Have you ever woken up from a dream feeling completely disoriented? The dream seemed so real, and it takes a few minutes to regain your bearings. With dementia, this disorientation is part of everyday life. Our goal in dementia care is to help provide as much stability as possible, and one of the simplest ways to accomplish this is by sticking with a predictable schedule to ensure structure for someone with Alzheimer’s.
How Can a Routine Help With Alzheimer’s Disease?
Short-term memory loss makes it challenging for someone with Alzheimer’s to learn and remember new things. A familiar routine helps build self-confidence, reinforce a feeling of independence, and reduce anxiety.
To establish the most comfortable routine for a family member with dementia, try the following:
- Follow their lead. Retain any routines the individual already has established: a morning shower before breakfast, meals at the same seat at the table as always, an afternoon TV program, a walk after dinner, etc.
- Modify as needed. Over time, as the disease progresses, the person’s ability level will change, making it harder to accomplish parts of their routine. The goal ought to be to always provide as many opportunities for independence as you can, even if modifications are needed.
- Select activities that are tied to lifelong interests. Think through the person’s specific interests and incorporate those in some manner into their routine: music, gardening, fishing, knitting, etc.
- Make it meaningful. Include time each day for activities that maximize the person’s sense of purpose and self-worth, according to their abilities: folding laundry, mixing a salad, sorting papers, etc.
Of course we realize that life doesn’t always allow us to follow a predictable routine. Family caregivers need and deserve to take time off from their care duties for self-care, whether just a couple hours weekly or an extended vacation. It’s helpful for the individual in your care to have a respite caregiver step in before taking time away, incorporating them into the routine regularly. This can make it easier for you to step away, knowing the senior is already comfortable and familiar with their professional caregiver.
The very best dementia care requires specialized expertise and training. Our dementia caregivers are specialists in providing innovative, patient care and alleviating the difficult symptoms of the disease, and we’re here with just as much or little assistance as you need to ensure a calm environment and structure for someone with Alzheimer’s. Contact us any time at 250.590.8098 for a free in-home consultation and for additional information on our Victoria, BC area dementia care.