One important rule all caregivers should adopt.

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Caring for an elderly person with friendliness. There are no hard and fast rules for caring for the elderly. But there is one important rule that all care givers should adopt and champion and that rule is always establish a routine. In may ways elderly people are like children, and routines provide a reassuring structure to their day when the world outside is becoming an increasing confusing and hostile place to inhabit.


Totally agree. If we alter my mom's schedule much at all we pay for it so as to speak. Very much like having a toddler and deviating form their routine..they react and sometimes not is a good way!The first time I realized this was several years ago when we took my mom with us to my son's house for a birthday party. Of course their we more people, meals were not on time and the noise too. Its not fair to her, to me or to my host(son) to put any of us through that. She stays home now. Of Course with a caregiver, myself or someone, always as she has become that needy and for safety reasons. But we do not take her out of her comfort zone.
@cernahome12 I agree with you...and I have a funny story to share to illustrate your Mom.

After Mom was admitted to the nursing home, we had a care plan meeting to discuss rehab, medications, everything...

After 45 minutes or so of going through (what I thought was) everything, I turned to Mom and asked her if there was anything else on her mind. And there was...

When residents were brought into the TV room it was interfering with the "Law and Order" marathon on Tuesday's on the USA Network! Her favorite show was on from 900 am - 1100 pm and she was missing episodes because that's not the channel that was on in the TV room!!!

So I worked it out where the staff left her alone on Tuesday's (they had to install an alarm on the wheelchair so they would know if Mom tried to get up on her own).

So you are absolutely right. Don't mess with the routine!
I totally agree with routine being important. I believe this is one of the reasons my husband had such a dramatic downturn last Christmas. Despite all my efforts to keep his routine going in my absence, nothing went according to plan. I'm sure there was some other factors that played into his sudden, dramatic and very negative change, but without his routine, everything went sour. I try very hard to keep things on a schedule, especially his meds, because he takes different things at different times during the day The evenings are the worst when he takes his Parkinson's meds at 6pm then has to take his cornucopia of evening pills at 8. He insists that he already took them so I have to be sure he sees me take them out of the evening section of that weekday so he doesn't think he's doubling up. It is very much like have a toddler...I have 3 grandchildren under the age of 5 so I know how important schedules and routines are. Heck, I get cranky, too, when I can't do what I should be doing at a certain time! A little OCD or something??? Nah, it's just so much easier to stay with a routine than haphazardly doing things. Always been a planner/scheduler/rule follower and I guess that isn't going to change. I'm glad the people at @cernahome's Mom's NH went along with the TV program schedule. We need to give our loved ones whatever joy they can find.
As an 87 year old guy who has been an obsessive-compulsive all my life, I am increasingly experiencing annoyance when my routine is varied. As I get older, I'm sure I will get more irritable. So stick to the routine with whomever you are caring for. You'll save yourself many unpredictable hassles.
im having promblems trying to keep my moyher in law on a routine
Another rule that comes in handy: When taking your elder out for appointments, allow twice as much time to get ready as you think you need. What used to be a 1 hr prep time is now a 2 hr prep time, and I've discovered that tempers are less likely to flare if we just allow that extra time in the schedule. I don't schedule any appointments now before 11 am. Mom needs to get up and sit on an ice pack before doing anything. She needs an hour for pain medication to work. Only then can she start getting ready. Since she doesn't get up until 7:30 - 8, that makes 11 am the earliest we can do anything. Take into consideration your own elders impairments when scheduling appointments. If they're not good late in the afternoons, don't schedule them then. Allow enough time so they don't feel hurried. My Mom says that if she feels hurried she gets very scattered and flustered. She says "my hurry doesn't work anymore". She literally will start shaking all over until we get in the car and sit down and she can relax.
Hasn't this Routine been brought up before n another area. I agree too that routine is the key to success.
Equillot brings up a great point about allowing extra time...even DOUBLE the get anything done and to get husband has gotten slower and slower over the past few it's far worse....he has to "rest" in between everything. I try to allow him the extra time...I have to keep reminding him to do things, too. Just the nature of the "beast".
Routine is absolutely essential. And yep, that extra time in getting ready for appointments sure does alleviate caregiver frustration and stress. I've learned to let Mom sleep as long as i can on the day of an appointment or appointments. Then i start waking her up gently. First with her milkshake, then when she's awake and alert, breakfast, then up for bathing, changing, hair washing, getting dressed etc. I take time for breaks in between tasks. Breakfast, then a rest time, then potty and bathing and a gown until it's time to get dressed. Then a break while I get ready to go and get the car out and ready for transport. Everything is time and working to keep the smooth transition. It's painfully hard sometimes at the doctor's office when appointment waiting time can seem like forever and a day. My Mom is diabetic so I have to remember to take applesauce, yogurt or apple juice with me for long appointment times. Extra drink in her own cup is also helpful. It's almost carrying a diaper bag but we have to remember that our parents or spouses have to eat, they have to be stable and kept as normal as possible when it's time to go somewhere. Every now and then we take a small road trip or just check into a hotel for a night to have a change of scenery. Like a mini-vacation. Just relaxing, having dinner somewhere and breakfast at the hotel is a special time and helps to break the monotony and I agree with someone who said earlier that the neurologist asked about trips or concerts or something. These outings are definitely important. I did learn a couple of weeks ago that while I love for Mom to get out and see her grandkids and great grandkids and attend birthday's etc, it was very hard on her to take her to Peter Piper's for my nephew's 10th birthday. Yikes, we managed to stay till they did the birthday cake but it was definitely time to go after that. Once we were back in the car, safe and sound and "quiet" she was a totally different person. At Peter Piper's she got to the point where she hung her head down on the table and slumped over in her wheel chair because it was too much for her. We all have to keep learning and growing to manage. I've noticed that when I finally started to keep up with my own medications and started taking my depression medication again, it has really helped me to feel so much better and have so much more patience.
In the last year I have found that my mother need to stay in her normal routine. For the past year has been going to adult daycare which she considers her "job". I have tried taking her to my sisters or brothers to help give me a break but that doesn't work. She gets confused when she is out of her normal routine. After our thanksgiving in 2012 have decided she can't go on trips anymore. She loves the idea of going on vacation but when it actually happens its a disaster. The only bad part now is trying to find a caregiver that can handle my mom. She is beginning to need more help having problems, sleeping, eating and dressing herself. I'm even to the point I need to look for a different job so I can work daytime hours. My brother stops by to check on her but then if she is upset or needs something he will text me to help right away which I can't since I'm at work. I have told all my siblings they are going to have to visit because its too hard for her now to get out of her routine.

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