What is Montessori for Ageing and Dementia?

Montessori Environments are based on a set of clearly articulated principles, primarily based on the original theories and principles developed by Dr Maria Montessori at the turn of the 20th century.

Many of us are familiar with the term Montessori as it applies to education but?it is now widely recognised as a research based innovative method of working with older adults living with cognitive and/or physical impairments, Montessori has the potential to change the lives of people in care communities or receiving care services and enhance the lives of people in their own homes.

Montessori’s philosophy makes a perfect mission statement for aged care.

‘To enable individuals to be as independent as possible, to have a meaningful place in their community, to have high self-esteem, and to have the chance to make choices and meaningful contributions to their community.’

The development of Montessori environments provides the framework for realising the vision
of independence, high self-esteem and a promising future for older people and those living with dementia and/or other disability.

Montessori focuses on supporting both the person and the environment which is adapted to support memory loss and independence.

Montessori Environments give Elders a reason to get out of bed and to become engaged in their physical and social environments. When the mind and body are occupied with enjoyable and stimulating activities, based on individual needs and interests, and within the range of capability of each individual, there is little need to wander, become agitated, “get stuck” in the world of repetitive questioning, or engage in other behaviours that are regarded, often by loved ones and staff, as “problematic”.

Maria Montessori’s vision of building independence, self-esteem and a promising future provides a platform for changing what is often a noxious world for people living with dementia. Montessori Methods can provide the framework for improving outcomes and quality of life for all older people, including those with dementia.

Montessori is true person centred care. You cannot practice Montessori without being totally focused on the person.

Elizabeth Oliver


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