Elisabeth Rydland and Carolyn Magnussen are the first AMI Certified Practitioners in Montessori for Dementia and Ageing in Norway. They share a new, rewarding perspective, one that provides a deeper value to the Montessori philosophy and enhances quality of life for elders and people with dementia.
Seniors living in long term care communities have been more isolated than ever during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is especially confusing and isolating for people living with dementia. Many have been quarantined in their rooms for long periods of time and have little contact with others. Here are some unexpected but helpful tools to help meet their basic needs of companionship and communication.
Just as Montessori classroom teachers guide and support students instead of lecturing to them, Montessori staff guide and support elders instead of doing everything for them. Staff and elders work shoulder to shoulder as equally valued members of a shared community. Elders are invited to take on leadership roles in their areas of interest, such as leading a book discussion group or planning the menu for a holiday meal. Materials for these activities are neatly organized, labeled, and physically accessible all throughout the living area. Staff guide elders with these roles and activities until they build new routines, and their skills improve to the point that most are able to enjoy these activities on their own. In this post, we explore what Montessori roles and activities for elders look like.
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.
Amaran Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will provide Albuquerque with an innovative approach to senior care. The community, currently under construction, is scheduled to open November 2020. The vision for Amaran is a holistic care center that will weave together the concepts of Montessori learning and respectful care for the aging.
Nonna’s Intergenerational Christian Montessori is located in Wayzata, Minnesota and is the first of its kind, implementing the philosophy of Maria Montessori for both children and elders. Opening their doors in February 2019, Nonna’s has just celebrated their first year of business.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to the materials we use for engaging elders. Most of us eagerly welcome new ideas for roles and activities. I’ve been known to come up with some pretty elaborate concepts to try and shake things up, but I have learned that keeping it simple usually works best.
One of my favorite materials are Three-Part Cards (also known as Nomenclature Cards). These cards can be used to help elders maintain and improve language skills such as reading and naming. In addition, the materials can address sequencing, attention to task, fine and gross motor skills, turn taking, conversation and reminiscence.
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.
More than any other question, I am asked how to make low-cost, simple changes to the environment. The truth is, you don’t have a to have a huge remodeling budget to make changes to the care community that will help elders thrive. We are thrilled to bring you this new FREE webinar sponsored by Linked…
Everyone knows someone who is living with dementia. Who do you know? Would you like to know how you can better support your friend, neighbor, loved one, or co-worker? Would you like to join a global effort in reducing the stigma of dementia? Are you, your organization, group or business interested in making a real difference in your…
You may not realize it, but many of your employees are in the Sandwich Generation. The term Sandwich Generation is often used to describe individuals who are raising children and caring for their parents at the same time. Most are also managing a career and juggling a variety of other commitments. Sound familiar? You might…