About the Montessori Approach to Ageing and Dementia Care
Montessori has come to the forefront of alternative dementia treatment in recent years . The concept of using the Montessori approach with dementia patients stems from the idea that these patients, like children, need individualised, sensorial experiences in order to thrive.
Scientific studies conducted over the past two decades have revealed that dementia patients participating in a Montessori program experience less agitation and wandering (two common symptoms of the neurological disease) and become less reliant on medication to control their dementia. Further research into Montessori and its effects on older adults has also revealed that it’s not just for dementia patients. In fact, most nursing home residents can benefit from Montessori-style activities and experiences. Studies show that this approach can result in increased feelings of self-worth, greater levels of engagement, and more communication with staff, family members, and fellow residents. Learn more specifically about our dementia care services:
At Foxburrow Grange we specialise in the care for those experiencing dementia, and use the Montessori Aged Care approach towards dementia care.
The term dementia is used to describe a range of conditions which affect the brain and result in an impairment of the person’s function. The person may experience memory loss, problems with communication, impaired reasoning and difficulties with daily living skills. This can result in changes in behaviour, which can disrupt their ability to live independently and may affect social relationships. There are more than 100 different types of dementia. The most common cause is Alzheimer’s disease, where there tends to be a progressive and gradual decline over time. Another common type is vascular dementia, where small blood vessels in the brain become damaged and the circulation is affected. Other types include dementia with Lewy bodies, fronto-temporal lobe dementias, Posterior- Cortical Atrophy and alcohol related dementia.
Each type of dementia has different features and people may experience elements of more than one type of dementia, in which case a mixed dementia may be diagnosed. Although dementia is more prevalent with increasing age, it is not a normal feature of ageing. Sadly however, dementia can also affect younger people, this known as young onset dementia or early onset dementia, and attributed to sufferers under the age of 65 and something we are encountering more care requests for.
Ultimately dementia is a progressive and terminal condition, which will in most cases lead to increasing cognitive difficulties and dependence on others. How long the person will live depends upon the type of dementia, their age and their general health, but many will live with the condition for several years and can have a good quality of life.
It is vital to understand that while some general statements can be made about dementia, each individual will be affected differently. Also, while a dementia disease fundamentally changes the way in which a person functions, it is only one aspect of their life. Rather than seeing ‘someone with a dementia’ it is essential to seek to understand the individual. Knowing and respecting each person remains central to the relationship and includes:
• Valuing people with dementia and those who care for them and recognising their rights. • Treating people as individuals; appreciating that all people have a unique history and personality. • Looking at the world from the perspective of the person and listening to their voice. • Recognising that all human life is grounded in relationships and that people need to live in a social environment, which supports their wellbeing. • Understanding changes related to behaviour and mood. Affording opportunities for new and life affirming experiences.