Memory support routines create a more accessible and predictable world for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia and are important for their quality of life. Memory support in a senior living community is specially designed to provide the routine and the structure these residents need.
How memory support routines are beneficial:
Reduces stress and anxiety.
Seniors who no longer have control of their lives may feel constantly stressed, anxious, and disoriented, often due to the fact they are unsure about what’s going to happen next or if their needs will be met. The predictable routine provided in a memory care setting reduces this stress because seniors know exactly what will be happening, who will be helping them, how the activity will be done, and when it will occur.
Daily structure helps decrease the undesired behaviors that often accompany dementia, such as Sundowner’s Syndrome. When caregivers provide a strict daily routine for their loved ones living with dementia, irregularities and anxiety can be reduced, creating a much more peaceful existence for the entire family. However, being able to provide such a consistent structure at home is often very difficult or even impossible for family members juggling work and family with caregiving. The daily structure and routine in memory support is often the preferable option for both reducing anxiety and agitation for the senior and frustration for the family caregiver.
Promotes a level of independence.
Developing and following routines help those in need of memory care navigate their world in a more predictable and understandable way. Having an “order” to their day—as is the case in a memory support setting—is not only empowering but also beneficial as their perception of time begins to fade. This is partly due to the fact that routines are stored in long-term memory, and dementia typically affects short-term memory first. So if a routine in memory support can be established early, it can be retained over a longer period of time.
Familiar faces build trust.
Persons with dementia function much better when they have familiarity. Familiarity is important because dementia gradually impairs the ability to plan, initiate, and complete an activity. Creating an environment of familiar routines and activities allows a person to feel comforted and calm. In addition, having a consistent team of specialized caregivers to help provide day-to-day supervision, guidance and support are also highly beneficial. These staff members understand that communication is often non-verbal and they know how to use visual cues to soothe and engage. When routine in memory support involves familiar, friendly faces, a senior can feel comfortable and protected.
Having a regular daily routine also helps older adults sleep better. A study found that doing the same basic activities like eating, dressing, and bathing at the same time every day improves sleep quality. Since many older adults have trouble sleeping through the night, creating a regular daily routine is a simple, non-drug way to improve the situation.
Enhances comfort and calm.
Most people with Alzheimer’s or dementia don’t like surprises and constant uncertainty. Having a routine in memory support lets your loved one feel safe and stable. Even though someone with dementia may not be consciously aware of the routine or even of the passing of time, going through a regular routine will make them feel more grounded and secure.
Our Memory Support program nurtures the individuality, knowledge and skills that remain to help your loved one experience meaning and joy in each day. Schedule a virtual or in-person tour to meet our team and learn more about life in a Senior Star community. And download the Family Decision Toolkit: Your A–Z Guide To Choosing The Right Senior Living Community.