Having dementia can make it difficult to learn new things, so implementing established routines can be calming and relaxing for a person who has dementia. We’ve put together ten helpful tips for keeping a consistent schedule for seniors with dementia.
Meal, Bedtime and Medicine Consistency
Try to keep a consistent and reliable daily schedule for the dementia patient’s meal time, bed time, and the daily time for medication intake. Establishing these routines can help with maintaining function and reducing anxiety for the person with dementia. It’s also important to break down activities into short segments because lengthy activities can become overwhelming for someone who is dealing with dementia. At our Martin Luther Campus memory care community, we provide assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, eating and personal care. We also create care plans that are personalized for each memory care patient to develop a comfortable routine.
Explain Activities Beforehand
A dementia patient may become stressed if he or she doesn't know what activities are coming next. Remind them about activities and events that are coming up and explain how much fun these activities will be! Depending on the person, something physical like a calendar or planner can be comforting. Beforehand, evaluate whether or not they will be able to do an activity, so frustration during the event can be avoided. At our Martin Luther Campus memory care community, we create all schedules with a senior’s abilities and comfort level in mind.
Limit the Amount of Travelling
Many persons who have dementia like to be in a familiar environment where they can feel in control of their surroundings. To avoid stress, ask family and friends to come visit your loved one instead of driving them to see other people. The more travelling that is done, the more likely that the person with dementia will feel nervous about being in an unfamiliar environment. At our Martin Luther Campus memory care community, we have communities that are designed to promote comfort and security so that residents will feel at home and in a familiar environment. We encourage family members to come visit their loved ones and we provide family support through education, handouts and community resources.
Allow for Some Independence
Once your loved one has gotten used to a consistent daily schedule and has practiced helping with some daily activities, they may be able to take on more tasks. These practiced activities can increase self-confidence and can help with maintaining as much independence as possible.
Give Conversational Confidence
Dementia most often impacts short-term memory, but long-term memories remain. When talking to a person experiencing a memory disorder, avoid discussion recent events or pop culture to minimize confusion. Instead, ask them stories about their life. You may be surprised at how much your loved one will have to say about a fond memory! It’s also important not to interrupt them, so they feel more confident.
Caring for someone with dementia often becomes frustrating. Your loved one may become more easily agitated and want to argue. Resist the urge to argue, instead cultivate compassionate responses. Acknowledge their feelings but offer a simple idea or shift the focus. “I can see why you’re upset. I would be too if that happened to me. Let’s take a break and have a cup of coffee: coffee always helps me think more clearly!”
While it is important to create a consistent schedule, it’s also important to be flexible. There will be good days and bad days. Some days, your loved one may not be able to do everything on their schedule. They may also resist – consider alternatives. For example, if they want to wear the same outfit every day, try buying a few identical outfits.
Certain tasks like bathing or medical appointments are best done when a person is alert and refreshed. When planning your schedule, consider your loved one’s energy level throughout the day. Schedule more challenging tasks when they’re generally most active and follow up with simple activities.
While engaging in activities, reduce distractions like TV, radio or cell phones. The less distractions for your loved one, the more they can focus.
Reach Out to an Expert
Caring for a loved one with dementia is overwhelming. At a certain point you may feel in over your head, and it’s important to know that it’s okay! You are not alone. If you need someone to talk to or feel like you need some help, our Memory Care experts at Martin Luther Campus are always here to talk and help you plan for the future. Call Amy at 952-948-5167 for more information and to schedule a tour today.
Martin Luther Campus is part of the Ebenezer family of Lutheran Senior Care Communities. We provide transitional care and assisted living apartments for seniors in Bloomington and Richfield. We also have adult day clubs and memory care programs for seniors living at home. We’re located at 1401 East 100th St. Bloomington, MN. Are you interested in transitioning to assisted living or do you have a loved one that needs assisted living? Call Amy at 952-948-5167 for more information and to schedule a tour today.
Director of Community Relations
Hello friends, my name is Kate and I'd love to share with you ALL of the wonderful things happening at Martin Luther Campus. Be sure to check our Blog, Lifestyle page and Facebook page often to stay updated on the happenings at our community!