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The Importance of Routine for Elderly with Alzheimer’s

By Greg Bridges, RN, MA, 9:00 am on

Given that Alzheimer’s affects a person’s memory, adhering to a comfortable and fairly consistent routine is often the best bet for easy, smooth days. This is especially important during the holidays when special events can result in major environmental and social changes that can be upsetting for people with AD. In honor of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Oklahoma Home Care Assistance is using this blog to highlight the importance of routine for seniors with Alzheimer’s.

Meals, Medication, and Personal Grooming

Establishing a consistent routine for meals, medication, and personal grooming is important. This routine will provide the framework for most days and reinforce the stability that seniors with AD need. Radical changes in when people eat, their basic care, and dosing schedules can result a lot of preventable confusion and may lead to outbursts or other aggressive behaviors. When changes need to be made to any portion of this routine, try implementing them one at a time rather than all at once.

Determining Which Activities Produce a Sense of Calm and Contentment

It may be possible to veer from a set schedule with minimal impact on your family member’s disposition if you’re careful to do so in a gradual fashion while remaining cognizant of the impact that these changes are having on his or her behavior. Inviting lots of guests over for a family dinner party will create a sudden and significant change that could be disconcerting. Having a few family members over for a brief visit is a much better way to gauge how your loved one is capable of responding to schedule and environmental changes. As AD progresses, it may be best to schedule in-home events after your loved one has gone to bed so that his or her schedule is never disrupted at all.

Identifying the Signs of Agitation Early On

It is important to determine which schedule changes are anxiety triggers and to recognize the developing signs of agitation. Rocking, clenching the hands, and mumbling indicate your senior family member feels uncomfortable, threatened, or out of sorts. If major environmental changes have occurred, try presenting him or her with a familiar item such as a favorite blanket or pair of slippers to alleviate these feelings. Take steps to limit excess noise and do your best to restore the home its normal state.

If you could use additional help meeting your loved one’s care needs during the holidays, turn to Home Care Assistance. Local families depend on our trusted Alzheimer’s care in Oklahoma to provide their loved ones high-quality care throughout the year. Our caregivers are expertly trained to meet the challenges of caring for a senior with memory impairment, and our dedicated Care Managers are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, please call 405-285-4191 and request a free in-home consultation.