Have you heard the expression: “We are creatures of habit”? Our daily routines are a huge part of our lives, and they’re also important to our mental well-being as a whole. If you’re in school or in the corporate world, then your daily routine is most likely a 9-5 schedule Monday through Friday. Older adults who’ve retired, however, often find themselves not having a consistent daily routine. This can lead to feelings of restlessness, and the lack of structure can have negative impacts on their mental health.
A senior’s daily routine can also be impacted by changes in their mobility. We will all experience the effects of aging, and whether it’s gradual mobility loss or more sudden due to illness or injury, physical changes can result in disruptions to daily routines. In this article, we will go over three main reasons why it’s important for seniors to develop a daily routine, despite their retirement status and mobility level.
It Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Imagine waking up and not having any idea what each day will entail. Unpredictability makes us feel anxious, so creating a daily routine is a great way to cope with these feelings. A routine can be especially important for older adults who have dementia because it helps foster a sense of security that they may have lost after their diagnosis.
Seniors who aren’t physically able to take care of themselves or engage in the activities they once loved can also benefit from a daily routine. Work with them to create a schedule that dictates who will be taking care of them, exactly what tasks the caregiver will be doing, and when these tasks will occur. This will help remove some of the stress they feel about losing independence.
Increase Feelings of Safety and Security
No one enjoys constant insecurity, and with some very specific exceptions, most of us do not enjoy unplanned surprises. Creating a daily routine helps your senior loved one cultivate feelings of stability and safety, and allows them to have more control over their day. Rather than dictating their routine to them, we recommend sitting down with your loved one and discussing it together. Start with the basics: wake-up time, breakfast, medications, showering, and getting dressed for the day.
When your loved one can look at their calendar and know what’s coming in the days ahead, it helps them feel more in control of their own life.
Improves Sleep Duration
Getting adequate sleep is crucial for people of all ages, but it’s especially important for seniors, who sometimes tend to sleep less as they get older. Lack of sleep has negative impacts on both physical and mental health, so creating a bedtime routine is one way to encourage healthy sleeping habits.
We recommend creating a bedtime routine that your loved one can do at the same time every night. Includes things like brushing your teeth, showering, locking all the windows and doors, changing into pajamas, and any other relaxation techniques they want to do before bed. It can be tempting to simply fall asleep on the couch while watching TV, but this doesn’t result in good quality sleep and they’ll likely wake up in the middle of the night feeling disoriented.
If you have any questions about helping your loved one create a daily routine, or if you have any questions regarding senior care at United Methodist Communities, please contact our team today: https://umcommunities.org
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/blog/daily-routine/