The Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® approach to caring for those with dementia is a concept that is gaining interest in the senior care industry.  This innovative approach is relatively new but it has proven to be effective in reducing anxiety and the use of chemical restraints for people with dementia by engaging them in both purposeful and meaningful activities.

HISTORY OF MONTESSORI

The Montessori Method of Education, developed by Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, holds that young children learn best when they direct their own learning, with teachers providing tools that engage all their senses. She determined that by focusing on the individual’s strengths and providing a hands on sensory stimulating environment, children were able to absorb the knowledge and thrive.

The Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® was created by Dr. Cameron Camp, Director of Research and Development at the Center for Applied Research in Dementia.  He recognized that the use of the Montessori Principles could be highly effective in enhancing the quality of life for those with memory loss.  He has retooled these concepts, utilizing the same techniques of focusing the individual’s strengths and hands on interaction with their environment.

12 key principles of the Montessori Inspired Lifestyle®

  1. The activity should have a sense of purpose and capture the person’s interest.
  2. Always invite the person to participate.
  3. Offer choice whenever possible.
  4. Talk less. Demonstrate more.
  5. Physical skills; focus on what the person can do.
  6. Match your speed with the person you are caring for. Slow down!
  7. Use visual hints, cues or templates.
  8. Give the person something to hold.
  9. Go from simple tasks to more complex ones.
  10. Break a task down into steps; make it easier to follow.
  11. To end, ask: ‘Did you enjoy doing this?’ and ‘Would you like to do this again?’
  12. There is no right or wrong. Think engagement.

 

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