Simply put, we’re all creatures of habit. Most people are afraid of the unknown, and by having a daily routine, we know what to expect and have less of a chance of enduring unwanted surprises or changes that might disrupt our lives.
We’re introduced to “routine” from birth, usually starting with a feeding and sleeping schedule. It then progresses into our adolescent years with school, and then work in our adult years. However, routines begin to lose shape as we get older and close in on retirement. Many older adults find it difficult to cope after they retire. They’re not sure what to do with their newfound free time.
This is why it’s important to maintain some sort of daily routine even as you age. A consistent routine provides several benefits to seniors that can help them eliminate worry, maintain structure, and enjoy their golden years. Here are some of the main benefits of having a daily routine.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Routines give our daily life structure and help to eliminate worrying about what is going to happen. When we no longer have that structure, it’s easy to feel disoriented and lost. This can cause feelings of anxiety and stress. No one likes feeling out of control. A routine provides purpose and predictability – you know what’s going to happen, how it will happen, and when it will happen—no need to panic.
In addition, many older adults also begin to have memory problems with age. This can result in them forgetting to do various tasks, such as taking their medication and even basic acts, including taking a shower or brushing their teeth. By having a predictable routine that they do every single day, it develops muscle memory so they can remember.
Many studies have proven that insufficient and lack of sleep increases our risk of developing medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The consistency of sticking with a daily routine helps with sleep quality as well as the ability to fall asleep and remain asleep. In addition, maintaining a routine that includes a sleep schedule helps to create our internal clocks.
It’s not uncommon for older adults to have difficulty sleeping. Keeping a routine is a great way to condition your body to go to sleep, stay asleep, and wake up when time.
Provides a Sense of Purpose
Many of us spend the majority of our life clocking in and out of work. We had a routine we stuck to for years up until retirement. We had a reason to get out of bed every morning. With retirement, it’s easy to lose that sense of purpose because we no longer have a specific job or routine we’re getting up to do each and every morning. No one is relying on us to do a job.
A benefit of having a daily routine, is that it helps to maintain a schedule of daily activities. Your schedule may include social activities at a nearby wellness center, an exercise routine you do every day, such as walking around your neighborhood, or even lunch or dinner with friends. If those activities are planned, you have a purpose for getting out of bed every day. When things are planned, you don’t have to think about what you’re doing for the day. Of course, you don’t have to have every second or hour of your day planned, just enough to provide you with a routine.
Increases Feelings of Safety
There are obviously lots of benefits to having a daily routine,but increasing a feeling of safety is a big one, especially for individuals with dementia or cognitive decline. Major life transitions can be difficult and leave you with a sense of fear and uncertainty. Not knowing what the future holds causes many to feel unsafe. A daily routine helps to eliminate surprises and provide structure, thus providing safety and security.
Receive Peace and Predictability with a Daily Routine
Routines don’t have to be boring or even completely repetitive. You can structure your daily routine however you want. Your days don’t all have to look the same either. That is one of the main benefits of having a daily routine. You can break them or change them to fit your needs and desires.
The main thing to remember, a daily routine should bring about peace and predictability to your life. Everyone is unique, and so can their routines and schedules.