someone is able to anticipate the next task or activity, they can mentally prepare and will be more willing to participate than if they feel surprised by a seemingly random activity.

Even if your older adult has dementia, their subconscious can develop a sense for the regular rhythm of the day. That helps them feel more comfortable and secure even if they aren’t outwardly aware of the routine.


3. Reduce the need for decision-making
Making decisions all day is tiring, even if they’re minor ones.

A regular daily routine saves valuable mental energy because most of the tasks, timing, and activities have already been decided.

This significantly reduces the number of choices you’ll have to make so you can spend your energy on other things.


4. Improve your sleep
Quality sleep is essential for good health and a daily routine can also help older adults sleep better and more regularly.

Plus, having a steady sleep schedule helps both of you get better rest overall.


5. Build in time to enjoy each other
With all the responsibilities of caregiving, spending quality time with your older adult often gets pushed to the bottom of the To Do list.

Make it easier to spend quality time together by building it into their daily, weekly, or monthly routine.

It could be as simple as starting each morning with a hug, ending the day with a bedtime song, enjoying a nice walk in the park every Sunday afternoon, or having lunch at their favorite restaurant once a month.


Recommended for you:


By DailyCaring Editorial Team


  • Reply March 22, 2021


    My Father has been a bully his entire life. I never understood this even though I saw how he treated my mother my older brothers and myself. Only exception was youngest brother. I see clearly now the effect of his lifetime abuse towards wife and children. He abused my older bros. and myself beyond words. Now I have to take care of this bully who at 74 is still a bully. I am not soft in any aspect.
    Why I call my Father a bully. I come home in the afternoon my mother is laying on the couch shaking with a migraine that is far too typical. My father is in the recliner next to the couch where my mother is Lying. He has the television turned up horribly loud sitting there pouting because my mother didn’t make him dinner. So he sits in the recliner next to the couch where she’s laying with the television volume up very loud instead of going to make himself something to eat. This is abuse in the worst way. My mother is so used to it she doesn’t even see anything wrong with it other than the typical oh you know how he is blah blah blah blah blah…
    Thank God I’m not like my father because otherwise I would whoop his ass like he did mine when I was a little kid and couldn’t defend myself. In fact the one time I finally did strike my father after he swung twice at me he called the cops right away. I spent my whole life being abused and beaten by this man and never once called no cop I took it like a man I took my ass whippings like a man but he can’t take one without calling the cops all the while still being the abusive man he has always been.
    I love my mother to death she’s the biggest sweetheart anybody could ever meet. She raised our family by herself without the help of my father.
    My Father was at work playing God with a badge. Lying, stealing, cheating , more abuse more of a bully only at work as a Sheriff. Finally he was put in the jails to ride out rest of career for hitting and knocking out a fellow police officer who was under his supervision.
    How can I help my Mother more than I do already. I take her to do EVERYTHING… he refuses to do anything. Nothing ! Sleep and shove thousands of dollars worth of food that my Mother and I have to shop for week after week…
    What can I do beyond what I do already to make my Mothers life better ? Is there professional help ? I need it. It will take a professional counselor family oriented something to get him to listen or do I just drop all that and shove him in a retirement home where he can’t abuse my mother anymore?

  • Reply August 1, 2019

    Jeanne Adams

    These articles all sound great, but really only seen workable in an ideal situation. I have an older adult that absolutely refuses to do anything. We have tried coloring, crossword puzzles, fidget blankets, reading (this works best), and other items your articles have suggested. We have going with her to activities and she refuses to participate, she says these people are all old (she’s 97). She spends most of her days sleeping, we fix a good meal and she takes two bites and is full, even going so far as to hide food not eaten. She refuses to get things for herself and wants to be waited on, saying she waited on her son when he was young and we can wait on her now. How do you help someone like this?

    • Reply August 3, 2019


      If someone is very fatigued, needs to sleep a lot, and doesn’t want to do things for themselves, it’s understandable that she wouldn’t want to participate in many activities.

      First, rule out a health condition, untreated pain, medication side effect, or other medical issue that’s causing her to sleep so much and not want to do anything. Let the doctor know what’s happening and ask them to give her a thorough exam to figure out what’s causing this.

      Decreasing appetite is common among older adults and could be caused by a variety of reasons. It’s important to check to make sure this isn’t being caused by mouth pain or a health condition. If there’s nothing wrong, here are suggestions for improving appetite:
      — Why Do Seniors Lose Their Appetites? 10 Possible Reasons https://dailycaring.com/why-do-seniors-lose-their-appetites/
      — 6 Ways to Get Seniors with No Appetite to Eat https://dailycaring.com/6-ways-to-get-seniors-with-no-appetite-to-eat/
      — 9 More Ways to Get Seniors with No Appetite to Eat https://dailycaring.com/9-more-ways-to-get-seniors-with-no-appetite-to-eat/

      Each person is unique in their preferences. It’s ok if she isn’t interested in too many activities if it’s not causing her to be upset or distressed. It could be that she doesn’t enjoy many activities, is easily fatigued, feels shy, prefers a quiet environment, has physical pain or limitations, etc.

      It sounds like reading does work — that’s a great activity. You could even try audiobooks to see if that’s something she enjoys. More info here: Entertain and Engage Seniors with Books on Tape https://dailycaring.com/stimulate-senior-minds-with-books-on-tape/

  • Reply October 7, 2017


    How do you handily when someone get mad for no reason. Both person was talking now the other person don’t want have anything with you. Or they start singing out loud or say bad thing out loud that you can here

    • Reply October 7, 2017


      I’m so sorry this is happening. If the person has dementia, it can be tough for them to regulate their emotions and they may be angry or scared because of the changes in their brain. We’ve got more information here: http://dailycaring.com/9-ways-to-reduce-anger-in-dementia/

      If the person doesn’t have dementia, it may help to have some calm discussions (without making any accusations) to find out why they’re angry — at a time when they’re not angry. There could be an underlying reason or pain or discomfort that’s making them cranky. If you can find out the cause of the problem, changes could be able to reduce their anger. If repeated discussion doesn’t work and they insist on being angry, your only option may be to walk away for a while or to explain that you don’t want to be treated that way and will not interact with them if they’re acting that way toward you.

  • Reply September 10, 2015

    Nancy Smith

    Terrific suggestion. I will start tomorrow.

    • Reply September 10, 2015

      Connie Chow

      Hi Nancy, I’m glad you found this article useful! Let us know how things are going. If you run into any snags, we’re always here to help brainstorm solutions.

Leave a Reply