Whether we are young or old, the fear of the unknown affects us all. As we age, however, our world may shrink as physical abilities, cognitive abilities and independence diminish. This exacerbates the unknown. If days are unstructured and unpredictable, fear and stress can increase. Having a regular daily routine for both the caregiver and the senior allows for less worry or thinking about what may happen next. Older adults and caregivers feel happier and healthier due to reduced stress, heightened feelings of security and better sleep patterns.
A routine is doing the same things at the same times each day, giving the day a structure and flow. It also makes it easier to remember if we have performed the expected daily tasks such as taking medication, dressing and eating. It is not necessary to be rigid about the schedule but rather provide structure and predictability.
When someone knows what is going to happen and can count on those around them to make it happen, there is reduced stress and anxiety. The older adult knows exactly what is happening, who will be helping them, how the activity will be done and when it will occur. Most people do not like surprises and uncertainty. A routine provides an increase in safety and security. According to a study at the University of Haifa, researchers found that performing basic activities such as eating, dressing and bathing every day at the same time improved sleep quality in older adults.
Knowing what comes next improves the quality of life for those we care for and those who are giving care.