Why Routines are Good for Seniors

a handwritten list of things to do today

Consistency and routine are valuable to all and necessary to many. Northwestern Medicine explains that “people are creatures of habit, and routines offer a way to promote health and wellness through structure and organization.” For seniors, health and wellness are a concern and a priority. Daily routines offer more than just a few benefits for aging adults and can be a critical element in adult behaviors, sleep habits, appetite, mood, health, and overall well-being. 

This is a Wednesday list that SYNERGY HomeCare’s brand ambassador, Grandma Lill, 89, uses every day. While her daily calendar largely looks the same, she makes exceptions to add weekly chores such as laundry or grocery shopping and removing more strenuous plans such as swimming. For the most part, each day includes exercise, socializing and well-planned meals, followed by restful sleep.

Stress Reduction

Routines allow seniors to spend less time trying to figure out what to do, and more time on activities that provide meaning and enjoyment. This isn’t just a benefit to seniors but also to their caretakers. Knowing what to expect each day can minimize stress and reduce the chaos that can happen in life and create room for hobbies, socialization and much more. 

Many seniors suffer from health problems like anxiety, depression and cognitive problems that cause stress and confusion. Simple tasks like personal hygiene can become difficult and cause stress. Routines in daily living can help seniors manage everyday tasks and create a sense of control and independence that many aging adults feel a lack of as their mental and physical health starts to decline. 

Healthier Eating Habits

Seniors who do not plan out meals can miss out on essential nutrients that they need in their diets. Forgetting meals or forgetting to go to the grocery store to buy food are typical problems for aging adults as well. Advance meal planning can help seniors stay on track with diets and balance daily nutrition, and it can also help improve sleep habits and mood. 

For seniors who aren’t able to grocery shop or plan and prepare meals, home care services provide such a service to ensure they are eating well and as planned.

Better Sleeping Patterns

Many factors affect the sleeping habits and patterns in the elderly. Poor exercise, medical problems, medication, appetite, and stress are just some factors that cause a decline in the quality of sleep. Aging adults require 7-8 hours of sleep each night for their bodies to heal appropriately and to perform crucial physiological processes. Good sleeping patterns can significantly increase overall health and quality of life – and good sleeping patterns can improve by implementing a consistent sleep schedule. 

Grandma Lill gives her daily lists a big thumbs up

Managing Dementia Symptoms

Daily routines offer benefits to anyone who follows them, however, for seniors with dementia, the benefits are much greater. Jed Levine, the Executive Vice President and director of programs and services for the New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association explains that people with dementia experience greater difficulty when attempting to do new things. Routine in daily living can help aging adults retain the ability to remember and perform daily tasks like brushing teeth, taking medications, and eating meals.

A high-quality of life is a primary goal for seniors but reaching that can be difficult. However, with the help of medical professionals and caregivers, seniors have a much higher chance of reaching this goal and improving mental, physical and emotional health. Just like any person, seniors are going to experience good and bad days, but keeping consistent routines and structures can provide opportunities for aging adults to get the most out of each and every day.  And give them something to look forward to.