Caring for a parent or senior loved one with dementia involves many skills, such as providing daily caregiving tasks, household management and participating in decision-making. With so much to do and so little time, establishing a daily care plan can help caregivers spend more meaningful time on productive activities with loved ones with dementia.
Learn more about how to create a checklist and daily care plan for dementia during this time.
How to Create a Daily Checklist and Care Plan for Dementia
As a caregiver, organizing a daily checklist and care plan for dementia can improve the overall wellbeing of you and your senior loved one with the disease.
Getting involved in enjoyable, structured activities can lower negative behavioral symptoms (such as agitation and anxiety) for people with dementia and help to improve the mood of both caregiver and care recipient.
The best strategy for creating a daily checklist and care plan for dementia is to continue to be on the lookout for new things to do that everyone can equally enjoy. Remember to adjust the daily schedule as needed and to be flexible. For example, if a planned activity causes the person with dementia to become anxious or confused, be prepared to change it up the following day or week.
Consider using this checklist while creating a daily care plan for dementia:
- Brain training activities (crossword puzzles, online programs, reading and more)
- Creative activities (including arts, crafts, listening to or playing music)
- Eating schedule
- Healthy meal planning
- Hobbies (gardening, knitting, sewing etc.)
- Household chores (dishes, house cleaning, laundry)
- Medication schedule
- Personal care for ADL’s (bathing, dressing, oral hygiene, skin treatments, etc.)
- Physical exercise (stretching, walking, yoga, etc.)
- Seasonal chores (such as spring cleaning or putting on storm windows)
- Socialization (planned visits with family and friends)
- Unplanned activities (Skyping with family, visiting with neighbors, etc.)
- Writing the daily care plan
Things to Consider When Planning Daily Activities
There are several primary things to consider when creating a daily care plan for a person with dementia, including:
- Allow for some flex time for spontaneous activities
- Personal likes and dislikes
- History of daily structure (how did your loved one structure his/her day before being diagnosed with dementia?)
- Highest functioning time of day (does your loved one have more energy in the morning or later in the day?)
- Plan regular bedtime and waking time (to promote an optimal sleep pattern)
There are also some other important points to keep in mind when evaluating the effectiveness of a daily care plan:
- Did the care recipient seem bored, irritable or restless during any specific time of the day? If so, plan another type of activity, or it may work better to plan an extra break.
- What was the result of spontaneous activities? Were they stressful or enjoyable, did they seem to create anxiety or confusion?
- Was there ample time between activities to rest?
- Which activities went well? Why?
- Which times of day seemed overwhelming?
- Which time periods seem to lag, with not enough to do?
Use This Sample Daily Care Plan for People With Dementia
Here is an example of a daily care plan that you can use to spend more meaningful time on productive activities with loved ones with dementia:
- Get up and perform a morning hygiene routine (brushing, toileting, washing face).
- Make breakfast (have the person with dementia help as much as he/she is able and wants to do so) and clean up breakfast together.
- Participate in an enjoyable art or craft project.
- Take a break and have some quiet time (this is a good time for caregivers to do some meditation or reflecting).
- Take a walk or engage in another planned activity.
- Eat lunch and clean up the meal together.
- Listen to some favorite old music or watch a favorite movie together.
- Look at family photos and talk about memories of the images.
- Try some physical activity, such as planting or weeding the garden.
- Visit with a family member, friend or neighbor.
- Eat dinner and clean up together.
- Give a massage, start to wind down for bedtime.
- Help with nightly hygiene routines, such as a bath or shower, oral hygiene and pajamas.
- Play a crossword puzzle or game.
- Read a favorite book passage and/or play some relaxing music before turning in for the night.
Remember that as the symptoms of dementia worsen with time, it’s important to be flexible in planning a daily care plan. Evaluate the outcome of the plan with your loved one often. The outcome of the plan will change as dementia symptoms change.
With some creativity, flexibility and patience, a daily care plan will enhance the caregiving experience while providing the much-needed stability and structure for a loved one.
Are you a caregiver for a parent or senior loved one with dementia? What other activities would you add to this checklist and daily care plan? We’d like to hear your suggestions in the comments below.