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By Gina Sides, Memory Center Manager, Saint Simeon’s

Everyone needs a purpose for getting out of bed each morning. Without some type of incentive, people tend to become depressed, feeling as though they have nothing of value to offer society. The same holds true with dementia victims.

The best way to help dementia patients cope effectively is to maintain a structured daily schedule.

Individuals with dementia have difficulty handling change.

As long as dementia patients are still able to process information, it is helpful to write a daily calendar for them to see what will be taking place that day.

Even when dementia patients are beyond being able to read and process information effectively, by reading the schedule to them, they feel as though they have a part in the event.

At home, it may be helpful for the caregiver to post a daily calendar on the refrigerator as a guide. It’s best if tasks are scheduled at the same time daily. Discover the patient’s likes and dislikes and plan accordingly.

While creating your daily calendar, be sure to include the following:

  1. Regularly scheduled times medications should be taken.
  2. A toileting schedule every 2-3 hours while awake.
  3. Bathing time (setup items in advance to test the water before putting the patient in it to ensure that it is not too hot or cold).
  4. Daily dressing and mouth care (place clothing in the order that patient will be putting clothing on and allow patient to dress him/herself to the extent that they can dress appropriately.
  5. Meal times and snack times.
  6. As appropriate, set a daily exercise routine. Outdoor walks or indoor exercise provide positive stimulation to prevent boredom and agitation while attributing to physical fitness.

The overall goal for creating an individualized daily calendar is to provide a better quality of life for the patient. When placed in an area where the dementia patient can see it and refer to it, such a tool relieves stress for both the dementia patient and the caregiver.

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