Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other progressive dementia can be an emotional roller coaster. Because dementia affects each person in different ways, no two days are the same. Some days fly by without you getting anything done. Other days go slowly and you worry if your loved one is getting bored. Whatever kind of day it is, you never have a minute to yourself. Creating a daily care plan can help structure your days, allowing you to spend more time on activities that are meaningful and enjoyable.
What is a Daily Care Plan?
A daily care plan is simply a list of each day’s activities and the time each activity will occur. It helps ensure your loved one’s needs are met. A daily Alzheimer’s or dementia care plan gives you a strategy to provide the best care for your loved one and yourself.
Set Up Expectations
People with dementia don’t always believe they need help, so power struggles can happen over daily tasks. Having clearly defined routines and predictable schedules may avoid conflicts and help you both feel more settled.
Consistency Creates Calm
We all function best if we stick to regular bedtimes, mealtimes and getting out of bed in the morning. A dementia care plan should try to keep those times consistent to make caregiving run smoothly.
A Plan Everyone Can Follow
A daily Alzheimer’s care plan keeps everyone informed of the day’s activities. It allows your loved one to easily see what’s next. Family, friends and other caregivers can also check the schedule to avoid repeating any activity or meal.
Make Your Plan Fit Your Loved One’s Preferences
When creating a daily care plan, take into account your loved one’s likes, abilities and interests. Everyone’s different, so create a plan that’s tailored to the individual. Consider the following before you make your plan:
- What did they used to like doing? It doesn’t matter how well they can do something now. What counts is that they enjoy it.
- What times of day do they function best? Use this time for appointments or social activities. People with dementia tire easily, because it takes intense concentration to make sense of their world.
- Does your loved one experience sleep issues? Many people with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia become restless as the sun goes down. Try to create a calm, quiet and predictable evening schedule.
Keep your plan as simple as possible. It’s the quality of the day, not the quantity of activities that matters. Adjust your schedule as needed for any activities that seem to overwhelm your loved one. And don’t forget to schedule time for yourself. It’s just as important to look after your own health.
So What Does a Daily Care Plan Look Like?
Everyone’s daily care plan will be different. Here’s an example from the Alzheimer’s Association to help you create your own plan.
- Wash, brush teeth, get dressed
- Morning medications
- 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
- 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
- Prepare and eat dinner, clean up the kitchen
- Evening medications
- Reminisce over coffee and dessert
- Play cards, watch a movie, give a massage
- Take a bath, get ready for bed, read a book
Memory Care at Timber Ridge
As you create your own dementia care plan, it’s also a good time to take a look at memory care facilities in your area. You never know when you might need a little daily help.
The memory care program at Timber Ridge is tailored to each person we care for. Residents can participate in a variety of engaging activities every day. Staff members are trained in Heartfelt CONNECTIONS – A Memory Care Program®. This nationally recognized model is built on a philosophy that what remains is more important than what’s been lost. We focus on each person’s remaining abilities and celebrate their successes. To learn more, visit the Timber Ridge Memory Care page.