Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone?

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Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone?

Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone?

Culture change takes dedication, leadership, and a willingness to look at life differently. It means we have to try new things and be willing to be uncomfortable in order to grow.

I love when I have the opportunity to show off a person-centered community that is putting the Montessori philosophy into action. Lutheran Senior Life, Passavant Community, has worked with me for the past year with one goal in mind: Use the Montessori philosophy to help their residents to live an abundant life.

After receiving some grant funding, I helped Passavant Community step by step through this culture change process. Their personal care household was transformed through fresh paint, renovated activity areas, a refreshed sunroom for gardening, new wayfinding cues, and other redesigned spaces.

After staff was trained in the Montessori for Aging and Dementia two-day program, they focused on identifying individual and small group activities and personalized roles that are available every day and that match the person’s cognitive abilities. Materials were neatly organized and labeled and physically accessible all throughout the household. Care partners practiced with elders to help them relearn previous roles or enjoy new ones.

The more the elders did this, the more their skills improved until eventually they were able to do most or all of the activities on their own. Now elders clean and set the dining room tables, pour their own beverages, and help themselves to drinks and snacks. They care for plants, arrange flowers, fold laundry, make beds, dust, sweep, lead sing alongs, and pass out supplies for group activities. Some have begun to swim, reminisce with sports memorabilia, and don jewelry and hats from a group fashion corner. Some craft, engage in topic specific puzzles and sorting activities, and play music with various instruments. Few elders can be found in their rooms as they are out during the day enjoying these activities.

Activities and roles happen as a normal course of the day, just like they would if the elder was living at home. The result is a flow of the day during which people are doing different chores and hobbies on their own or in small groups. Montessori isn’t a specific time, it’s a way of life.

Watch this video and see for yourself how one community has been willing to embrace change and create an abundant life!

Don’t miss your opportunity to expand your comfort zone and embrace change. Sign up for an upcoming workshop!

By | 2020-03-30T15:17:06+00:00 October 4th, 2019|aging, Montessori, Videos|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jennifer Brush
Jennifer A. Brush, M.A., CCC/SLP has been working for over 20 years to change the face of dementia care in hospitals, assisted living communities, nursing homes and home care. Prior to establishing her own practice, Jennifer served for many years as the Executive Director of IDEAS Institute, a nonprofit organization that improves the lives of older adults through the conduct of applied research. She is an international speaker and recognized speech-language pathologist known for her work in the areas of memory, swallowing, and environmental interventions for people with dementia. She has served as the Principal Investigator on applied research grants that have examined issues pertaining to dementia, hearing impairment, dining, dysphagia, and the long-term care environment. Her research and consulting in the area of environmental modifications has resulted in improved functioning for people with dementia. Jennifer offers interactive and educational presentations and coaching that help clients bridge the gap between current research findings and the care needs of people with dementia. Jennifer Brush is the co-author of four books: Creative Connections in Dementia Care™; I Care; Environment and Communication Assessment Toolkit™ (ECAT) and A Therapy Technique for Improving Memory: Spaced Retrieval. She is the author of Meal Time Matters and Meal Time Matters at Home, training programs that build nursing assistants' and home caregivers' skills related to dining, swallowing disorders, and safe feeding assistance. Jennifer has authored over 25 articles in peer-reviewed journals, served as guest editor of the journals Seminars in Speech and Language and Perspectives in Gerontology, volunteered as Chair of Professional Development in Gerontology for the American Speech Language Hearing Association Special Interest Group, and was an editorial reviewer for Jennifer is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Jennifer is honored to be appointed by the Executive Director of AMI to serve as an inaugural member of the Advisory Group for Montessori for Aging and Dementia. This group is responsible for writing the AMI standards for Montessori dementia programs. Jennifer presented her research in the area of dementia at the first international conference for Montessori environments for dementia in Sydney, Australia in 2014, and spoke at the annual AMI meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2015. She will return to Sydney in November, 2015 to speak about creating supportive environments for the aging.
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