Everyone wants to have a purpose throughout the day, and a daily routine can help to provide a purpose. Understanding what you want and need to get done throughout the day and organising it in a structured way can help ensure those tasks get done. The blog will touch on the definition and key benefits of a daily routine, also address the importance of a routine for those living with dementia.
What is a daily routine?
Sometimes we don't realise how vital our routine is to us until the routine is disrupted. When a routine does not go to plan, it can cause anxiety or stress, and when we do not have a routine, the day can slip by without completing the tasks we had hoped to. An example of an everyday routine is a simple morning routine of waking up at a set time, using the restroom, brushing teeth, getting dressed, having breakfast, drinking tea and taking medications. When establishing a routine for an older adult, it is essential to consider what their typical day has looked like and set up a simply structured and predictable routine. Routines help provide structure to the day as well as security.
If a change to a routine needs to be made, it can be challenging to turn this new routine into a habit. One helpful tip is attaching the new habit or routine to an existing one. As an example, if you need to incorporate taking medication into your routine. Consider attaching this new routine to an existing one, like making breakfast in the morning. If you have an existing habit of making breakfast in the morning, develop a new habit of also grabbing and taking your medications when you sit down with your breakfast, it can make taking the medication much easier to remember. Over time, taking the medication each morning with your breakfast will become part of your routine.
Key Benefits of having a routine
Routines can have a positive impact on daily life and health. An established routine can help improve sleep, reduce anxiety, feel safe and secure and better your health.
Improve Sleep: A study found that routine helps to reduce insomnia and improve the quality of sleep. Changes in our biological clock as we age are normal, and this could cause a decrease in the quality of our sleep. It was found even with these changes occurring, establishing a daily routine can help improve the quality of sleep.
Reduce Anxiety: Routines provide the individuals with structure, so they know what is coming next. Understanding what may come next can help reduce any stress or anxiety they feel; it helps to reduce the unknowns. Routines are beneficial in lowering anxieties for those with cognitive impairment, and it helps outline a purpose for the day. Additionally, it can reduce the fears they may have regarding the feeling of being a burden for caregivers.
Feel Safe and Secure: A daily routine helps provide a sense of control over the day and, therefore, control and independence in their life. The routine provides stability.
Better Health: Following a routine allows for scheduling time to exercise and prepare healthy meals. On top of exercise and nutritious meals, being able to have a good night's sleep will also help in keeping you in good health.
The importance of having a routine for those living with dementia
Having a long-standing routine can benefit those living with dementia and their caregivers alike by giving them a feeling of calm and control over the day. For those that are having challenges with their memory, familiarity is critical. A long-standing routine helps with the memory lapses and can provide some structure for tasks to be completed. Over time those living with dementia may experience difficulty completing tasks, trying new things, coming up with a plan; therefore, an existing routine can be used as a touchpoint and reduce the individual's feelings of anxiety or embarrassment. Alzheimer's Association also provides a great sample of a daily schedule for dementia patients.