Dementia and Supported Living the Montessori Way
Dementia the Montessori Way is an ethos of care based on a set of principles, from the work of Dr Maria Montessori. Maria Montessori demonstrated by creating a structured, supportive environment, provide sensory and motor training, and teach children fundamental life skills using instructional materials that are familiar to them, she could educate children with significant educational difficulties.
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Dr Montessori’s philosophy and mission
- To enable individuals to be as independent as possible
- To have a meaningful place in their community
- To possess high self-esteem
- To have the chance to make meaningful contributions to their community
Gail Elliot, a Canadian Gerontologist & Dementia Specialist studied the work of Cameron Camp, who first linked the values of the Montessori principles and dementia. She also researched multidisciplinary, evidence-based practices from around the world. She examined the evidence in respect of the link between brain and behaviour and the need to understand the connection and modify the environment in a way that supports the person living with dementia.
Michelle Bourgeois a Professor in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Florida. Michelle, and is a Speech-Language pathologist. Michelle studied the use of visual cueing strategies, spaced retrieval and other memory support approaches to support people with dementia.
Lynne Phair and Sally Dando studied the work of Maria Montessori, Gail Elliot and Michelle Bourgeois set against the existing evidence-based practice of bio medical approaches, the seminal work of Tom Kitwood, Professor Dawn Brooker’s VIPS framework, the legal framework, and the voice of a person living with dementia. They concluded that the Montessori principles and philosophy are golden threads that run through the evidence base practice that already exists and can be used in hospitals, care homes day care and in a person’s own home.
Using this knowledge, a multi-disciplinary training programme has been developed for health & social care professionals and family members. The programme supports culture change, supports staff from every department to feel valued and part of the team. The programme ensures people living with dementia, wherever they are on their journey, are able to be as independent as possible, have a meaningful place in their community, possess high self esteem and have purpose in their life.