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Organization in Elder Care: Creating – and Changing – a Daily Schedule

Elder Care in Coconut Grove, FL

Planning is one of the most important aspects of successful elder care. Knowing what to expect and what needs to be done on a daily basis is crucial to helping you feel in control and enabling you to manage everything that needs to be done for your elderly parents as well as your children, your career, and your other obligations. Planning is also essential if you have a referred caregiver who comes into the home to provide care and assistance for your aging loved ones on a regular basis. Thorough planning lets you instruct the caregiver on your parents needs and gives you confidence they will give them the care they need and deserve.

When it comes to creating an elder care plan there are two concepts you must balance: clarity and flexibility. Clarity is vital to the organization and accuracy of the plan, while flexibility ensures you, your elderly parents, and their referred caregiver are all able to handle unexpected events and circumstances as they arise. Daily routines are particularly important if one or both of your seniors cope with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Routine keeps your loved ones feeling confident and helps reduce anxiety while giving each day a more predictable flow.

Creating a daily schedule starts with making a list of all the things that your aging parents do, or should do, on a daily basis. This way you can evaluate the amount of time necessary for each and create a schedule based around those time constraints. As some activities are only performed a few times each week rather than every day, you may want to create written schedules for each different “type” of day so there is no confusion.

Some of the activities to include in your daily elder care plan can include:

  • Times to wake up and go to sleep. This is particularly important if your elderly parents suffer from insomnia or sundowners
  • Bathing
  • Grooming
  • Preferred meal and snack times
  • Naps or quiet times
  • Creative activities
  • Physical activities
  • Entertainment times
  • Outings
  • Daily walks
  • Pet care times
  • Medication reminder times

Once you have a complete list of the activities you need to accomplish for your parents each day, break those activities into “morning”, “afternoon”, and “evening” segments. Further break these down into hourly sections to provide a step-by-step structure to each day. When making this scheduling, remember that many activities take longer for elderly adults than they do for younger adults. Be sure to set aside plenty of time for activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating so there is no pressure when these activities take longer than you may expect.

Organization is only one part of maintaining a successful elder care plan. You must also prepare your plan with flexibility in mind. Even the best-structured days can go awry, particularly when you are caring for aging adults with physical, mobility, cognitive, or health challenges. New needs can arise suddenly, so it is important to be able to adjust to these needs and keep your care moving forward. Try these strategies for staying flexible with your plan:

  • Have plenty of activity options throughout the day, but do not firmly schedule every minute. This gives you versatility if an activity takes longer than you expect.
  • Determine the most important activities on your schedule and highlight those. These are what you absolutely must accomplish during the day and as long as you get them finished, consider the day a success. Prioritize the other activities and try to do them as your schedule dictates, but be willing to adjust what you do according to your parents’ needs and mood on that particular day and keep your focus on meeting those primary goal activities.
  • Take a few minutes every morning to review the schedule and reaffirm to yourself that you are prepared to take on the day, give your parents the care they need, and accept new challenges as they come. Relinquishing total control over how the day proceeds makes it easier and less stressful for you to modify your care to best accommodate your parents’ needs.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Miami-Dade, FL, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (305) 400-0766