Montessori Method Useful in Connecting with Dementia Residents

When exploring options available in assisted living and memory care communities, it’s important to ask if the assisted living community is using the Montessori Method in their caregiving techniques.

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The Montessori Method is becoming popular for caregiving and is used at The Palace Gardens in Homestead, the award-winning memory care and assisted living community. Typically found in schools, Montessori teachers create lessons and activities specifically designed to engage the senses. The more ways students are given to connect with the world, the more their brains become engaged which means more opportunities for the new information to become long-term memory.

How does this work in caregiving? Jennifer Almodovar CTRC, Memory Care Activities Director explains that the goals are similar.

“You want to engage the senses in order to help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients rediscover the world around them. We try to practice connecting with the person wherever they are in their journey of the disease,” she explains. “Sensory experiences are created through physical activities, art and music therapy each day to give our residents opportunities to reconnect with pleasant events and memories of their past. If you take a look at The Palace Gardens’ activity calendar, many activities incorporate these Montessori methods.”

For example, The Palace Gardens offers some form of music every morning and afternoon. Listening to music and singing taps the part of the brain that is the last to be affected by the disease. Various forms of exercise are also provided and residents are encouraged to participate in chair aerobics, seated line dancing, rhythmic movements and more.

“We’re seeing that people enjoy the process of participating in something they used to do regularly and they gain a sense of accomplishment,” she added. “Similarly, our “Walking in the Garden” and “Classic Cinema” is geared to their prior experiences. We also make available activities that may seem difficult for families to appreciate but for someone who was a homemaker, an activity involving baking, setting the table or folding clothes may be enjoyable.”

The Montessori Method also emphasizes positive attitudes and personal touch. Caregivers help residents reconnect with pleasant events of their past. It’s all about connecting with the person despite the disease.

To learn more about The Palace Gardens and its special memory care neighborhood, please call Elizabeth Martinez at 305.247.0446. The community offers many lectures and support groups through their complimentary Passport program.