Montessori is a topic close to my heart. Part of my own schooling was Montessori and my children attend a Montessori school. For me, what really appeals is the dignity and respect which the students are afforded. The sense of satisfaction and well-deserved pride they derive from mastering an activity is heart-warming to see. When I discovered that the Montessori principles were also enriching the lives of people with dementia I was really excited. It’s such a natural extension of this incredibly flexible, carefully-constructed and intelligent educational philosophy.
In more fabulous Montessori-and-dementia news, Dr Cameron Camp PhD and Director of Research, Centre for Applied Research in Dementia, Ohio USA has joined us in Australia to help Alzheimer’s Australia launch “Relate, Motivate, Appreciate: promoting positive interactions with people living with dementia”. This series of Family Workshops is aimed at family carers and will give carers the knowledge to enable persons living with dementia to be engaged in meaningful activity throughout the day. Workshop participants will receive the recently launched resource RELATE, MOTIVATE, APPRECIATE: Montessori Resource – more about that below.
This introduction to Montessori activities focuses on the elements of a meaningful interaction with someone living with dementia. The booklet outlines why the Montessori approach works, describes the “RELATE, MOTIVATE, APPRECIATE” model and the principles of engagement under this approach. A DVD is included to provide some visuals to further guide the approach.
People with dementia are often confronted with what they can no longer do or with the mistakes that they make. Montessori principles are designed to focus on what they can still do. One of the main Montessori principles emphasises using less language, while at the same time promoting non-verbal communication by demonstrating everything that you would like the person to engage with. This book includes 28 activities. The activities are grouped under 5 themes: watching, listening, touching, smelling and tasting. These activities are a starting point that will hopefully serve as inspiration for you to think of activities that the person will enjoy.
YouTube video: Demonstration of Montessori activity, Alzheimer’s Australia
This 7.44 min video shows how to conduct the activity “Feeling different fabrics”.
Book: Montessori-Based Activities for Persons with Dementia: Volume 1, Dr C. Camp
This manual is designed to provide people with dementia with cognitive stimulation and opportunities to successfully and meaningfully interact with their physical and social environments on a regular basis. We all have basic needs and many of the problem behaviors associated with dementia can be traced to the inability to meet one or several of these basic human needs. Montessori-Based Activities for Persons with Dementia: Volume 1 provides stimulating, interesting and challenging activities that can be performed successfully as a means of helping persons with dementia meet such needs.
Book: Montessori-Based Activities for Persons with Dementia: Volume 2, Dr C. Camp
Volume 2 provides new ideas for activities programming for persons with dementia and other cognitive disorders. There are examples of group activities, as well as methods of transforming individualised programming into small and large group activities. Also guidelines for inter-generational activities which bring young and old together and promote mutual care, transmit cultural values, and enrich the lives of everyone involved. Activities for men are a focus in this manual.
YouTube video: A Different Visit: Montessori-Based Activities for People with Alzheimer’s Disease, Dr C. Camp and Centre for Applied Research in Dementia
This is an 8-minute presentation by Dr. Cameron Camp of the Center for Applied Research in Dementia created to help families and friends have purposeful and rewarding visits with loved ones who have memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. The presentation centers on the use of Montessori-based activities, which are effective in engaging persons with memory loss.
Book: Montessori Methods for Dementia™: Focusing on the Person & the Prepared Environment, G. Elliot
The Montessori Method for Dementia™ is an innovative approach to dementia care that can be adapted for individuals, for groups and as a philosophy of care. The focus is on “doing”. Since programming is created based on individual needs, strengths, interests and abilities, the activities are meaningful to the individuals, thus affording them the opportunity to enjoy an enriched quality of life by remaining purposefully and meaningfully engaged in daily roles, routines and activities of daily living.
If you’re keen to here’s some links to information on the
Montessori Philosophy, Montessori Australia
Maria Montessori biography, Montessori Australia