Most people with dementia often lose the ability to plan and organize their day independently, which can lead to anxiety, boredom and frustration. Planning your day in advance helps create a predictable and stable routine for both the caregiver and the person receiving the care.
Organizing activities that are appropriate for the person’s current strengths, interests and abilities are key to a successful day. Here are some tips to help you plan a peaceful day together:
Have a weekly meal plan with ingredients for preparing breakfast and lunch together. This will give you an activity to do together, keeping your loved one engaged and feeling accomplished. You can also make planning the meals, making grocery lists and shopping an activity to do together.
Dinner may be too much for them to participate in late in the day and you may be too tired to have the patience for that. Ordering out, asking for family and friends to provide pre-made meals or simply preparing or heating something simple yourself can be an easier way to end the day.
The timeframe between breakfast and lunch should have 2 key elements, cognitive activity and exercise.
A cognitive activity can be a craft or some type of word association game — anything that uses concentration, thinking and recall memory.
Exercise can be a walk outside, an exercise video or simple chair exercises that you lead, and It should last at least 30 minutes.
After your mid-morning activities and before lunch, have a time for rest. Pre-plan an interesting show to watch, possibly a documentary or travel video. This will give your loved one some downtime after a busy morning.
Then you can begin your lunch preparation together. Try some nice music in the background and have some topics ready to discuss to make the meal last a little longer.
Have your loved one rest after lunch with a book or just sitting and listening to music. This may give you some much needed time to regroup. Then spend the rest of the day by playing a game, exercising again and tea-time with a tasty snack.
Trying different activities at different times of the day will allow you to develop the best routine for both of you. When you have a solid plan, you can pass it along to a friend, family member or paid caregiver to follow while they step in to care for a day. Remember, you need time away to care for yourself to be able to continue to care for someone else.
Setting up a structured plan for loved ones is what Elder-Well is all about. Feel free to email me anytime at email@example.com for advice on how to care for your loved one, or to learn about how you can bring our pioneering program to your community.