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From Can’t To Can Do! Redesigning Dementia CareFrom Can’t To Can Do!
Montessori for Aging and Dementia

Do you want to improve the quality of life for persons living with dementia?
Are you looking for ways to create more participation for the older adults you serve?

We help you achieve success by teaching you how to connect with elders in a way that inspires.

This live 2-day training teaches any care provider how to:

  • Establish a culutre where everyone can thrive
  • Apply Montessori principles to help elders succeed in doing a variety of daily activities
  • Improve communication between care partners and people with dementia
  • Create a supportive physical environment filled with memory cues
  • Prevent responsive behaviors in people with dementia
  • Match strengths and abilities with personal history, so you can develop the right activities and care for individuals
  • Foster social connections and friendships within your community
  • Develop routines that build confidence and self-esteem for your staff as well as the people you serve
  • Create meaningful roles and activities for everyone, no matter what their ability
  • Provide cues, prompts, materials and templates to help improve memory loss and reshape what they’re capable of
  • Make your community the one where everyone wants to live and work.

ASSOCIATION MONTESSORI INTERNATIONAL logo

We combine dementia care best practices with a Montessori philosophy.

From Can’t to Can Do! is a Leader in the Industry

It’s popular because this approach enhances independence and quality of life for people living with dementia by creating an environment in which they can succeed.  Developed from years of experience, Jennifer Brush has created an innovative program that meets the AMI Standards for Montessori for Aging and Dementia.  You can learn more about this approach by watching a video of Jennifer taken at The Erickson School Memory Summit and then read about the requirements to become an AMI Certified Practitioner in Montessori for Aging and Dementia

Using the Montessori philosophy, roles, routines and activities are developed for each individual, which are meaningful to that person – giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy an enriched life full of possibilities, not limitations.

Individuals living in a Montessori community do as much for themselves and others as possible, rather than having things done to them or for them.  To learn about this, watch Changing Lives, a video about Montessori created by our colleague Anne Kelly from Montessori Australia.

Colleagues and attendees have used the programming from this workshop to:

  • Reduce psychotropic medications in their communities
  • Increase levels of activity engagement in persons living with dementia
  • Create a higher-quality of life for the individuals in their communities
  • Improve family satisfaction

How do you want to live when you’re 80?

You want to be independent, you want to be active, you want control of your life, you want purpose. Individuals with dementia want the same. That’s what From Can’t to Can Do! will help you create in your community.  Download our From Can’t to Can Do! Montessori Flyer.

This workshop is for:

  • Montessori teachers who would like to use their skills with a different population
  • Family members
  • Social workers
  • Nurses
  • Rehab therapists
  • Dietitians
  • Nursing assistants
  • Administrators
  • Life enrichment staff
  • Care providers who are looking for non-pharmacological interventions for dementia and want to reduce the use of psychotropic medications

Program participants will receive:

  • Certificate of Attendance for Workshop from Brush Development and Association Montessori International
  • Pre-qualification status for the Practitioner’s Certification Course (Practitioner’s Certificate Brochure)
  • A copy of I Care, the award-winning handbook for care partners of people with dementia
  • Handouts you can use to identify the needs and desires and roles of your patients
  • Assessment tools
  • A guide of available dementia programs that you may be able to use to create a better environment in your care community
  • Activities you can implement or teach your staff to implement
  • Step by step directions to implement Spaced Retrieval
  • Guidelines for setting up a Montessori program of your own
  • Tools that will improve engagement, activities, and communication skills for those in your community
  • Ways to modify the physical environment to support people with dementia
  • Solutions to the key issues such as falls, staff satisfaction and reduction of psychotropic medication

From Can’t to Can Do!
The Syllabus

All slides and handouts are available in Spanish and English

Section I: A Life with Meaning and Purpose

  • Maintaining personhood
  • Individualized assessments
  • Retaining life roles

Section II: Montessori for All Ages

  • Who was Dr. Maria Montessori?
  • What is the Montessori philosophy of education?
  • From the classroom to the aged care center

Section III: See the Person, Not the Disease

  • Understanding the impact of dementia
  • Living with a neurocognitive disorder

Section IV: Memories in the Making

  • How memory works
  • How we learn
  • How to make a memory book

Section V: Let’s Talk

  • Communication challenges and dementia
  • Tips for effective communication

Section VI: Let’s Get Busy

  • Help me help myself
  • Fostering independence

Section VII: See the World Through their Eyes

  • Using observation skills
  • Behaviors as a form of communication

Section VIII: These Four Walls

  • Creating a prepared environment
  • Design guidelines for aging and dementia

Section IX: Creative Connections

  • Why art?
  • Recipes for success

Section X: Spaced Retrieval Step by Step

  • Learning is possible in dementia
  • Why Spaced Retrieval works
  • Implementing the evidence based memory strategy

Section XI: Montessori Demonstrations

  • Lessons given by Montessori guides
  • Opportunities for student practice
  • Setting up Montessori spaces in aged care

Section XII: A Community of Caring

  • Putting Montessori into action
  • Developing Teams
  • Leaving your comfort zone
  • Students present case studies and write an action plan
Jennifer Brush

Jennifer A. Brush, M.A., CCC/SLP

Certified Montessori Educator

Taught by Jennifer Brush, a Certified Montessori Educator, one of just two dementia care experts in the US on the International Advisory Board for Montessori for Aging and Dementia, and the only person in the US who teaches this program.

Option 1: Take the program in person

Jennifer teaches at Montessori Training Institutes in the US and Argentina.
Visit our Events Page for a current listing.

Want Jennifer to teach this program on your campus?
Contact Jennifer and arrange a workshop for your staff.


Option 2: Take the program online – live, with Jennifer as your private instructor, tailoring the class to your specific learning goals

Do you have a group of up to 6 people who’d like to take the workshop online?
Contact Jennifer to arrange a time that meets your schedule.


Option 3: Take the self-paced online course at your convenience, start anytime

Learn about the online course here

Contact Jennifer

What people are saying about Jennifer’s workshops:

Photo of Margarita Green

Margarita Green, RN, Residential Plaza

“We’ve had an improvement in resident engagement!”
“Mrs. Brush brought her expertise and knowledge to our organization to kick off our new Memory Care Program. Her interactive training model worked successfully with the staff, in demonstrating to the staff by modeling behavior. She enlightened us by helping the staff see our residents from a different point of view and being able to identify the opportunities to effectively engage our Alzheimer’s residents. The program has proven to be effective within 8 months from implementation, with a 65% increase in resident engagement.”
Margarita Green, RN, Memory Care Program Director, Residential Plaza, Miami, Florida, USA

Patricia Mattox-Larson, New Hampshire, USA

Patricia Mattox-Larson, New Hampshire, USA

“Highly recommend Jennifer’s course!”
“She is an excellent teacher…… extremely knowledgeable, organized, patient, and articulate. The information she imparts is practical, insightful, and realistic. I loved the interactive format which, for me, was a fabulous way to learn at this stage of my career. I was excited and energized after each class. Her course has completely changed the way I support both my clients with dementia and their families.”
Patricia Mattox-Larson, New Hampshire, USA

Fang Yin Low, Singpore

Fang Yin Low, Singpore

“Wonderful, wonderful training”
“Before the online training, I had very little knowledge of how to work with people with dementia, so when the opportunity came for me to take on a caseload which involved dementia, I was very glad to have found Jennifer. She was patient and accommodating. It was a great experience, and I picked up skills as well as ideas that I have been applying to my practice. The interactive approach was really valuable, and I had the opportunity to ask her specific questions that arose from my practice.  Jennifer offered invaluable insight on how I could modify my tasks to better suit the population I work with. She also shared extensively about her clinical experience, which was very inspiring. I would not hesitate in signing up for this training. In fact, we are already looking at the possibility of doing a second round of training in the near future!”
Fang Yin Low, Singpore

Download Workshop Brochure

Download Spanish Workshop Brochure

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Jennifer Brush, MA, CCC/SLP
Jennifer Brush, MA, CCC/SLP

Jennifer Brush, MA, CCC/SLP is an international speaker/educator and recognized speech-language pathologist known for her work in the area of dementia. She has served as the Principal Investigator on applied research grants that have examined issues pertaining to dementia and the long-term care environment. Jennifer has been appointed by the Executive Director of AMI to serve as an inaugural member of the Advisory Group for Montessori for Aging and Dementia (MAGAD). MAGAD is the main advisory body to AMI on all matters concerning the application of the Montessori approach for older people and persons living with dementia. MAGAD works to support quality standards in the delivery of a continuum of care and services and to achieve quality outcomes for each person to enable life to be lived as fully as possible.