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Establishing Daily Routines for Seniors with Memory Loss



For seniors with memory loss and for loved ones who help care for them, days can become highly unpredictable. In our previous articles on Dementia in particular, we’ve discussed how it does not just involve progressive memory loss but entails a lot of elements relating to confusion. These symptoms of confusion can lead to fear, irritation, unsafe behavior, and personality changes, making it difficult for those affected as well as their caregivers to establish safety and stability in their day-to-day. Daily routines can provide much-needed steadiness and structure and in this article, we aim to offer practical tips on how to establish them.


Daily Routines Matter.


Predictable routines can help seniors feel less anxious and confused and assist seniors in managing daily tasks and maintaining their independence. Having a strong, enjoyable daily routine creates a muscle-memory effect in everyone, including seniors with memory loss, and lets their brains follow better patterns throughout the day. Although flexibility is important, a routine can act as a baseline and an anchor to reality.


Some Tips For Creating a Daily Routine:


  1. Assess Individual Needs: Tailor the routine to the senior's unique needs, considering their abilities, preferences, and limitations.

  2. Consistency is Key: Stick to a consistent schedule for activities like meals, medication, and exercise.

  3. Visual Aids: Use visual cues, such as calendars, clocks, or written schedules, to reinforce the routine.

  4. Sensory Stimulation: Incorporate sensory activities like music, aromatherapy, or familiar objects to engage the senior.


Sample Daily Routine:

  • Morning: Wake up, wash, and dress. Breakfast at 8:00 AM.

  • Mid-Morning: Light exercise or a short walk.

  • Lunch: 12:30 PM.

  • Afternoon: Engage in a favorite hobby or activity.

  • Dinner: 6:00 PM.

  • Evening: Wind down with soothing music or reading.


The above is a very basic routine, so it’s important to add in elements like taking medications (which is best done at a set time and with the help of a reminder such as an alarm clock or a cellphone notification), using the bathroom for those with incontinence issues, etc.


What the provided sample routine aims to show, however, is the level of simplicity required. Having an extremely detailed, rigid routine with a packed schedule rarely works for seniors with memory loss and can lead to mental exhaustion and further confusion. Keep it as simple as possible!


Establishing daily routines for seniors with memory loss can significantly enhance their quality of life, providing comfort, stability, and a sense of purpose. By customizing routines and offering support, caregivers can help their loved ones navigate each day with confidence and dignity.


Senior Steps is a geriatric care management company that works with seniors and their families to provide guidance and assistance with medical, legal, and financial advocacy and planning, and help with activities of daily living. If you would like to speak with us about the services we offer to seniors and caregivers, please visit seniorsteps.org/book-online or message us through any of our social media platforms to book a FREE consultation call or a 2-hour virtual assessment.


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