Why a Routine Is Important for Seniors

Why a Routine Is Important for Seniors

The time has finally arrived. Not only have the kids flown the nest, but you’ve also reached your retirement goal and can settle into rest and relaxation. The first month or two might feel great, but eventually, you may find yourself feeling adrift.

Routine, whether it be from work or parenting responsibilities, sets the structure of your life for decades. We are all creatures of habit, and disruptions can be difficult at any age. But for seniors, you won’t be picking up a new job to reestablish your natural rhythm.


Why a Routine Is Important for Seniors

The unpredictability of unstructured living causes stress in anyone; this is why working to establish a routine is essential. A routine is simply a set of activities you do at the same time every day. 

It doesn’t need to be strict but rather a guideline for structuring your day's activities. We will go over some tips for establishing your routine in a bit. But why is a routine so important?

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves mental and physical health
  • Lengthens the time you can maintain independence
  • Increases safety and physical security 

1. Reduces Stress and Improves Health

By having a routine, you limit the number of decisions you need to make each day. A plan for the day, knowing what you need to accomplish and when limits stress and anxiety. Why the focus on stress and anxiety? They can lead to reduced energy, headaches, or depression, among other health concerns. 

How you structure and what you include in your routine can also improve health in other ways. Setting a sleep schedule will improve the rest you get, boosting energy for the day. While including light exercise or a daily walk can help keep your mobility and physical strength.

2. Helps Mental and Emotional Acuity

Habits, good and bad,  have been with us our whole lives. A set routine takes a significant mental load off of our brains, freeing up our cognitive abilities to focus on more meaningful activities. Instead of worrying about when to have meals or make that trip to the pharmacy, you can focus on a phone call to friends or family. 

Having more mental capacity to maintain meaningful social connections or dedicate to hobbies also boosts our emotional well-being. These are the connections and activities that will define your purpose throughout retirement and give you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Keeping up our brain's cognitive abilities can help keep us independent and potentially reduce dementia risks.

3. Increases Safety and Security

The most straightforward benefit of a routine is the safety of knowing you have taken any needed medication. Incorporating prescription or vitamin schedules into your daily plan can significantly reduce the chance of forgetting to take or doubling up on doses. This helps maintain your health and reduces the risk of adverse side effects from improper medication use.

Having a set routine for running errands, meeting up with friends, or calling family gives them an expected time to see you. Suppose you miss a check-in that you have never skipped before; this prompts them to check that you are okay. If you have suffered from a fall or other emergency, a break in routine can alert others that something is wrong and get help to you quicker.

Tips to Implement and Maintain a Routine

Just like setting habits and routines earlier in life, you need to find one that works for you and your lifestyle. As we age, this will change and adapt to new health limitations. If something in your routine doesn’t seem to be working or feels like it is causing stress, evaluate its inclusion or current implementation.

When looking at your routine, try to align it with the natural day cycle. Even if you vary activities depending on the day of the week, having a set sleep and meal schedule is an important cornerstone to keep you grounded. When looking at things to include, make sure to have activities that focus on mental, physical, and emotional health in addition to the necessary upkeep items.

The essential thing is to keep your routine simple enough to follow, but include the things that keep you healthy, happy, and safe. 

Activities to Include

Keep yourself mentally strong by incorporating activities that make you think. Pick up a new hobby or continue the one you always enjoyed. It doesn’t have to be a complex hobby like woodworking. Things like reading a book or newspaper, doing puzzles, or journaling can help keep your cognitive function. 

Staying physically active can protect your health, so stay on the move or incorporate exercise daily. Consider a daily walk, either in a park or just up and down the driveway if mobility allows. 

If leaving your home is difficult, ask your doctor for recommendations on exercises to keep your muscles and balance in top shape. Speaking of the doctor, make sure to include routine checkups in your schedule!

Allow time for friends and family. While going for a morning coffee, daily walk, or bingo night are excellent options, even a simple phone call or written letter can help keep in touch with loved ones. Retirement can be a great time to get involved with the community. Take a look around to see what volunteer positions are open. Just make sure it doesn’t add stress or feel too much like work.

Don’t Let Limited Mobility Limit Your Routine!

Age and mobility issues shouldn’t keep you from getting out and doing what you love. If you need transportation assistance, look for services in your area that provide accessible rides. 

Loyal Lifts Transportation Services offers insured door-to-door shuttle service in custom vehicles for Asheville and surrounding Buncombe County, North Carolina. Family-owned and operated, we understand the need for mobility-challenged individuals to travel and believe they should do so in comfort with dignity and respect. 

Whether it is a routine visit to the doctor's office or a special event, let us get you there safely and on time. For more information on our services, to check our availability, or set up a ride, check our online contact information, or call us Monday to Friday at (828) 674-6471.