Manic Monday: Building a routine for your sanity

My grandma and I have a routine.

I was telling someone the other day that when she was in the nursing home for rehab, I took notes. They have a monthly activity schedule with various types of activities, and they create menus.

Nursing homes do have one thing going for them– they are like machines. You always know what to expect and every moment is predictable.  That was one of the few things I appreciated about the better facilities my grandma has temporarily stayed in. I think that predictability and consistency creates a feeling of security, stability, and control for a person. Granted, things come up and you can’t always have biscuits and gravy on Tuesdays, but having consistency in your routine can really save your mental health.

Here is a typical week for us:

Day Highlight
Sunday Church and Grocery Shopping (occasionally thorough cleaning)
Monday Crockpot meal or something prepared by Ronda
Tuesday Biscuits and Gravy
Wednesday Linda comes over (otherwise leftovers from Monday)
Thursday Panera Rapid-Pick Up and Bath night
Friday Life Group with church friends
Saturday Cruise Independence (second Saturday we pay bills)

 

On Sundays before we go grocery shopping, I sit down and write a table on a piece of paper for the week. We lay out our meals, any visitors, and social activities.

Then, we make our grocery list based on what we are going to eat and do that week.

I always write the week at a glance on this nifty magnetic weekly calendar I picked up at Target so my grandma can see it and know what to expect.

 

We also have a desk-sized calendar that I write on to help her know what has taken place over the course of the month and any upcoming activities, events, or appointments. The calendar has evolved over time. At first, I just used it to help her keep track of the date and appointments. Then, as I realized she remembered basically nothing from days before, I started filling it in based on what we do. I write any falls or colostomy bag mishaps she has on there so I can go back and look if I need to. We file them away in her office so we can look at them if we ever need to.

At first, I started coloring in only the days I didn’t come. That was confusing to Grandma, so I started coloring in the days I came and leaving the days I don’t come. The calendar is normally very colorful now. I color myself in pink because that’s my favorite color. If she goes out and does something in the community, I write it in blue. If she was with her friends or another family member, I write it in purple. Anything health related is light blue.

Having this level of predictability in my life as a caregiver has truly helped me stay sane. Before we fell into our routine, I was constantly racking my brain trying to think about what we were going to do each day when I was out there. Now, I pretty much know. Maintaining this routine isn’t just beneficial for me, either. Working on this together and having it in a visible place helps my grandma keep track of what has happened and know what’s going on, and above all, it gives her things to look forward to. It is a win-win for both of us.