Caregivers need life to run smoothly Caregivers are busy, tired, and sometimes overwhelmed. For those who spend a lot of time caring for an older adult, the last thing you need is more struggle in your life. Right now, you might have to battle your senior about daily activities (like when they should eat) or make endless decisions about what needs to happen next (breakfast before or after getting dressed?) Having daily caregiving routines that you can rely on reduces stress and headaches. Plus, a routine benefits your older adult too! What is a routine? A routine is doing the same basic activities around the same time every day. This gives structure and a natural flow to the day. For example, part of a regular daily routine for your older adult might be to wake up at 8am, use the toilet, brush teeth, comb hair, change from pajamas to regular clothes, then sit down to a hot breakfast of oatmeal and coffee. 5 ways routines make caregiving easier

  1. Stop the power struggles Older adults hate being told what to do. If there’s a consistent daily or weekly routine, you’re not just bossing them around. This activity (getting dressed, eating, bathing, etc) is just what we do at this time and they’ll be more likely to go with the flow.
  1. Increase cooperation Nobody likes surprises. When you and your senior know exactly what’s going to happen and when, stress and uncertainty are reduced. When older adults can anticipate the next activity, they can mentally prepare and will be more willing to participate than if they’re surprised by a seemingly random activity.
  1. Reduce the number of decisions you have to make Making decisions all day is tiring, even if they’re minor. Save mental energy by creating a routine and then sticking to it. Having most of the day pre-decided significantly reduces the number of choices you’ll have to make.
  1. Improve sleep Good quality sleep is essential for good health. Regular routines help older adults (and you!) get on a schedule. That will help both of you fall asleep more easily at night. And if your senior sleeps well, you’ll sleep better too.
  1. Build in time to enjoy each other With all the responsibilities of caregiving, it’s easy to forget about spending quality time with your older adult. Make it easier by building a few meaningful moments to connect into the daily routine.This could be as simple as starting each morning with a hug, ending the day with a bedtime song, or enjoying a nice walk in the park every Sunday afternoon.

Bottom line Establishing a consistent routine for your senior will help your days run more smoothly. Cutting down on uncertainty, arguments, and decision-making will definitely reduce your stress. It might even free up more energy and brainpower to help you find more ways to take care of yourself! By Connie Chow, Contributing Writer and Founder of DailyCaringImage: WebMD

Photo of Connie Chow, founder of DailyCaring
December 21, 2015
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