Montessori Method shows Success with Dementia Sufferers

Dementia care has gone 'retro' in some health care centers. The idea is to bring back memories from older eras and open up the minds of dementia sufferers.

In a surprising twist, the Montessori teaching techniques, usually associated with creative childhood pedagogy is being used with seniors in the last decade. The belief is that Montessori methods help dementia sufferers stay active and stimulated while assisting them to revive depleted skills.

Embedded in the senses, the Montessori method is big on manipulating everyday objects and dealing with structured activities that are success-driven. A pedagogical method created for children is proving popular with older adults.

In Niagara, Ontario, the Chateau Gardens has renovated areas to look like 1930's to 50s-style eras, a technique reminding residents of memories of their younger past and child-rearing years.

Dave Bauer, program manager at the Lodge told the Niagara Advance: "Ladies cradle or rock baby dolls as if they were real, taking them for walks or laying them in the bassinette for a nap." He added: "Others wander into the room and sit down to listen to music on the old fashioned radio while basking in the sunshine from the large bay window in the morning."

Many of the tasks that residents partake in are routine, but satisfying, such as knitting, muffin making or sorting objects by colour or number. "The key to many of the tasks and activities with the dementia individual is that they are familiar to them, using in most cases every-day items," Bauer told the media source.

"Building their self-esteem by keeping them stimulated doing something they feel is productive," Bauer told the Niagara Advance, are the key values of the program.

Alzheimers Care and Nursing Care facilities are prime spots for use of the Montessori Method.