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Montessori and Dementia

Montessori and Dementia

Montessori methods have proven to be a very successful way to teach children for over 100 years. Since the 1990's, these techniques have been used to help people with Alzheimer's and dementia lead a more independent and fulfilling life. The articles in this section describe a little bit about the history of Dr. Montessori, the development of her methods and traditional materials and how they apply to the care of people with dementia.


  • What is Montessori?

    It is difficult to define Montessori in a short, simple sentence. Montessori is more about an approach rather than something that you can point to. It is a system that seeks to use a person's natural interests and curiosities, rather than more formal teaching methods...

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  • Montessori Methods for Dementia

    In the late 1980's Dr. Cameron Camp started researching using Dr. Montessori's techniques to help people with dementia. He found that the techniques did in fact help people with dementia live more satisfying and fulfilling lives. More recently, Gail Elliot of DementiAbility furthered the research and developed DementiAbility Methods: The Montessori Way™...

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  • Dr. Maria Montessori

    In the late 1800's, Dr. Maria Montessori beat the odds and became one of the first women doctors in Italy. In her practice, she worked with intellectually challenged children. This led to her developing her Montessori Method, which she then applied to children in mainstream schools...

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  • The Ten Montessori Principles - Montessori Based Dementia Care

    The Montessori approach to helping people with dementia can be broken down into ten individual principles. Not every interaction and activity will embody all ten, but they should always be kept in mind when presenting an activity and when interacting with person...

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  • Montessori Principle 1 – Independence

    The first Montessori principle is Independence. By this we mean that we allow and encourage the person to do as much by themselves as they can, offering guidance and support when necessary...

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  • Montessori Principle 2 - Choice

    The second Montessori principle, Choice, is closely connected to the first principle of Independence. Part of being independent is having the ability to make choices. People with dementia often have trouble with this, so it is up to us to present the choices in an appropriate way...

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  • Montessori Principle 3 - Demonstrate

    Words are generally harder for a person with dementia to understand, but gestures and visual cues are not and that leads to the third Montessori Principle - Demonstrate...

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  • Montessori Principle 4 - Familiar Materials

    When someone is familiar with something, it often produce an automatic, pleasurable response and that leads to the third Montessori Principle - Familiar Materials. An activity is much more likely to be successful if the person is familiar with the items in the activity...

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  • Montessori Principle 5 - Meaningful

    A simple concept, but one that is important to keep in mind is Montessori Principle 5 - Meaningful. An activity or interaction is much more likely to be successful if the person's interests are taken into account...

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  • Montessori Principle 6 - Adapted Materials

    It is not always enough to just use familiar materials as described in Principle 4, sometimes the material needs to be modified to be more suitable, and that is Montessori Principle 6 - Adapted Materials...

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