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The Importance of a Daily Routine for Seniors

A consistent daily routine can be comforting for anyone, but it’s especially helpful for seniors. If you or an aging relative has felt anxious, disorganized, or stressed lately, establishing a routine could be the answer. Although adjusting to a daily routine can take some time, the benefits of having a routine are worth the effort.
 
To maintain or improve your mental health, you should understand why routine is important and how you can implement a daily routine that works for you.
 

The Following Are 6 Key Benefits of a Daily Routine for Seniors

 

1. Improves Daily Habits

 
Taking care of your physical health is more important than ever as you age. In many ways, your physical health is shaped by the small daily choices you make, so establishing a routine can greatly improve your well-being.
 
Everyone’s ideal daily routine is different, so you have to consider your own preferences and priorities when creating yours. In general, though, a good daily routine should include meal times, self-care, and exercise. If you usually prepare and eat your meals at the same time every day, you’re more likely to get consistent nutrition. If you build physical activity into your schedule, you’re more likely to follow through with an exercise plan. Similarly, following a consistent routine for self-care tasks can ensure that you stay healthy.
 

2. Improves Sleep Patterns

 
A regular sleep routine is vital for seniors. Quality sleep helps your body recover from the day, and it strengthens your mental and emotional health. As you age, your natural sleep rhythms shift, so you may have to re-establish your sleeping habits. Seniors often struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep, but following a routine reduces your risk of sleep problems.
 
A healthy sleep schedule involves falling asleep and waking up around the same time each day, but it also includes all of the steps you take to get ready for bed. For example, your nightly routine might include washing your dishes, brushing your teeth, and reading a chapter of a book. The more you follow this routine, the easier it will be to fall asleep on time because your body begins to expect it.
 

3. Reduces Stress

 
Stress is a common problem for seniors for a number of reasons. If you’ve recently been through a big life transition, such as retirement or the loss of a loved one, you might feel immense stress as you adjust to your new normal. Physical health problems are a major source of stress, too. Seniors who are in cognitive decline may also struggle with stress as they try to understand and connect to the world around them.
 
No matter the cause of your stress, having a routine helps. Your daily routine is a foundation that you can always rely on. Even if you feel extremely overwhelmed, frustrated, or upset, you can fall into the natural rhythm of your established routine. This provides a great sense of comfort and stability, and it ensures that you’re completing your daily tasks even when your stress levels escalate.
 

4. Increases Activity

 
Some seniors are naturally highly active and extroverted, and others prefer to stay at home. While there’s nothing wrong with having a quiet and introverted lifestyle, it’s important for seniors to get plenty of activity throughout the day. This improves your physical health as it keeps you moving, and it strengthens your mental and cognitive health by engaging your mind in a wide variety of different experiences.
 
For those who like to stay home, building a daily routine around hobbies and social events can be a great way to increase activity. For example, you could sign up for a class at your local library on Tuesday afternoons or meet a friend for coffee every Saturday morning. When you commit to a set day and time to get out of the house, you’re more likely to follow through with your plans. This boosts your overall activity level, which has countless advantages for your body and mind.
 

5. Establishes Safety and Security

 
If you or an aging loved one experiences anxiety, your daily routine may be your most important source of security. For many seniors, feelings of anxiety, stress, and chaos result from feelings of loss of control. You’re in charge of your own routine, though, so establishing and following your daily schedule can be a meaningful way to exert control over your life.
 
This is especially helpful for older adults in the early stages of dementia. Our minds latch onto routine and repetition, so maintaining a daily routine can help an individual with dementia feel more alert. When you typically follow the same schedule each day, you minimize the number of surprises you encounter. This helps you feel much more stable, safe, and secure.
 

6. Helps Caregivers

 
Not only are routines beneficial for seniors, but they’re also immensely helpful for caregivers. If you take care of an aging loved one, you might feel overwhelmed with the number of tasks on your to-do list each day. Caring for your relative can be a wonderful bonding experience, but it’s also a massive responsibility. By creating a routine, you reduce the burden on yourself to plan each day from scratch.
 
Creating a routine is one of the best ways you or your aging loved one can maintain health and wellness. By following a routine, you ensure that each day has a balance of rest, self-care, and activity. Seniors with stress or anxiety can feel more secure from a routine, and older adults with dementia can benefit from the predictability and repetition of a daily schedule. Your routine doesn’t have to be completely rigid and inflexible, but it should provide a framework for you to structure your day so that you feel grounded and relaxed.
 
Blue Moon Senior Counseling provides therapy services for seniors facing depression, anxiety, grief, loneliness, and many other concerns. Contact us today to learn more about how counseling for seniors could help you or your loved one.

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