We're Here to help with your Aging Daily Routine

Daily Routines For Older Adults

Recent studies show that over a quarter of adults over the age of 65 experience symptoms of anxiety that significantly impact their day-to-day life.  So why are older adults so stressed?  It’s because of the toll aging takes on their minds and bodies. Many loved one’s lose their sense of independence as they age because they are unable to live as they once did.  Tasks that were once easy for them now may be difficult or impossible to do without assistance and older adults may begin to worry about how and when these things will get done.  One of the most effective ways to combat this anxiety is to develop a daily routine with them.   The predictability of a routine can be a major stress-reliever for you and your loved one.

Getting Started

with a new routine

While it may sound elementary, studies have shown that routines can significantly improve the lives of loved ones by reducing levels of anxiety/depression, improving sleep, and even increasing their safety.  In fact, there’s even a science to setting up an effective routine.  With a little planning, you and your loved one can set up an effective, fun routine that helps them worry less and enjoy life more.

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Staying Active

while staying safe

Growing old doesn’t have to mean growing bored.  Your aging loved one has many activities they enjoy doing, so make sure you are building a routine that takes their interests into account.

  • Talk with your loved one about activities they enjoy and make sure these are scheduled in their days. This can give your loved one a better sense of agency and independence.
  • Plan out routine cleaning tasks like vacuuming, mopping, and dusting. If your loved one has trouble completing these tasks independently, make sure these are scheduled on days where you are visiting so you can help.
  • Schedule exercise in advance. Add workouts to your loved one’s schedule 3-4 times per week to help them improve their physical and emotional health.
  • Include social time in your loved one’s schedule. Everyone needs to feel connected to other people, but introverts and extroverts have different needs.  Try to get some insight from your loved one as to what they need and respect these needs as you build their schedule with them. 
  • Allow some flexibility in your loved one’s schedule. A daily routine can be scheduled without being overly strict. Allow for exceptions, days off, and a plan B as needed.

planning ahead

for snacks and meals

Many older adults experience challenges in the kitchen, making meal prep a necessary topic of discussion when creating a schedule.

  • Talk with your loved one about their preferred meals and snacks. Work together to create a weekly menu with a variety of different meals and foods that takes their preferences and medical needs into account. Use this menu to create a grocery list for your loved one to use while shopping to help them remember needed items.
  • Consider setting aside a day during the week to do all necessary meal preparation with your loved one. Prepared meals can be refrigerated or frozen with reheating instructions included on the package, allowing them to quickly and independently make meals.
  • When making meals for the week, consider making a bigger batch than needed. Freeze extras for your loved one and add heating instructions for when they want some variety from the set menu.  Accounting for random cravings can give your loved one additional flexibility.
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consistency

and sticking to the plan

The pacing of your loved one’s schedule should fit their unique needs. 

  • Consider your loved one’s former routines. Did they thrive in the morning, or were they more of a night owl?  Try to mimic a schedule that has worked for them in the past and modify it around their current needs. 
  • Schedule time to rest. Many loved ones need breaks between (and sometimes during) tasks in order to catch their breath or recover from the physical discomfort of what they are doing.  Give your loved one longer than you think is reasonable to complete household chores and schedule breaks after so they can rest up.
  • Keep the daily schedule as consistent as possible. The same sequence of events each day helps seniors with memory issues get into a groove.

scheduling

we all have busy days!

There are plenty of templates available for establishing an older adult’s daily routine.  Look at some sample routines for some ideas to get you started.

  • Let them choose a calendar they like hang it on the wall where they can see it
  • Put up a white board in your loved one’s kitchen or living room and use colorful pens to write out their daily schedule.
  • Post room-specific routines in each room to help your loved one remember what they need to do. For example, post a morning and evening hygiene routine in the bathroom to remind your loved one to brush their teeth or shower.
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Creating a routine for a loved one requires balance and communication.  This may be challenging to establish with your loved one.  Luckily, staff at Beverly’s Daughter are here to help.  If you’re struggling to establish a routine for your loved one, consult with their primary care physician and send us a message – we’d be happy to help you troubleshoot and will respond within 48 hours with a customized routine to help simplify your loved one’s life.  Let us take the stress out of making a routine for your loved one so you can both lead happier, healthier lives.

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