3 Top Benefits of a Daily Routine for Seniors

routine is important for seniors

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.

 

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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.

This often happens when someone has Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, or other health condition that causes significant cognitive or physical impairment.

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.

 

Read Next  5 ways having a regular daily routine makes caregiving easier

 

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Wiser Home Care Services


6 Comments

  • Reply June 10, 2021

    Patricia Beal

    Got up made coffee, got a towel out and underwear and clothes for my husband, he thinks he does this on his own. Make the bed, make sure toilet paper is replaced or enough on roll. Shaving soap and aftershave is there and is full. I get dress. Get pills in in his cup because he gets them mixed up if I don’t. He miss places everything so before breakfast, we hunt for reading glasses and hearing aids. When I make breakfast, he gets paper. That’s mostly the only thing he will read. Then he wants a walk why I do kitchen clean up. Cell phone is on tracking motion. Mostly he goes gets and fills his pockets with rocks. Neighbors all are on watch for him so the walk him on his path there and home. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have a he of free time. He gets read of his stones. Comes in And wants to know how or why I haven’t change the tv to music! He doesn’t know how to do it any more. That’s part of my Day then I get rejected by the Care givers and have to do a repeal. I tiered

    • Reply June 10, 2021

      DailyCaring

      You’ve created a wonderfully smooth routine for you and your husband. It’s great that your neighbors are helpful and watch out for him as well – you certainly need and deserve that support. Hopefully you can get those issues straightened out soon to get more help and time for yourself.

  • Reply June 4, 2021

    Faith Unger

    Another benefit of establishing a routine is that the caregiver can build breaks for herself during the day. They can be times when the activity in the routine is something that does not need much support or assistance from the caregiver. Mini breaks during the day help to prevent caregiver burnout. Another good thing about a routine is that it establishes a beginning and end of the day–the wake up and the goodnight.

    • Reply June 4, 2021

      DailyCaring

      Excellent points! Building in small breaks throughout the day helps make sure you can really take them.

  • Reply April 18, 2020

    Jane

    Look through there eyes and see and feel what they see

    • Reply April 19, 2020

      DailyCaring

      Yes! It can be helpful to imagine yourself in their shoes.

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