The Power of a Daily Schedule for Your Loved One
May 3, 2017 - 4:42:22 PM

( - Dealing with frustration and anger in caregiving for your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia - either yours or their own? Overtime, dementia and memory loss physically impair a person’s ability to initiate and see tasks through, inducing feelings of helplessness and confusion. A fixed agenda for the day provides stability and structure that combats these feelings and helps your loved one feel more successful and in control.

Regular schedules benefit caregivers as well - as their own bodies commit even the slightest repeated actions to memory, they are able to manage caregiving duties and rely on their own senses and memory for success.

Benefits of a Daily Schedule

Predictability and familiarity are great friends to a person with dementia and memory loss. Experts suggest that actions and tasks repeated day after day help people translate that routine schedule to long term memory. This in turn:

Daily Schedule Reminders

A schedule that benefits your loved one must truly be tailored to their needs, strengths, mobility level, interests, and dislikes. Daily events that can easily be scheduled include times for:

On good days, encourage your loved one to choose a nostalgic free-time activity which they would enjoy, i.e. planting flowers or going shopping. Experts agree that incorporating as many routine activities from your loved one’s “pre-dementia” days into their new schedule is beneficial to their overall success as well. If your loved one enjoyed reading or doing puzzles, set up a specific time each day for them to do a crossword or read the paper. If they loved listening to music, play songs from their younger days or show them Youtube videos of old concerts by their favorite artists.

What if my loved one is in a facility?

If your aging parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s is being cared for in a facility or nursing home, there are typically structured schedules in place already for daily activities, meals, dosings, etc. As a caregiver, however, you can still incorporate consistency with your visits by keeping them regular and reintroducing pre-disease activities and things that help your loved one feel in control. For example, each Sunday you visit your loved one, bring flowers or a bar of their favorite chocolate they used to eat. The repeated visit with a specific item or action attached to it may stimulate your loved one’s brain function to connect Sundays with your visit, giving them a sense of control and satisfaction in remembering what day of the week it is.

As dementia and Alzheimer’s progress, deteriorating mental function will implore you to adjust the schedule, and explore new “best times” and activities that meet your loved ones new needs. Feelings of shame over their circumstances and a fear of being left alone that accompanies the progression of the disease invites outbursts, fidgeting, and threatening behavior. A fixed routine may take exploration and experimentation, but its benefits will definitely resonate with you and your loved one, one day at a time.


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