Creating a Schedule for Your Family and Loved One Who Has Alzheimer’s or Any Type of Dementia

Mar 19, 2024

Reasons to Educate Children about Alzheimer's Disease

Reason #1 - So that children will be comfortable around and interacting with a person who has Alzheimer’s (See January's Blog)
Reason #2 - Caregiving Creates Compassion in Children (See February’s Blog)

March Reason #3: To help children create a safe, supportive, and structured environment in which to thrive.

Creating a schedule for your family and loved one who has Alzheimer’s or any type of dementia helps the entire family get their needs met and feel safe and supported.

Story: As we look back on our lives, we always had a schedule of some sort. As an infant there was a schedule for eating, sleeping and playing. As we grew, the schedule included school, extra curricular activities, play, and homework as well as eating and sleeping. Then, as adults our schedule included work, meals, play, household responsibilities, etc. It’s how we function. A schedule helps us accomplish what we need to do and decreases stress.

We have a pretty good idea the night before what our next day is going to look like. We know if we have to work, or have a fun event planned, or have a day off to do chores around the house, or if we have any appointments. 

Alder’s mom had Alzheimer’s disease. It took her a while to realize this planning part of her Mom’s brain wasn’t working well anymore. Her mom was like a ship without a rudder and she must have felt terrible. It’s hard to imagine not knowing what to expect tomorrow, much less having no control over it. Watching her mom go through Alzheimer’s, the following common themes appeared regarding her mom’s need to understand what to expect day to day. 

  • She was always concerned about appointments and it was the family’s fault when she didn’t remember an appointment, even though the family had reminded her. 
  • When she sat on the sofa too long without stimulation she would drift off in her mind, then demand the family’s attention because she was lost and frightened.
  • She functioned better with a consistent daily routine.

Information: A nice article written in WedMd discusses the benefits of having a daily routine in decreasing stress. The article includes information for you as an individual and the whole family:

The ole ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ saying comes to mind. Sometimes we unconsciously rob time from one person to give it to another, and then get stressed out when one person starts to demand equal time. This can happen in families who are taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or any type of dementia. The ‘healthy’ people (many times children) get put aside so the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be provided care. This leads to stress, resentment, guilt, and frustration in the whole family. A schedule assists with making sure all get their time, including you, the responsible adult.

The other wonderful thing about a schedule is if you have to hire a caregiver or a different family member comes to provide care while you take a respite, they will be able to effectively provide consistent care to the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Creating a schedule that satisfies the needs of the whole family can be a daunting endeavor, but setting up the schedule as a family is empowering. Add the name of the person responsible beside each task, including everyone in the family and considering their strengths and abilities. Whenever possible, team up family members to share in completing a task, including the person who has Alzheimer’s.

We know it’s overwhelming to create structure.That’s why we have included our PDF titled “Creating a Schedule” (make link) for you to download and use as a guide. Some links to commercially produced calendars are included in the PDF for your convenience. We are not affiliated with them; they are just calendar samples.

Here are some tips/suggestions for what to include when creating a schedule:

  1. Set up hours for sleeping and waking
  2. Meal time, including meal preparation and cleanup
  3. Work/school time
  4. Play time - children and the loved one can play together
  5. Nap time or quiet time (reading, listening to music, meditation)
  6. Household chore time
  7. Flexible time - This is different from play time. Some tasks might take longer, or a family member might have an unforeseen incident (the child needs help with homework or Gran has an accident in her clothing) that requires immediate attention. Having a little flexible time alleviates stress. 
  8. Doctor’s appointments
  9. Exercise time
  10. Family time
  11. Homework time
  12. Self-Care time

Activity: Make a daily and weekly structure outline and then put it on a calendar or white board. Put this calendar where everyone can see it. Do your best to create and follow the daily schedule to make it routine. 


1)  Download the “Creating a Schedule” PDF  with a sample routine calendar for daily and weekly activities and links to some calendar ideas. And watch the video on the Importance of Structure.

2) Please scroll to the bottom of this blog and give us a thumbs up if you found it helpful, leave a comment or conveniently share it. 

3) Purchase the Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Awareness Program  to get even more information, tips and activities to incorporate children into the care of your loved one who has Alzheimer’s or any type of dementia. 

Purchase the entire Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer's Awareness Program,
or the Program Bundle that best fits your situation.

Click Here to Purchase Program

Stay connected with resources, information, tips, activities,
announcements and stories.

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.