The Montessori Method of Dementia Care
Using best practice methodologies and drawing from our own experience of caring for loved ones with dementia, Focus Care has developed an innovative and personalised approach to dementia care designed specifically for people living at home.
We focus on each client’s individual strengths, needs and potential. We support each of our clients living with dementia within their own home where associated memory and recall is at its strongest.
In turn, this allows us to ensure that clients are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
What is the Montessori Method of Dementia Care?
Many people have heard of the Montessori approach to education and childcare, but are unaware that it also applies to aged care as well.
Based on the philosophy of a famous Italian doctor named Dr Maria Montessori, the Montessori Method has been a respected practice for over 100 years. When applied to dementia care, Dr Maria Montessori’s person-centred approach produces many positive outcomes for the client. . Its mantra focuses on empowerment, with its core ethos being ‘help me to do it myself’.
Rather than treating your loved ones like children, we use the philosophy to foster independence wherever possible. The method calls for us to work with the strengths of those living with dementia, in order to create opportunities, give older people choices and promote meaningful engagement.
Using the Montessori Method to Encourage Independence
People diagnosed with dementia often fear losing sight of the things that make them special and losing control of their own lives.
Thanks to the Montessori method’s focus on empowerment, this approach enables people to stay in their homes as long as possible, doing things for themselves. Meaningful engagement with familiar settings and activities allows our clients to feel in control and this slows cognitive decline. We firmly believe that when allowed to stay at home, clients feel more connected to their life and loved ones. Here’s everything you need to know about in-home aged care, and why we are such advocates for it.
Through the Montessori method of care, we are able to give our clients choices when it comes to the way they live their lives.
If you have questions about Dementia, we have created a Complete Guide to Dementia Care to help you find the answers you may be looking for.
What Activities are Available to Clients through the Montessori Method of Care?
Activities need to be specifically chosen for individual clients, in order for them to be meaningful. If someone is an avid cook, we can arrange for a Support Worker to nurture this passion by helping with the shopping and meal preparation and leaving certain cooking tasks to your loved one to take ownership of. If someone loves gardening, one of our Support Workers can take them to the local nursery to pick out a new plant before heading home to plant it.
When older people feel trusted, this is empowering and gives them a sense of dignity. It’s not about being “good” at an activity, but rather simply having the chance.
The Montessori method is all about getting to know an individual client and getting to know what makes them who they are. The idea is to help ensure their life has purpose, and to connect them with memories from their past and their passions to encourage recall.
Activities may include:
Looking at old photos
Playing with grandchildren
Going out for walks
Attending social functions
Playing games or doing puzzles
Why We Use the Montessori Method of Care
There are real benefits behind the Montessori methods of care for people living with dementia.
These may include:
Improvements in cognitive function
More smiling and laughing
Engagement in conversation
A more active routine
Less sleeping at strange times
Physical health improvements
Reduction in the use of psychotropic drugs
Decrease in falls
Improved engagement with family and friends
Less resistance to help
Lower levels of agitation or aggression
The Montessori Method at Focus Care
Focus Care has been fortunate to be guided by Anne Kelly, Director of Montessori Consulting, on practical ways to use the principles of the Montessori Method in dementia care.
Our entire dementia care approach is based on the principles of the Montessori method. This means that we work with every client’s strengths, creating an environment that promotes independence and the best possible quality of life for people living with dementia.
We know that activities based on hobbies that our clients were engaged in and enjoyed when they were younger can unlock memory, cognition and verbal skills.
Being engaged in environments and locations that hold historical significance for individuals including the sights, sounds and scents can also increase recall.
Our Commitment to You and Your Family
We get to know each client on an individual basis. We do this by getting to know the person behind the dementia.
We take time to find the unique interests and history of each client and build activities, puzzles, games and short day trips designed to engage them in their day-to-day life.
At Focus, our caring team make effort to:
Get to know the person behind the dementia
Match client strengths with their personal interests
Focus on social connections
Repeat activities to build confidence
Create meaningful, tailored activities
Consider the needs of each individual
Provide signs, prompts and templates to support memory loss