Montessori methods for people with dementia

Montessori methods are now a popular and powerful way to support the lives and capabilities of people with dementia. This post and a previous post offer resources on Montessori activities and how to implement Montessori-based activities.

 2017 update

PurposefulActivitiesMontessoriWebsite: Purposeful activities for people with dementia: a resource, Alzheimer’s Australia VIC, 2015

Purposeful Activities for Dementia is a Montessori-based professional development and education resource developed for aged care and dementia care staff and carers.

Purposeful activities for Dementia complements other professional development resources about engaging people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including the downloadable Relate Motivate Appreciate toolkit. Purposeful activities for dementia was developed by Alzheimer’s Australia VIC for families and aged care staff.

Purposeful Activities for Dementia offers practical ways that carers – including activity support workers, personal care attendants and other aged care professionals – can work together to engage people living with dementia in purposeful activities at home and in social groups.

The videos by Alzheimer’s Australia VIC on this website explore the way in which Montessori techniques can enrich the lives of people living with dementia. Many of the educational activities in the following video are based on this approach.

dementia journalArticle: Effects of using nursing home residents to serve as group activity leaders: Lessons learned from the RAP project by Michael J. Skrajner, Jessica L. Haberman, Cameron J. Camp, Melanie Tusick, Cristina Frentiu, and Gregg Gorzelle, Dementia: The international journal of social research and practice, Volume 13, Number 2, March 2014

Previous research has demonstrated that persons with early to moderate stage dementia are capable of leading small group activities for persons with more advanced dementia. In this study, we built upon this previous work by training residents in long-term care facilities to fill the role of group activity leaders using a Resident-Assisted Programming (RAP) training regimen. There were two stages to the program. In the first stage, RAP training was provided by researchers. In the second stage, RAP training was provided to residents by activities staff members of long-term care facilities who had been trained by researchers. We examine the effects of RAP implemented by researchers and by activities staff member on long-term care resident with dementia who took part in these RAP activities. We also examined effects produced by two types of small group activities: two Montessori-based activities and an activity which focuses on persons with more advanced dementia, based on the work of Jitka Zgola. Results demonstrate that levels of positive engagement seen in players during RAP (resident-led activities) were typically higher than those observed during standard activities programming led by site staff. In general, Montessori-Based Dementia Programming® produced more constructive engagement than Zgola-based programming (ZBP), though ZBP did increase a positive form of engagement involving observing activities with interest. In addition, RAP implemented by activities staff members produced effects that were, on the whole, similar to those produced when RAP was implemented by researchers. Implications of these findings for providing meaningful social roles for persons with dementia residing in long-term care, and suggestions for further research in this area, are discussed.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

you say goodbye_webBook: You say goodbye and we say hello : the Montessori method for positive dementia care by Tom and Karen Brenner, ©2012

This book aims to help dementia caregivers connect with their loved ones-in sometimes surprising ways.

Caregiving for a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be fraught with frustration, but it all can be rewarding in ways that may surprise a caregiver. Getting to those rewarding moments is the subject of You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello, a new book by husband-and-wife team Tom and Karen Brenner.

You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello is an inspiring, eye-opening look into how using The Montessori Method for memory support and creating a positive environment can deepen the connection between caregivers and the people they love. – Sam Gaines, Managing Editor, Preserving Your Memory Magazine

Article: Montessori based dementia programming® by Michael J. Skrajner [et al]  Alzheimer’s Care Quarterly, Vol. 8, Issue 1, January/March 2007, p. 53-63

Montessori-Based Dementia Programming® (MBDP) is a method of creating and presenting activities/interventions. The Myers Research Institute conducted several studies, each of which involved the use of MBDP in a different setting/situation. Staff members from nursing homes, adult day centres, and assisted living facilities were trained to implement MBDP, as were family members and even persons in the early stages of dementia. In addition, a Montessori-based assessment tool is being developed for use in restorative nursing for persons with moderate to advanced dementia. An overview of each study is provided, as are the findings and implications of each study.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

EvalMontPrincReport: Evaluation of Montessori principles in planned activity groups for people with dementia, Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care, La Trobe University, 2015

In 2014, Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria implemented a pilot project to evaluate the impact of Montessori-based activities on the engagement of people with dementia attending planned activity groups (PAG) at two sites in metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria. Funding for the project was provided by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments under the Home and Community Care (HACC) Program. The overall goal of the project was to improve the engagement of people with dementia in purposeful activity by incorporating Montessori principles in planned activity groups.

Findings show that the application of the Montessori principles to activities statistically improved constructive engagement, pleasure and helping among clients in the two participating planned activity groups. The findings also suggest that the Montessori education may improve staff satisfaction and attitudes to people with dementia.

dementia journalArticle: Montessori programming for persons with dementia in the group setting:an analysis of engagement and affect by Shannon E Jarrott, Tsofit Gozali & Christina M Gigliotti,  Dementia, Vol. 7, no. 1 February 2008, p. 109-125

Implementing meaningful activities for persons with dementia reduces boredom, agitation, and negative affect. Previous research demonstrated that Montessori activities, modified for persons with dementia, facilitate positive engagement and affect. We conducted activities in small parallel group settings to support social interactions and reflect typical staff-to-client ratios in institutional activity settings. The amount and type of engagement and affect were compared during Montessori-based activities and regularly scheduled activities of 10 older adults with dementia at an adult day program. Participants exhibited more constructive engagement and less non-engagement during Montessori-activities compared to regular activities. Affect did not differ between the activity conditions. We conclude with a discussion of research and practice methodology modifications.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

blog_screen_montessoriBlog: The Montessori Approach for people with dementia, Dementia Resources blog, July 2013

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.

This post includes a number of Montessori resources including those of Cameron J. Camp and the popular Relate Motivate Appreciate resource produced by Alzheimer’s Australia VIC.

Upcoming Melbourne forum: Technology and Dementia: A Game Changer

As part of Alzhtech and dem a game changer_webeimer’s Australia Vic’s Leadership in quality dementia support series on Tuesday 2 September we have a unique event on offer, Technology and Dementia: A Game Changer.

Increasing rates of dementia, a declining workforce, rising costs of care and the shift to consumer directed care all provide challenges to service providers.

This forum will explore both local and international examples of the diverse ways technology can complement and enhance the services supporting people living with the dementia including:
• Use of ipads
• Use of apps
• Use of robots
• Use of gaming in an educative and therapeutic context
• Digitally augmented environments in residential aged care
• Use of art and design programs
• Bringing about a Montessori culture change

Dr Adam GazzaleyLeading this unique program of speakers is International Keynote Speaker Dr Adam Gazzaley MD PhD Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry and Director, Neuroscience Imaging Center, University of California, San Francisco. Having developed one of the worlds first unique gaming programs that enhances cognitive function, he will talk to bridging the gap between technology and neuroscience.

Speakers include:

Dr Adam Gazzaley MD PhD

James Bonner & Norman Wang Directors, Opaque Multimedia

Mandy Salomon, Senior Researcher, Smart Services CR

Efterpi Soropos, Founder and Director, Human Rooms™

Professor Wendy Moyle, Director, Centre for Health Practice, Innovation, Griffith University

Dr Darragh O’Brien, Principal, Architectural Research Consultancy (ARC)

VENUE

Hilton on the Park, 192 Wellington Parade, Melbourne.

TIME

9.00am Registration, Event 9.30am – 4.30pm

COST

$195 pp | member: $186pp

CNE Points

5.5

BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL
To register and for further information go to https://leadership14.eventarc.com/22278
email vic.education@alzheimers.org.au | call 03 9816 5708

You can find a link to the flyer for this forum here: AAVic Leadership forum_Sept2014_Special Offer.

The Montessori Approach for people with dementia

RelateMotivateAppreciate-Bklet_blog

New resource from Alzheimer’s Australia, helping you positively connect with people with dementia

2017 Update

2015 Update : There is now a second post on Montessori methods for people with dementia on this blog.  Check it out for more Montessori resources.

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.

Resource: RELATE, MOTIVATE, APPRECIATE: An Introduction to Montessori Activities, Alzheimer’s Australia

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.

Resource: RELATE, MOTIVATE, APPRECIATE: A Montessori Resource, Alzheimer’s Australia

RelateMotivateAppreciate-resource_webPeople 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

Montessori-based activites vol1This 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

montessori_activities_vol2_blogVolume 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

montessori methods for dementiaThe 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.

Other links

If you’re keen to here’s some links to information on the

Montessori Philosophy, Montessori Australia

Maria Montessori biography, Montessori Australia

UPDATE October 2015: There is now a second post on Montessori methods for people with dementia on this blog.  Check it out for more Montessori resources.