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How to Create a Caregiving Routine for Your Loved One with Dementia

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How to Create a Caregiving Routine for Your Loved One with Dementia

“Today, many at-home caregivers struggle with creating daily routines that are beneficial to their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” says Heather Miller, Personal Care Administrator at Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr located in Bryn Mawr, PA.

“Caregivers commonly express a variety of concerns such as: How do I organize their day? What routines will mom or dad respond to best? How do I know if I’m doing the right things to relieve their dementia symptoms and improve their quality of life?

“The anxiety caregivers experience is entirely normal and understandable because a diagnosis of dementia does not come with a handbook for caregivers. Complicating matters further is the fact that many caregivers face their own challenges in coping with the stresses of caregiving.  

The Benefits of a Daily Caregiving Routine

Heather adds, “The good news is that there are basic guidelines for daily caregiving routines provided by Alzheimer’s care experts that can be extremely helpful to family caregivers. They advise that daily routines are essential for loved ones living with dementia because they provide a sense of structure, security and comfort in their lives.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Center, “Daily routines can be helpful for both you – the caregiver – and the person with Alzheimer's. A planned day allows you to spend less time trying to figure out what to do, and more time on activities that provide meaning and enjoyment.”

The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Center also adds that a “person with Alzheimer's will eventually need a caregiver's assistance to organize the day. Structured and pleasant activities can often reduce agitation and improve mood. Planning activities for a person with dementia works best when you continually explore, experiment and adjust.”

Key Considerations in Planning Your Daily Caregiving Routine

Alzheimer’s specialists suggest considering the following factors when planning a daily routine for your loved one with Alzheimer’s:

  • What are your loved one's likes, dislikes, preferences, interests and abilities?
  • Prior to the onset of Alzheimer’s, how did your loved one usually structure their day?
  • When does your loved one function best during the day now?
  • Provide sufficient time for meals, bathing, dressing and toileting as needed.
  • Schedule regular times for waking up and going to bed (A set routine is especially helpful if the person with dementia experiences sleep problems).
  • Include some flexibility in your day to allow for spontaneous interactions and activities.

Checklist of Daily Activities for Caregivers

As you begin to organize your daily caregiving routine, consider including time for these common routines and activities:

  • Household chores
  • Mealtimes
  • Personal care
  • Creative activities (music, art, crafts) that stimulate personal expression and self-worth
  • Spontaneous activities (such as visiting friends)
  • Intellectual activities (reading, puzzles and word games)
  • Exercise and physical activity (taking walks together)
  • Spiritual time

A Sample Checklist of Caregiver Routines by Time of Day

The following example of a caregiving routine provided by the Alzheimer’s Association® offers useful guidance on how you might organize your own day. Always remember, though, to be guided by your loved one’s unique habits and preferences in tailoring your own daily caregiving routine.

Morning Routine:

  • Wash, brush teeth and get dressed
  • Prepare and eat breakfast
  • Have a conversation over coffee
  • Discuss the newspaper, try a craft project, reminisce about old photos
  • Take a break, have some quiet time
  • Do some chores together
  • Take a walk, play an active game

Afternoon Routine:

  • Prepare and eat lunch, read mail, wash dishes
  • Listen to music, do crossword puzzles, watch TV
  • Do some gardening, take a walk, visit a friend
  • Take a short break or nap

Evening Routine:

  • Prepare and eat dinner, clean up the kitchen
  • Reminisce over coffee and dessert
  • Play cards, watch a movie, give a massage

Heather says, “After you’ve organized a daily caregiving routine that seems to work for you and your loved one with dementia, take some time to think about what activities work best and what could be improved.

“Also, don’t overdo it. You are only human, and you also have your own life needs to consider. You don’t have to have an activity for every minute of the day. Your loved one living with Alzheimer’s needs a balance of activities, breaks and rest – and as their caregiver, so do you!”

We encourage you to contact us with any questions you have on memory care or to schedule a tour. Also, we invite you to read our timely articles on dementia care topics posted on our website. In addition to providing exceptional memory care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, we are also an education and support resource for at-home caregivers throughout the Main Line.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions about our blog on The Caregivers Checklist of Routines for Your Loved One with Dementia, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences in our comments section.

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comfort of home. Our memory care community touches hearts and changes lives.

Helping Families Be “Family” Again

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.

If and when the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again.

For more information, please call Sharon at 484.380.5400 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.