The Montessori teaching method holds promise for the care of patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease. Developed for small children just learning about their environment, Montessori uses tactile (hands-on) training to manipulate simple, every-day objects to reach a goal. The tasks get more complex as the skill level of the student increases. Montessori techniques may also help dementia patients relearn lost skills or retain them longer than they would otherwise.
Research begun ten years ago by psychologist Cameron Camp of the Myers Research Institute in Beachwood, Ohio, showed patients prolonging the period in which they retain skills. Montessori training also reduced the agitation, wandering and loss of attention during the lessons and for an extended period after-wards. The research has been written up favorably in the AARP bulletin (Sept. 2005) and in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Dementia and Other Dementias “AJA” in Vol. 1, 2000.
If you have a loved one or a friend beginning to decline due to dementia, the Montessori Method offers one way to possibly slow the loss of skills. In addition, they may be able to relearn lost skills. The method is also adaptable to use in home-based care. There are a number of resources on-line to order Montessori supplies and activities. Also, in Naples, Terracina Grand is utilizing this method at there new Villa building which exclusively handles dementia patients.