The Montessori approach

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    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.

    The individual’s dignity, respect, independence and choice are always at the core of the Montessori approach. By thinking differently, we realise that our role is to “enable” residents to live a happy and fulfilling life, suitable for their abilities, embedded within their community (the nursing home’s staff, fellow residents, family and friends).”

    Jane Doyle Geary, Activities Supervisor, Maryfield Nursing Home and a Sonas Licensed Practitioner, who attended Dr Cameron Camp’s training workshop.

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    How to use Montessori Based Activity Programming (MBAP)

    Sonas apc has brought Dr Camp to Ireland on several occasions to train caregivers in the use of the Montessori approach. One of our Sonas tutors has also been trained by him and is delivering workshops on the approach.

    If you would like to learn more about how you can use the approach with the person in your care, or your loved one, you can buy his practical manual here.

    We offer a oneday in-house MBAP Workshop.