Top tips for writing a care plan for someone with dementia
It can be hard work caring for someone with dementia, but having a daily routine might make life a little easier for both of you. Here’s how to get started
Could this be you?
You’re doing your best to make sure your loved one is cared for properly but
1. Some days seem to fly by without you getting anything done
2. Other days go really slowly and you worry about them getting bored.
3. Whatever kind of day it is, you never have a minute to yourself
Creating a simple structure to each day, could help you avoid these really common pitfalls – and maybe even enjoy life a little more! And don’t worry, it isn’t hard and it won’t take long to do.
What is a daily care plan?
A daily care plan is a written or visual description of activities and events taking place each day. The aim of a care plan is to ensure that the person with dementia has all their basic needs taken care of, gets as much pleasure and stimulation as possible from each day and can see for themselves what each day has in store.
How do I create a daily care plan?
You can use a paper template or an activity board. It can be written out in the style of a timetable, or it can be created on an activity board using visual prompts, pictures and cards for each activity.
Why use a daily care plan?
Many people living with dementia feel as though they’re losing control of their lives, which can be frightening. If your feeling lost and confused it can help to know that certain daily events will always happen at a certain time. Besides, most people like to have a routine, and a person with dementia is no exception.
It anchors each day
Generally speaking, we all function best if we have a regular bedtime, get up at around the same time each day and eat regular meals. So whenever possible try to stick to the same times, it’s a simple way to provide a focus and structure to the day.
It keeps everyone informed
The person with dementia simply has to look at the plan to know what’s happening next, other carers, family or friends can also see what’s happened earlier in the day and avoid repeating the same activity or meal.
3 questions to ask before you make your plan
1. What time did they used to like going to bed or getting up?
If they liked to have a bath in the evening and a main meal at lunchtime, try to accommodate that whenever you can because it will help them to feel calm, which in turn will help you.
2. What did they used to like doing before?
They might not be able to do the crossword anymore or knit an Aran jumper but maybe they can still read the newspaper or knit a scarf? Remember, it doesn’t matter how well they do each activity, what counts is that they’ve enjoyed the process.
3. What activities could you enjoy together?
Your lives have undoubtedly changed since the diagnosis but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy each other’s company. For example, introduce a once-a-week movie night when you eat popcorn and watch a favourite film together.
Keep your plan as simple as possible, it’s the quality of each day that matters, not the quantity of activities and tasks you manage to cram in.
The routine is there to help you, not to control you. If something unexpected comes up, it’s okay to be spontaneous.
Forget about you
Scheduling in time for yourself each day isn’t selfish, it’s really important for your mental health. Even if it’s just 20 minutes having a cup of tea on your own, or watching your favourite soap, make sure you take it.
A typical daily care plan
Wake up, help with washing and dressing if necessary
Prepare and eat a heathy breakfast
Morning activity – gardening, cooking, a craft project
Coffee and newspapers
Quiet time to relax or take a nap
Prepare lunch and eat
Reminiscence – look at photos together, listen to favourite music or do some life story work
Activity – household chores
Take a break
Prepare evening meal
Watch TV, play a card game, run a bath
Good to know
There are more social groups and activities for people with dementia than ever before. From singing and dancing to yoga and reminiscence therapy. So there’s no need for anyone to sit at home all day and be bored. Getting out and about is good for you and the person you’re caring for.