Welcome back, Careblazer!
I hope you’re all hanging in there through this Corona virus. Since this virus has interrupted so many lives, closed down senior centers and adult day health care centers, reduced or totally stopped extra help from coming into the home, I thought we could spend some time talking about how to make a dementia routine at home. This idea came from Dr. Regina Koepp, geropsychologist in Georgia who told me many of the caregiver she sees are struggling with how to get through the days as best as possible without all the usual outside supports. So thank you Dr. Koepp. She also recently started a podcast called the Psychology of Aging.
Whether this Corona virus has totally changed your caregiving schedule or whether it’s really made no difference at all, this will be helpful if you spend a large amount of your day with someone with dementia. I’ll go over why a routine in dementia is helpful and how you can make your own daily routine or schedule, mistakes to avoid, and I’ll give you specific ideas you may want to include.
Why should you try to have a daily routine/schedule.
Having a routine in dementia care helps:
When you think about what you want to put on your daily routine you want to:
Now what exactly should you include on this daily schedule. The main themes include:
-Personal hygiene (bathing, toileting, brushing teeth, getting dressed)
-Medical needs (medication, breathing treatments, etc.)
-Eating (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks)
-Physical activity within their means
-Pleasant events (social, spiritual, intellectual) You can rotate them.
-Wake/sleep schedule: trying to stick to a regular sleep and wake cycle is helpful in dealing with sundowning and other sleep difficulties.
Consider putting the schedule in a place for your LOVE to see so they know what to expect. You can use a white board and change out the specifics day to day or simply use a new piece of paper. It doesn’t really matter, whatever works best for you. If you do decide to use this approach of using a sign or white board for them, be sure to keep it as simple as possible. Too many words can make it complicated and hard for them to understand.
I hope that developing a daily routine helps you feel less stressed and helps your LOWD feel less anxious. Be patient with yourself as you implement this, it can take some time for someone with dementia to adjust to something new, but having a routine is helpful and is part of the reason so many adult day care centers and senior facilities are helpful because they’ve built this in the day to day.
And before I end, I just want to encourage you to cut yourself a break. You aren’t looking for perfection with this. Just a bit of progress. I’m thinking of you Careblazer. Hang in there. I’ll be back next week. Bye.