Many seniors rely on consistent daily routines. A daily schedule not only helps elderly adults feel more in control, but it also encourages healthy habits. In-home caregivers aim to provide the seniors whom they care for a routine that combines proper nutrition, exercise, hygiene, rest, and some social, creative, and intellectual activities. Depending on the level of care needed, a caregiver’s daily schedule may start first thing in the morning when the senior wakes up. When creating daily schedules for the elderly, it is important to be flexible as things can change from one day to the next.
Morning is often the most active time for seniors. This is when most older adults have the most energy, making it the perfect time to get things done. Seniors can start their mornings off right with the following basic schedule:
- Bathing – At a minimum, seniors should shower or bathe at least once or twice a week to minimize the risk of infection and skin breakdown. If traditional bathing is not possible, a thorough wipe down of the armpits, genitals, groin, feet, and any skin folds can help prevent body odors.
- Hygiene – Basic hygiene practices should be followed daily. This includes teeth brushing (or denture care), hair combing, and the use of skin ointments or lotions if necessary, to keep skin soft and moisturized. Caregivers can also help seniors pick out and put on clean clothes.
- Breakfast – Seniors should never miss breakfast. Caregivers can help prepare a healthy breakfast and assist with feeding, if needed.
- Activities – Morning activities can vary from person to person but may include breakfast cleanup, reading the newspaper, enjoying a cup of coffee, listening to music, gardening, taking a walk, or similar activities.
Many seniors spend their afternoons enjoying relaxing activities, attending doctor appointments or other obligations, or completing important chores around the home. An example of tasks found in a daily schedule of an in-home caregiver include:
- Lunch – Start the afternoon with a delicious lunch. Seniors can help prepare simple lunches like sandwiches, salads, or cut-up fruit and veggies. After lunch, caregivers can assist with washing dishes and other light housework duties.
- Activities – Afternoon activities can range depending on the person’s unique interests. Some seniors enjoy doing crafts or exercising in the afternoon, while others would prefer to visit a friend or go on an outing. An in-home caregiver can assist with all types of activities. It is important to encourage seniors to exercise not just their bodies, but also their minds. Crossword puzzles and other ‘thinking’ games can be useful for boosting cognitive function.
- Nap – Resting is important for seniors, no matter how active they are during the day. Many seniors enjoy some relaxation time in the afternoon. This may involve a short nap or just resting on the couch while watching a movie or listening to music. In the warmer months of the year, sitting outdoors can also be relaxing.
In the evening, caregivers and seniors can finish up their day with dinner, an enjoyable activity, and a few simple tasks to prepare for bed. A few things to add to an evening schedule include:
- Dinner – Although dinner is the final meal of the day, it should not be too heavy as this can cause digestive upset. Ideally, seniors should eat at least two to three hours before going to bed to allow the body time to properly digest the food. After dinner, an in-home caregiver can assist with kitchen cleanup.
- Dessert – Many seniors enjoy a light dessert after dinner. Coffee and dessert are a great way to end the day. Eating dessert also creates the perfect setup for conversation. It is important for seniors to continue engaging in conversation to reduce the likelihood of developing mood disorders like depression.
- Activities – Any activities done after dinner should be relaxing to help the person wind down for bed. Some great after-dinner activities include watching a movie, playing a game of cards, or taking a warm bath.
- Bed – At the end of the evening, in-home caregivers can help get seniors ready for bed. This typically includes tasks like changing clothes and teeth brushing. If necessary, a caregiver can also change the linens on the bed and pull back the covers.
Why a Schedule?
You may be wondering why a senior would need a schedule at all. While many seniors can get along well without a detailed schedule, many older adults find comfort in knowing what they are going to do each day. Routines can help reduce stress for seniors by helping them maintain some control over their day-to-day life. It provides a sense of independence and can encourage seniors to maximize their physical and cognitive abilities. If a senior’s day is always unpredictable and unstructured, it can cause undue stress. With the help of a daily schedule and in-home caregiver, this stress can be diminished.
A daily schedule can also increase feelings of security and safety. Having a predictable routine each day after waking makes many elderly adults feel more comfortable living out their golden years in their home. Routines can also be invaluable when memory and cognitive difficulties start to develop. A daily schedule can be especially effective for seniors developing dementia. Although a senior who has dementia may not be fully aware of this routine, performing the same activities each day can help them feel safe.
In-Home Care Services
Establishing a simple daily schedule can have a significant positive impact on a senior’s health, wellness, and overall quality of life. Routines do not have to be overly rigid to be effective. Having some flexibility in a daily schedule is important to more efficiently deal with unpredictable events that may arise. If you or a loved one are in search of in-home care services, know that the right caregiver can provide senior care services and help create a daily schedule that works best for you. For more information about senior in-home care, speak with Comfort Home Care.