You can’t always be there. But we can.
Challenging behaviors are a hallmark of dementia, and they can include behaviors such as acting out, wandering, and even aggression. One simple change, creating routines as a framework for your senior’s day, can help you to reduce some of the frustration she may be experiencing.
All Daily Tasks Are Basically a Routine
Starting new routines can be an intimidating thought, but you already have routines. Everything that you and your senior do throughout a day amounts to routines in the end. The problem might be that the routines you’re using right now aren’t the best fit for your needs or for hers. What you really need to do is to figure out how to make the day flow a little bit better, which involves tweaking what you’re already doing to make it more effective.
Routines Can Be Calming
Ineffective routines are anxiety-inducing. When your senior doesn’t know when breakfast is going to happen or how long it will be before she goes to her exercise class, that can cause confusion and frustration. All of that feeds into some of those behaviors that you end up having to manage later. When you find routines that work, they can help to soothe your senior and give her what she needs, when she needs it.
Mix Things up Now and Again
Routines are great and they’re definitely soothing, but one reason some people avoid them is because they can be boring. You can handle that by shaking things up now and again. You might want to try new hobbies and activities with your senior every couple of weeks or plan a day trip. Just because you have routines, that doesn’t mean that you can’t vary them once in a while to add a little excitement.
Your Needs Factor in, Too
It’s also really important for you to make sure you’re including yourself in any routines you’re creating. You’re a key part of this whole process and time for you means that you’re going to be better able to support your senior and her needs. You might want to consider not just regular daily routines for yourself but also other routines, like regular respite care provided by home care aides. Making time for respite and lining up home care providers ahead of time keeps everything moving seamlessly.
Routines don’t correct everything overnight, of course. But they do help your senior and therefore you to feel more secure and to have a better experience overall.