Friday, March 07, 2008

Montessori activities for people with dementia

Care homes often provide inappropriate environments and inadequate activity programmes for adults with dementia. One study found that nearly 40% of nursing home residents with severe cognitive impairment did not participate in any activity in the course of a week. Inactivity or inappropriate activities involving infantilization and developmentally inappropriate or meaningless tasks can lead to boredom, lower quality of life and problem behaviours including agitation and aggression. A study of 10 older adults with dementia at an adult day programme looked into the effectiveness of a Montessori-based approach. The Montessori programme is based on the use of everyday materials, a progressive complexity of tasks, the idea that it is the process not the end result that is important and teaching by demonstration rather than instruction. Teaching is tailored to the individual and varies in complexity according to their needs. The study found that the participants showed more constructive engagement and less non-engagement when doing Montessori activities, compared to the normal activities of the day centre. However, there was no difference in people's mood between the Montessori group and the control group.

Jarrott, Shannon E., Gozali, Tsofit and Gigliotti, Christine M. - Montessori programming for people with dementia in the group setting: an analysis of engagement and affect Dementia March 2008, 7(1), 95-108

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