Montessori philosophy, based on the principles of free choice and purposeful activity, has historically been focused on children’s education. However, its essential principles and practices are increasingly seen as critical to enhancing the lives of the older adults in our care. Central to both the Montessori philosophy and person-centered care are the core values of respect for the individual, the importance of knowing the person deeply, seeking and honoring the elder’s preferences over all aspects of his or her daily life, and creating a supportive environment that allows for continued participation in familiar and preferred activities, inside and outside.
All of us have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways, both professionally and personally. The presence of the virus has also created some significant challenges for those living with dementia, especially for those living in long term care communities. In addition, as states work to reopen or partially reopen care communities, the common misunderstanding that individuals living with dementia cannot practice social distancing may result in their continued unnecessary and harmful isolation.
Many of you have written to share your challenges and successes over the past few weeks and to ask for simple activity ideas that can be done easily in one’s bedroom on a tray table. Here is an idea for a simple activity that can help an individual to maintain fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination while feeling a sense of purpose by caring for his or her belongings.