The “Joy of Doing” activity box was developed by Elisabeth Rydland and Carolyn Magnussen, from Montessori Care, thanks to a generous stipend they received from The Dam Foundation and the Norwegian National Public Health Association. The box contains 7 different activities, an activity book and downloadable theme books which have been created especially for people…
The beauty and renewal of spring is upon us! And despite not having been in a garden or getting their hands dirty in the soil of flower beds, our elders living with dementia may have had a love of Mother Earth and we don’t even know it!
It is important that EVERY person have the ability enjoy activities they’ve loved throughout their lives.
This month’s Spotlight is on Fred Ellman, a man with a mission to deliver joy to the lives of Elders with dementia. He presented “Growing Mindfulness,” which showcased his Flying Compassion Garden. With Fred’s background as a toy maker, he brings imagination, connection and mindfulness together in a physical form. He shared his interactive horticulture…
We had the privilege of having Henna Jalovaara, the founding member of Muisti Montessori, the Finnish Montessori for Dementia Association, speak at our symposium. Henna is an OT in a non-profit care home in Helsinki, Finland. This care home piloted Montessori in two of its eight households. During her presentation, Henna shared both the challenges and wins of initiating a Montessori program in her care community.
Beth Ann Scruggs took the Practitioner Certificate course to design ideas and programs that were practical and engaging for members of an adult day program. In the end she gained more than she expected. Beth Ann is part of a team of dedicated providers at Renew, a Montessori based Adult Day Program in South Carolina. Their…
Kathy Werner enrolled in the Montessori Practitioner’s Certificate course because of her strong desire to learn Montessori in a hands-on way. Kathy has eleven years of experience as a trainer working with adults with intellectual and physical disabilities and 20 years working as a physical therapist assistant. One of Kathy’s case studies was with a…
Whether you are in a care community or have your loved one at home, these words are uttered more often than we’d like. As much as we dislike the fact that we see it, it’s often difficult to figure out how to get your loved one or one of the elders in your community to do something different. “S/He doesn’t really like anything but watching TV.”
But is that the truth?
I hope you enjoy reading our guest article written by my friend, colleague and meditation buddy, Fred Ellman. His creativity in blending horticulture, spaced retrieval and Montessori is truly inspiring!
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.
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.