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Caregiving: Why Is Routine Important?

Quality Caregivers Prioritize Routine

Predictable schedules are probably best for everyone, but this becomes especially true as we age.  Surely, you’ve heard someone say that humans are “creatures of habit?” Consistent schedules remind older adults of what’s ahead, bringing a sense of comfort to them. When someone suffers from dementia, daily structure and routine provided by their caregiver is even more important.

Structured Routines Provide Feelings of Security

Structured routines for daily meals, bathing or dressing provide feelings of security for most older adults. Typically, they sleep better as a result of regular sleep and wake up times, too.

Elderly people struggling with dementia become less confused with structured caregiver routines. Sometimes, a dementia patient might forget what was done earlier that day, but he or she will sense what’s coming next in the day’s schedule. Regularly scheduled dining times prevent hunger pangs, reducing considerable stress in dementia patients, who may otherwise have behavioral challenges for the caregiver.

Keeping a regular schedule means less planning for the caregiver and an appreciation of each moment enjoying the person being cared for.

Plan the Routine

Plan the routine with the adult first 

Plan the routine around the person being cared for. When planning meal times, daily care or activities, consider the time of day that the adult seems to function best. When the older adult already has a routine, don’t change it. If he or she is happy waking up early for toast and coffee, let them keep the routine. Keep any adult’s routine as stable as possible.

You’ll need flexibility as well as routine

Keeping a routine is vital, yet flexibility is needed, too. Occasionally, the person might not feel well and will need additional rest, but on good days, an unplanned activity like a walk can feel perfect.

Keep variety with scheduled activities, too 

Schedule activities for each week, yet add some variety, too. Try different types of exercise and cognitive challenges. Add spiritual nourishment and different social events. What hobbies were pursued in the past? Perhaps the caregiver can modify undertakings that are now too difficult.

Keep everything in its place

As a caregiver, only rearrange personal belongings in the home for safety reasons. It can cause confusion and frustration for an elderly adult.

Could your loved one benefit from additional assistance? Home Care Assistance will provide as little or as much in-home help to older adults as needed. Call the Home Care Assistance office nearest you today for more information!

How To Tell The Difference Between Delirium And Dementia

Mental confusion and acute emotional distress can be symptoms of delirium and dementia, which would make it easy to confuse the two illnesses with each other. However, these are two distinctly different medical problems, and it’s critical for caregivers and community medical staff to understand their differences. Delirium commonly affects older patients and is often seen as a complication in hospital admission for the elderly.

How do you recognize delirium?

Delirium is an acute problem, with a patient displaying confusion, disrupted attention, muddled speech and sometimes hallucinations. Delirium is diagnosed by behavioral observation of the patient and medical help is necessary when someone displays potential symptoms. It’s usually a temporary condition and is typically reversed after the root source is treated.

The following are common triggers of delirium:

  • Drug interactions
  • Head trauma
  • Infections
  • Liver failure
  • Dehydration
  • Brain tumors

Facilities and hospitals that offer senior care commonly see older people with delirium. It can be triggered by alcohol or drug abuse, UTIs, pneumonia, or other illness. Other things that can become problematic are medical or dental procedures using anesthesia, high fever, sleep deprivation or heightened emotional stress.

Symptoms of delirium:

  • Disturbing emotional displays
  • Extreme or fluctuating mood changes
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Inattention or inability to focus
  • Disorganized thinking / cognitive problems
  • Lack of awareness of the environment
  • Delusions or hallucinations

How can one differentiate delirium from dementia?

At a glance, they may seem similar, but delirium starts abruptly and can fluctuate from day to day or hour to hour, whereas dementia manifests itself slowly over long periods of time. Dementia is considered irreversible.

Mental confusion is displayed with both, but it’s critically important to understand the distinct differences when caring for an elderly person.

Why is it important to understand the difference?

Delirium is a sign or symptom of a serious medical issue. It could even be a reaction to a medication spiraling to a medical emergency. Delirium must be medically treated as quickly as possible or it can cause permanent problems or even death.

Delirium goes all too often unrecognized by medical professionals because symptoms can be so easily attributed to dementia, instead of the serious immediate problem that it is. Emergency help is needed when symptoms of delirium are noted.

Often, older dementia patients develop delirium during a hospital stay, but once the underlying cause is being treated, caregivers can provide a quiet, safe and comfortable environment to help them calm down.

Does the senior in your life need dementia care in Dallas, TX?

Call Home Care Assistance of Dallas at (214) 216-6811 and let us provide you with a top of the line dementia care provider for your loved one.