Create a daily plan to help caregivers of those with dementia

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5 months ago
Create a daily plan to help caregivers of those with dementia

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Daily routines can be helpful for both you — the caregiver — and the person living with dementia. A planned day allows you to spend less time trying to figure out what to do, and more time on activities that provide meaning and enjoyment.

Organizing the day

A person with Alzheimer’s or other progressive dementia will eventually need a caregiver’s assistance to organize the day. Structured and pleasant activities can often reduce agitation and improve mood. Planning activities for a person with dementia works best when you continually explore, experiment and adjust.

Before making a plan, consider:

The person’s likes, dislikes, strengths, abilities and interests
How the person used to structure his or her day
What times of day the person functions best 
Ample time for meals, bathing, and dressing
Regular times for waking up and going to bed (especially helpful if the person with dementia experiences sleep issues or sundowning)

Make sure to allow for flexibility within your daily routine for spontaneous activities.

As their disease progresses, the abilities of a person with dementia will change. With creativity, flexibility and problem solving, you’ll be able to adapt your daily routine to support these changes.

Checklist of daily activities to consider:

Household chores
Mealtimes
Personal care
Creative activities (music, art, crafts)
Spontaneous (visiting friends)
Intellectual (reading, puzzles)
Physical
Social
Spiritual
Work-related (making notes)

Writing a plan

When thinking about how to organize the day, consider:

Which activities work best? Which don’t? Why? (Keep in mind that the success of an activity can vary from day-to-day.)
Are there times when there is too much going on or too little to do?
Were spontaneous activities enjoyable or did they create anxiety and confusion?

Don’t be concerned about filling every minute with an activity. The person with Alzheimer’s needs a balance of activity and rest, and may need more frequent breaks and varied tasks.

Daily plan example (for early- to middle-stages of the disease)

Morning

Wash, brush teeth, get dressed
Prepare and eat breakfast
Have a conversation over coffee
Discuss the newspaper, try a craft project, reminisce about old photos
Take a break, have some quiet time
Do some chores together
Take a walk, play an active game

Afternoon

Prepare and eat lunch, read mail, wash dishes
Listen to music, do crossword puzzles, watch TV
Do some gardening, take a walk, visit a friend
Take a short break or nap

Evening

Prepare and eat dinner, clean up the kitchen
Reminisce over coffee and dessert
Play cards, watch a movie, give a massage
Take a bath, get ready for bed, read a book

?In general, if the person seems bored, distracted or irritable, it may be time to introduce another activity or to take time out for rest. The type of activity and how well it’s completed are not as important as the joy and sense of accomplishment the person gets from doing it.

Source: Alzheimer’s Association Caregiving blog.

We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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The post Create a daily plan to help caregivers of those with dementia appeared first on Family Caregivers Online.

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Jordan M
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