Did you know that the Montessori approach, well-known for shaping the minds of young learners, is now being used to bring happiness and engagement to people with dementia?
Read on to learn about different Montessori activities for dementia patients.
Explaining the Method of Montessori for Dementia Patients
Dr. Maria Montessori’s educational philosophies have found a remarkable connection with dementia care, thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Cameron Camp. By applying the principles of independence, purposeful activities, and a respectful environment, the Montessori approach has shown incredible results in improving the lives of individuals with dementia. This approach goes beyond traditional dementia care by shifting the focus from dependence to independence.
Montessori Activities for Dementia Patients
Below are some different Montessori activities for dementia patients to take an active role in their daily lives:
For those with higher cognitive abilities, try incorporating trivia or discussing current events to keep their minds sharp. But for those with more advanced dementia, opt for simpler puzzles that still stimulate the mind. Matching words with objects or identifying famous landmarks can work wonders. Puzzles that build on cognitive skills can be customized to fit your loved one’s skill level, making it an enjoyable and rewarding experience. The most important thing is to ensure your loved one is interested and engaged throughout the activity. Find something that sparks their curiosity and brings them joy. Whether it’s a puzzle or a memory game, the goal is to keep their mind active and their spirits lifted.
Even with dementia, long-term memories can still be preserved. Incorporating your loved one’s skills, history, and background into life skills activities can bring back a sense of joy and connection. For example, if your loved one worked on a farm or had a green thumb, plan an activity like sorting or planting seeds. This simple task can transport them back to their younger years and trigger memories. Maybe your loved one was a skilled handyman. Engaging in activities involving hand tools, such as using a screwdriver or wrench, allows your loved one to tap into their lifelong skills and accomplishments. For those who were homemakers, activities like baking, folding clothes, or small household chores are simple, popular, and customizable. By embracing these Montessori-inspired activities, you can create a nurturing, stimulating environment that promotes engagement and encourages independence.
Purposeful movements help maintain mobility and have a calming effect. Incorporating slow, deep breaths into the activities can further enhance their soothing qualities. Whether your loved one is sitting or standing, there are options for everyone. For sitting activities, try mimicking picking an apple from a tree, picking flowers from a field, or arranging flowers in a vase. These simple yet universal movements can keep them active and exercising. Not only do these activities promote physical well-being, but they also provide cognitive stimulation. Encouraging your loved one to identify the body part they are reaching out to can also further enhance their engagement.
Keeping the mind alert and engaged is crucial for individuals with dementia. Montessori-based activities can help achieve this goal. For the sense of smell, try using scented candles with delightful aromas such as citrus, lavender, cherry, or vanilla. Challenge your loved one to identify each scent and reminisce about their favorite smells. For taste, have your loved one close their eyes and try three different types of fruit to see if they can recognize each fruit by its taste or texture. You can engage their sense of touch by encouraging them to identify objects by picking them up. This activity can be easily adapted to their skill level, making it suitable for everyone.
Engaging with music can be a powerful tool for people with dementia. Research shows that the part of the brain that recognizes music is often one of the last to be affected.
Whether it’s listening to music, identifying songs, or singing along, these Montessori activities for dementia patients can bring joy and foster connection in group settings. From patriotic songs to church hymns, music has the incredible ability to resonate across generations. Simple interactions with musical instruments like drums or bells can also be rewarding and incorporate movement.
People diagnosed with dementia still have a great amount of creativity. Engaging in art activities can be a wonderful way for your loved ones to express themselves and tap into their imaginative side.
One good idea to explore is painting in a simplified setting. Whether they choose to draw their favorite picture or try their hand at copying a photo, this Montessori activity for dementia patients can bring immense joy and satisfaction to your loved one.
Setting the table and involving your loved ones in meal preparation can give them a strong sense of belonging. It’s a great way to encourage socialization and create memorable experiences together.
Make it a daily ritual: Invite them to set the table, allowing them to feel a sense of purpose and involvement. You can even ask for their help in preparing their favorite dish, sparking their enthusiasm and creativity in the kitchen. But it’s not just about the food—mealtime conversations can truly enrich their lives. By incorporating socialization through dining, you’re not only providing a stimulating activity but also fostering a sense of belonging for your loved ones.
Discover the signs that it may be time for your loved one to transition to an assisted living facility.
The Montessori Method offers incredible benefits and can be easily adapted to meet their unique needs and interests.
At Fairmont Senior Living on Clayton, we provide a Montessori-based memory care approach that promotes a fulfilling community experience for residents and their families.We prioritize equality, dignity, and respect for our residents, ensuring they feel a sense of belonging. Our dedicated staff understands that behavioral expressions in dementia are signs of unmet needs and that meaningful engagement is the best medicine. Contact us today to learn more about our Montessori-based memory care program.