With aging, loss of physical/cognitive ability and independence, there is a growing importance of establishing routines for the elderly in order to reduce the unpredictability of their days and consequent stress.
Following a daily routine is very important for both the elderly person and the caregiver(s). A lack of routine and stimulation in the elder’s life may have more detrimental implications than we think:
- At the level of the mind – The human brain also ages, and memory is one of the most affected parts, as well as difficulty in understanding and perception. The absence of routine and adequate stimuli is one of the factors that most aggravates these points, and may result in depression.
- On the body level – Including healthy habits and physical activity in an elderly person’s routine is extremely important to maintain their health and well-being, since the tendency is to lose physical condition. A balanced diet is also very important, eating without a defined routine can cause loss of appetite, digestion problems, and lack of essential vitamins, favoring other health problems.
Before organizing a daily routine for an elderly person, it is necessary to take into consideration:
- The individual’s needs and preferences;
The possible habits involving religion;
The health problems and physical limitations;
The personality, temperament, and level of independence.
The main goal of organizing a daily routine for an elderly person is to give more structure and predictability to their day, allowing:
- Reduce Stress
Stress and anxiety cause numerous health problems. Elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, among others, are often unable to have control over numerous situations and the feeling of insecurity and disorientation is potentiated. A predictable routine reduces stress and anxiety levels because in this way the elderly know exactly what they are going to do, how they are going to do it, and when, without having to worry about what is to come.
- Increase the sense of security
Most people don’t like to live with constant uncertainty, and in the case of the elderly it is even more evident. So planning your days according to routines gives you a greater sense of stability and security. Elderly people who suffer from memory problems or cognitive problems cope better when their daily routine is more predictable and organized.
- Improve sleep quality
Studies have shown that doing the same basic activities like eating, dressing, and bathing at the same time improves sleep quality. Physical activity and mental stimuli promote a sense of well-being, reducing anxiety and stress, which allows the elderly to rest more peacefully.
In addition to the above, it is also important to structure some social activities in the routine of the elderly, clearly complying with all the rules of distance and safety inherent in the current pandemic situation. Promoting short walks, stretches and walks in the open air is essential, and a specific day, or days, should be established for this type of activity.
Living in a Senior Home brings benefits at all these levels because these spaces are equipped with qualified professionals and all the necessary services to promote a healthy routine and consequent well-being of its residents!
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