The Montessori method was originally used with disadvantaged children to provide them with opportunities to meaningfully interact with their environments. The foundation principles include acceptance, affirmation, enablement, a focus on retained abilities rather than deficits, respect and positive communication. These principles, together with its non-cognitive approach, make it ideally suited to people with cognitive difficulties.
Dr Cameron Camp is a noted psychologist specialising in applied research in gerontology. He developed Montessori Based Activity Programming (MBAP), a method of devising and carrying out activities that are based on the Montessori approach.
Montessori Based Activity Programming has been the subject of a range of research studies in care centres in the US, with findings supporting significant benefits for participants.
MBAP emphasises the enabling of people with dementia to utilise their strengths, and the creation of opportunities for each person to be engaged in meaningful activity, fulfilling their social roles within their environment. The focus is on working with the strengths and abilities that remain, finding the person behind the memory and other cognitive problems, engaging the individual and enabling everyone involved to feel good about the experience.
Workshop learning outcomes include:
Define dementia, describe its signs and symptoms, and understand the most common forms of dementia, risk factors and preventative measures.
Explain the key principles, concepts, methods of communication and describe strategies to facilitate effective communication in dementia care.
Understand what is meant by the term person centred care and how this relates to their practice.
Understand the underlying principles of Montessori Based Activity Programming (MBAP)™ and experience MBAP in practice.
Assess the retained skills and abilities of people with dementia, design resources for Montessori Activities, and identify how to best support other staff and relatives using MBAP principles.
The Montessori Approach
Meaningful activity and occupation is intrinsic to a good life.
The Montessori method was originally used with disadvantaged children to provide them with opportunities to meaningfully interact with their environments. Adapting the approach for adults with memory difficulties supports the development of meaningful activities that enhance the person’s quality of life.
Why the Montessori approach?
Montessori principles include acceptance, affirmation, enablement, respect and communication. There is a focus on retained abilities rather than deficits and the creation of a “failure-free” environment. Because Montessori-based activities aren’t based on “thinking”, focused instead on non-verbal communication and other skills, they are perfectly suited to people with dementia.
As dementia progresses, words increasingly don’t work. Conversation can be difficult and stressful for a person who can no longer process language. The Montessori approach is a valuable tool that opens many opportunities for engagement and enjoyment. If you visit a relative in a nursing home, consider doing something together.
“Activities serve a much greater function than making it easier to have a visit. They allow us to rediscover the person who is hidden by the deficits.” Dr Cameron Camp, a neuro-psychologist with the Center for Applied Research in Dementia, Ohio, US, who devised the adapted Montessori approach for people with dementia.
Mounttown Community Facility,
Lower Mounttown Road,
Phone: 01 260 8138
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