The Popsicle Story

I was recently visiting a facility on a hot day. While I was there the staff came around with a box of popsicles for the residents. The staff member approached each resident, reached into the box and handed them a popsicle. What a nice relief from the heat, and the residents appreciated it.

What I saw was a missed opportunity. Rather than simply handing each resident whatever came out of the box, why not offer them a choice of two flavors and let them choose? Or ask them if they would like a popsicle or a glass of water. The question isn't so important, the fact that the person with dementia is given a choice is what matters. By having a choice they feel empowered and in control. It costs so little but can make a huge difference.

If you're looking, you can find opportunities to offer a choice throughout the day - it might take a moment or two longer, but the benefit is worth it. Read more about the Montessori Dementia Principle of Choice.