As a professional working in a facility, you are already aware of, and probably putting into practice, many of the concepts presented here.
The Montessori way is not revolutionary nor is it in conflict with your current approach. It does, however, provide a methodology and framework that can help you provide excellent dementia care consistently. Understanding the Montessori dementia care approach can help you discover ways to overcome problems, minimize responsive behaviors and help your dementia clients be the best they can.
As you learn about Montessori you will often nod your head and think, "yes, that's exactly what we do". Other times you may think "Hmm, that's a good idea". The important point is that by learning about the Montessori approach to dementia care and following the principles you will find it easier to provide consistent, dementia specific quality care to your clients.
The Montessori approach isn't really new or different but it provides a framework to provide consistent, quality dementia care.
To be sure, there is an investment involved. One of the key tenets of Montessori is to tailor each activity to the needs of the individual. This takes time. Not only must you delve further into your client's background and interests, you will likely have to adjust your plan for the client to reflect the new goals and objectives that you have identified. Once that has been completed, you will have to find appropriate activities that fit the plan and likely adjust them to suit the client specifically. Finally, in order to ensure the most benefit for your client, you will have to become comfortable with presenting the activity in a way that follows the Montessori approach to dementia care.
Does that sound like a lot of work? It is, especially in the beginning, but the rewards are huge. If you did everything right, if the activity was selected well, if the environment was prepared to support the client and if the activity was presented according to Montessori principles, you will be rewarded with one of those special "oh wow" moments when your client exclaims "I did it!". You may not see this with your first activity because it does take practice and experience to get everything just right, but once you have it figured out you will be able to get great results, consistently.
In fact, once you have the techniques down pat, you will be pleasantly surprised at how well your clients do. They will have a positive emotional response that stays with them even after the activity has finished. They will have a feeling of enhanced self-esteem and feeling of purpose and accomplishment. Some activities can work to reduce excess disabilities and some can help create new neural pathways in the brain (neuroplasticity).
You will find yourself thinking about things in the "Montessori way", making it easier to come up with new ideas to help your clients who have Alzheimer's or de mentia. You will look at activities in a new way, seeing how old activities can be done differently that makes them even better. You will feel the magic of uncovering the person behind the dementia and helping them to be the best they can be.
The articles and resources on in this Learning Center can help you learn more about the Montessori approach, as well as offering instructions and information on making and using activities effectively. In our store we offer complete activities and collections of activities designed to help you get started implementing Montessori methods with your dementia patients quickly.