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Setting a Daily Routine: The Benefits for Seniors

Setting a Daily Routine: The Benefits for Seniors

Studies show that a routine that includes an early wake-up and some form of activity helps older adults reduce stress and be happier and healthier.

According to Dr. Stephen Smagula, assistant psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh, “Activity can include any type of mental, physical, or social stimulation.” Moreover, regular activity throughout the day can help combat depression and cognitive decline.

Read on to learn about the benefits of setting a daily routine.

Five benefits of a daily routine for seniors

1. Keeps medications and meals on track

Without a routine, it’s easy to forget to have a meal or take medications on time. Writing out a daily routine can help you remember to eat and take your meds regularly. Don’t just write things like “7:30 a.m.: eat breakfast”; rather, plan simple, nutritious menus, prepare your meals in advance and make a note to take your meds before or after you eat.

2. Improves sleep quality

Studies show that routines create better sleep patterns. With a rigorous wake-up and bedtime schedule, coupled with adequate mental stimulation and physical exercise during the day, seniors can fall asleep faster unaided, stay asleep until morning, and improve their sleep quality, mood, thinking skills, and physical abilities.

3. Lowers anxiety

With a written overview of the day’s activities, seniors and caregivers can avoid the stress and anxiety of not knowing or remembering what to do throughout the day, improving everyone’s mood and sleep quality. Even if a senior has difficulty following their routine, their caretaker can help them find comfort in habitual activities, meals, and rest.

4. Improves physical and mental health

“Physical activity is something I prescribe to my patients all the time,” says Dr. Ian Neel, geriatrician at University of California, San Diego Health. A structured activity routine can include hygiene tasks, meals, and medications, along with the following:

  • Short morning and afternoon walks
  • Basic stretching or calisthetics
  • Crosswords, sudoku puzzles and other games
  • Volunteering 
  • Baking treats and delivering them to neighbors

Daily physical and mental exercise improves range of motion, muscle mass, and stability while keeping cognitive skills sharp.

5. Maintains bonds with family and friends

Scheduling recurring visits with friends and family — weekly or monthly, for example — allows seniors to retain a sense of community. As adults age, it’s common to feel more isolated, especially once they stop driving.

Social activities like chatting over coffee for an hour, playing a game, going out for a walk, or having a bite to eat maintains connections with loved ones. Even the physical contact of a hug hello or goodbye does wonders for one’s well-being.

Creating a routine for seniors

Routines for seniors should fit the needs and capabilities of each individual. For example, people with weakening memory do well with a structured schedule with all necessary daily tasks written out in order with a time to perform them, whereas living more independently may only need to follow set times for waking up, going to bed, getting exercise, preparing meals, or going to church.

No matter how you plan a daily routine, everyone can benefit from the structure and the boost in mental and physical health it provides. Independent living at The Oaks at Denville gives you an engaging lifestyle rich in friendships, conveniences, and activities, right where you live. Contact us to find out more.

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