Close your eyes and picture all of the things that you have done today so far. Now picture all of the things that you have to do. Some of these things might be very routine, where you can almost complete them with your eyes closed (although this is not recommended).
Some of these tasks are less routine than others, and you need a bit more support to understand what needs to be done and in what order. You may even need some instruction on how to do a task. Luckily, we have access to step-by-step instructions, online tutorials, and friends and family to reach out to! Having a visual reminder or prompt of the ins and outs of your daily tasks and routines can be tremendously useful, helping you stay organized and feel in control.
Now picture your loved one and all of the things they must accomplish on a daily basis. Think of the things that they can do independently, from start to finish. Think of the tasks during which you may need to provide more support. What does your support look like? Are you giving verbal reminders? Do you provide hand-over-hand assistance? Do you point to the next step? Maybe you feel like you just need to get your loved one from point A to point B in a timely manner and don’t feel like there is enough time in the day to allow for teaching independence with certain routines. No doubt, this can all be very overwhelming and frustrating for you and your loved one.
A visual schedule can not only show your loved one what they need to do to complete a task, it can also help them understand a clear beginning, middle, and end to a daily routine. Having an understanding of when the less preferred tasks will be done and when something more preferred will happen can reduce anxiety and increase task “buy in.” Furthermore, a visual schedule can offer guidance without reliance on verbal or physical cues from others, thus setting the tone for greater independence.
A visual schedule can be individualized to meet your loved ones needs and abilities. It may be electronic (there’s an app for that), a written list, include pictures or photos, change according to the task at hand, or outline a set order of events. It can include moveable icons, places to put icons when the task is done, allow for flexibility and choices… the options are endless!
Through Unpaid Caregiver Training Services, FIS can help provide guidance and support on determining where and how to start with teaching your loved one how to live more independently, transition from task to task more smoothly, and celebrate the momentum that builds through accomplishment. Sustainable strategies like visual schedules are just one of the many tools that can help your loved one conquer a task and move on to what’s next!