Montessori Thought for the Week

Roles Help to Give our Lives Meaning

A role is the ​purpose that someone has in a ​situation, ​organization, ​society, or ​relationship.  Every day in our lives we play a variety of roles.  We may be a mother, father, spouse, teacher, manager, child, neighbor, care partner, volunteer, etc.  Each of the roles we play have a variety of tasks and responsibilities associated with them.  We often identify certain roles with social status or standing.  Think about it- What is  one of the first things you often ask someone when meeting them?  “What do you do?” Our roles make us feel good about ourselves.  Following the Montessori philosophy, we want to give elders the opportunity to have roles taking care of themselves, others, and the community.

Try this:
  • List all of the roles you have in a typical week.
  • Think about the elders for whom you care.  What roles do you think the elders had before living with dementia or living in a long term care community?
  • What are roles we can give back to elders?
  • Make a list of the elders for whom you care and the roles they would all enjoy doing.
  • How can we support them in doing this?
  • Will you volunteer to work someone so so they can regain a role?
Here are some roles and responsibility that elders in your community might enjoy:
  • Making one’s bed
  • Dusting one’s bedroom
  • Tidying one’s room
  • Folding laundry
  • Putting away laundry
  • Setting the table
  • Participating in meal preparation
  • Clearing the table
  • Wiping off the table
  • Greeting others at meals
  • Pouring beverages
  • Passing out snacks
  • Filling condiment containers
  • Sweeping the floor
  • Dusting the shelves
  • Cutting coupons
  • Folding letters/stuffing envelopes
  • Shredding papers
  • Organizing
  • Watering the plants
  • Delivering mail
  • Giving a hand massage
  • Helping with manicures
  • Greeting visitors at special events
  • Planning menus on a committee
  • Filling the bird feeders
  • Reading to children

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