February 20, 2023 by Dean Bellefeuille

senior lady eating lunch

Have you ever woken up from a dream feeling completely disoriented? The dream seemed so real, and it takes a moment to regain your bearings. For someone with dementia, this disorientation is a part of everyday life. When caring for someone with dementia, a primary goal should be to help provide as much stability as possible, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is by adhering to a predictable routine.

How Can a Routine Help Someone With Dementia?

Short-term memory loss makes it challenging for someone with dementia to learn and remember new things. A familiar routine helps someone with dementia build self-confidence, reinforce a sense of independence, and reduce anxiety.

To create the most comfortable routine for a loved one with dementia, try the following:

  • Follow their lead. Keep in place any routines he/she 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 condition progresses, the person’s ability level will change, making it harder to accomplish various components of their routine. The goal should be to always strive to provide as many opportunities for independence as possible, even when modifications are needed.
  • Choose activities that relate to lifelong interests. Think through the person’s particular interests and incorporate those into their routine: music, gardening, fishing, crocheting, etc.
  • Provide purpose. Include time each day for tasks that enhance the person’s self-worth and sense of purpose, according to their abilities: folding laundry, sorting papers, mixing a salad, etc.

Of course we know that life doesn’t always allow us to follow a predictable routine. Family caregivers need and deserve to take time away from their responsibilities for self-care, whether just a few hours each week or an extended vacation. It can be helpful for the older adult in your care to arrange for a respite caregiver to step in before you take time away, incorporating them into the routine as much as possible. This will make it easier for you to have peace of mind while away, knowing your loved one is already familiar and comfortable with their professional caregiver.

The most effective dementia care requires specialized training and expertise. The trained dementia caregivers from At Home Independent Living are experts in providing creative, compassionate care and easing the difficult symptoms of the disease.  We’re here with as much or little assistance as you need. Contact the senior care experts at At Home Independent Living any time at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for a free in-home consultation to learn more.