I originally wrote this article several years ago – long before the COVID-19 virus. When I took the time tonight to re-read it, I realized that this concept of having a plan every day was even more important during these times of self-isolation.
When you ask centenarians the secret to their long life, the usual answers include good nutrition, exercise, and a positive attitude. You may also hear them suggest having a shot of whiskey or eating an apple every day.
Well, my story is about Mary, who lived until she was 101. She had some short-term memory loss, had cataract surgery when she was 96 and was able to read, and then watch TV with no glasses. I asked her caregiver of 4 years why Mary was living such an engaged and positive life. She replied, “It’s easy. Every morning when Mary wakes at 9AM, she asks me what we’re doing today. First, I hold up a paper that tells her the day of the week, date, and year. Then we review the day. I have a plan for Mary every day and I make sure that we do not do all of the errands – like grocery shopping – in one day.
When you stretch chores over the week, it can help to create the plan.” This concept also applies today during the challenges of the virus if everyone in the household is staying home and only going out when absolutely necessary. The activities would just be different and appropriate for the situation.
Here is a sample two-day plan (adjusted because of the virus) for Mary, which is the same every week with minor changes as needed:
- Monday – Breakfast, drive to the supermarket to buy fruit (driver goes in the store – Mary remains in the car), come home and have lunch, watch a particular show at 2PM, talk about the “old days,” have dinner, and then take a walk around the inside of the house before bed.
- Tuesday – Breakfast, visit with a friend on Facetime or Zoom (set up by her caregiver), have lunch, take a scenic ride in the car in the afternoon, watch a TV show, and then have dinner. Take a walk around the house and call her daughter in the evening before bed.
I won’t go through every day – you get the idea. The time of day for each part of the daily plan is the same each week, which ensures that Mary always has something to look forward to when she goes to bed at night.
When you are a caregiver, or if you have hired a caregiver to assist a family member, it’s important to take the time to help plan the schedule and commit it to writing so that all involved know what is expected.
So…let’s help our seniors look forward to today……..and the next day…….. and the next day!
If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in New Castle County, DE, call Griswold Home Care
and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (302) 416-6758