When it comes to dementia caregiving, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Because each person is unique, the disease affects each person and their caregivers in different ways. Some days seem to fly by and you are so busy but you feel like you get nothing done. Other days drag and you worry about your loved one becoming bored. You never feel like you have a minute to yourself. No matter where you find yourself in your caregiving journey, and no matter which stage of dementia your loved one is in, a daily care plan can help provide a gentle structure and purpose to your day.
Learn more about creating a daily care plan for dementia caregiving.
What is a Daily Care Plan?
Simply put, a daily care plan is a written or visual description of each day. Its goal is to help ensure a person with dementia and his or her caregiver has all their needs met from day to day while staying as active and engaged as possible. Structured and enjoyable activities can help mitigate the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s, like agitation and anxiety, and can even improve the mood of the person with the disease and their caregivers.
Leisure Care’s innovative memory care program, Opal, revolves around seven pillars of wellness. It’s holistic and comprehensive – and includes a daily care plan. We sit with each resident and work through his or her Life Story to understand more about them, their likes, dislikes, motivations, victories, goals, and struggles. From there we create a daily care plan that is individualized for each person and works to support each resident on a personal level. We work closely with family members to create this plan and review it regularly to make changes as different needs arise.
A daily care plan is important for a person with dementia because it provides a structure and routine. It provides expectations, purpose, and keeps everyone informed of that day’s events – including your loved one with dementia. Friends, family, and other caregivers can take a quick glance and have a thorough understanding of your routine.
How to Create a Daily Care Plan
You don’t have to wait for a move to memory care to create your own daily care plan. Establishing a routine in the early stages of the disease is important as your loved one feels like he or she is losing control of their future. When creating a daily care plan for your loved one remember that although structure and routine are important, so is flexibility. Be willing to adjust your schedule as needed for any activities that seem to overwhelm your loved one with the disease.
Other important things to consider when planning your daily care plan include:
- Allowing unplanned time for last minute changes and time to rest between activities
- Increased time for dressing, bathing, and eating as the disease progresses
- Adapting activities as the disease progresses and abilities change
- Personal interests, likes, and dislikes
- Your loved one’s daily calendar before his or her diagnosis
- Your loved one’s highest and lowest functioning times of the day
- The effects of Sundowning on your loved one
- Ensuring a regular waking time and bedtime for sleep quality
Activities for a Daily Care Plan
Everyone’s daily care plan will look different – and it should. No matter how the disease affects your loved one, each person is different and their care plans should be too. Generally speaking, activities to include in your daily care plan are:
- Personal care (i.e. bathing, dressing, grooming)
- Medication schedule
- Regular medical appointments
- Cooking or meal preparation
- Household chores
- Arts and crafts (knitting, sewing, painting)
- Socializing with friends and family
- Skyping with long-distance friends and family
- Any therapies
- Spiritual care
Remember to revisit your daily care plan regularly and examine any changes that need to be made. Remove any activities that seem to overwhelm your loved one and make necessary changes as the disease progresses.
Have you created a daily care plan for your loved one? What have you learned from creating it? Has it helped provide structure and routine to your day? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.