A regular daily routine reduces stress for seniors
Young or old, people are most afraid of the unknown.
As someone loses control over their physical abilities, independence, or cognitive abilities, their world becomes filled with more and more unknowns.
And if their days are unstructured and unpredictable, that can add more stress.
That’s why having a regular daily routine helps both seniors and caregivers.
Everyone knows what to expect and there’s no need to think or worry about what will happen next.
Following a daily routine can reduce stress, increase the feeling of security, and improve sleep.
That helps your older adult (and you) feel healthier and happier.
We describe what a daily routine is and share 3 top benefits that seniors get from a regular daily routine.
What is a daily routine?
A routine means doing the same basic activities around the same time every day. This gives structure and a natural flow to the day.
Having a routine also makes it easier to remember if your older adult has done necessary things like take medicine, use the bathroom, drink water, and eat.
For example, part of a regular daily routine would be to wake up at 8 AM, use the toilet, brush teeth, wash face, comb hair, change from pajamas to regular clothes, then sit down to a hot breakfast of oatmeal and coffee. After that, your older adult would take their morning medications.
When you create a daily routine for your older adult, base it roughly on their current daily activities so the adjustment won’t be too difficult.
In addition, keep in mind that a rigid schedule is not necessary. The main goal is to give their day more structure and predictability.
3 ways a regular daily routine benefits seniors
1. Reduced stress and anxiety
Seniors who no longer have control of their lives may feel constantly stressed and anxious.
They may feel disoriented or unsure about what’s going to happen in the next moment.
Some older adults have become too ill or frail to manage their days. They’re dependent on others for all the usual tasks of daily living.
And when they’re so dependent, not knowing when or if their needs will be met is another source of stress.
A predictable routine reduces stress and anxiety because seniors know exactly what will be happening, who will be helping them, how the activity will be done, and when it will occur.
Over time, these routine actions will become part of their body memory. They won’t have to consciously think or worry about what’s coming next.
2. Increased feeling of safety and security
Most people don’t like surprises and constant uncertainty.
Having a routine lets your older adult predict and plan their day, which makes them feel safe and stable.
It’s also easier to cope with memory and cognitive issues when everything else is known and predictable.
Even though someone with dementia might not be consciously aware of the routine or even of the passing of time, going through a regular routine will make them feel more grounded and secure.
3. Improve sleep
Having a regular daily routine also helps older adults sleep better.
A study found that doing the same basic activities like eating, dressing, and bathing at the same time every day improves sleep quality.
Since many older adults have trouble sleeping through the night, creating a regular daily routine is a simple, non-drug way to improve the situation.
Recommended for you:
- 5 Ways to Improve Quality of Life for Seniors
- This Guide Helps You Make a Caregiving Plan in 5 Steps
- Family Caregiving How-To Videos Free from AARP
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Wiser Home Care Services