The Perfect Partnership

Montessori, changing the lives of people living with dementia


Many of us are familiar with the term Montessori as it applies to education but only a few of us in Australia are familiar with the application of Montessori methods for Dementia.

As an innovative method of working with older adults living with cognitive and/or physical impairments, Montessori has the potential to change the lives of people in residential care and enhance the lives of people in their own homes. Montessori for Dementia is based on the educational philosophies of famed childhood educator Dr. Maria Montessori. Her philosophy and principles were discovered to be effectively adapted to dementia care.

Research has provided clear evidence of decreases in responsive behaviours and increased levels of engagement and participation in activities when Montessori approaches are implemented.

Montessori for Dementia provides the framework for realising the vision of independence, high self-esteem and a promising future for people living with dementia.  Montessori for Dementia Australia is closely linked with DementiAbility in Canada and a member of International Montessori for Elders. Montessori for Dementia and DementiAbility Enterprises Inc.  both provide Montessori methods training and work together to change the world of people living with dementia.

Montessori for Dementia is a model of care, a new way to deliver care which requires us to change all we thought we knew about dementia and providing care for people living with dementia. Montessori for dementia  focus’s on supporting both the person and the environment which is adapted to support memory loss and independence.  We are unable to change the terrible effects of dementia but by embracing Montessori principles and implementing environmental adaption’s (including meaningful activities, roles and environmental cueing) we can circumvent the dementia.  The result is that people living with dementia are able to make meaningful contributions to their community, engage in meaningful activities in addition to having the opportunity to maintain, and even restore function. The approach is flexible, innovative and grounded in research.

A past student’s comments … “Just a little feedback to some changes we have made immediately. Signs on the walls have already been put up, within 5 minutes residents were sitting reading the magazines and books, it’s truly amazing!!

One of our residents has been helping with some chores today, I have taken photos of her beaming smile. Every time I see her she comments – don’t forget dear anytime you need help just ask, I love helping. These few change has already made a difference. Thank you so much for your inspiration”.

Thelma’s Story

After completing the two day Montessori for Dementia workshop Pamela Aldridge  was able to apply the Montessori principles and change the life of Thelma, a lady with dementia living with her daughter.  In this short clip, Pamela and Cheryl , Thelma’s daughter talk about their Montessori journey.

Katie’s Story

Katie is a nurse. She reluctantly went to Montessori training but soon realized that her ‘nursing’ life was about to change for ever. Everything she had ever known about caring for people living with dementia was about to be challenged. This is her story.

The links below take you to two Montessori videos that show how changing the face of aged care is possible, one step at a time.

Short Version – approx. 8 minutes

Long Version – approx. 21 minutes

IME logoMember of International Montessori for Elders – promoting Montessori methods through enabling environments and meaningful engagement.