The Montessori Method, according to the American Montessori Society, is “a view of the student as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole student- physical, social, emotional, cognitive.” Each person is considered as a whole with all aspects of the individual, such as their physical, emotional, cognitive, social, spiritual and aesthetic aspects considered equally important. The student learns through social interaction and the manipulation of objects around them.
The Montessori approach is now being implemented in senior care facilities through various skill-building activities. Montessori activities help to keep seniors with dementia happy, productive and confident. Seniors will build upon the skills that they already possess to establish skills and gain some memory back. The goal of the Montessori approach is to break down a task into several small steps instead of one big step. Performing tasks this way will be easier for an elderly person to remember the proper steps and the order the steps go in, setting them up for success.
Examples of Montessori activities for the elderly include letter recognition cards, books, puzzles, matching, and sorting games, or even folding towels. To set the individual up for success, have them do activities that are related to their past experiences. Examples of this would be having someone match country flags if they used to travel the world or have them make a simple fruit salad or smoothie if they liked to cook in the past.
Individuals with dementia will learn to enjoy the activities and will eagerly and actively participate. They will feel more confident and accomplished and may even be able to remember how to perform simple tasks on their own that they may not have been able to do before.
Source: American Montessori Society