“We could transform the quality of life of those living with dementia with an approach that helps individuals to be as independent as possible”, says aged care Montessorian and ageing expert Anne Kelly who leads our Montessori for Dementia and Ageing course.
“It doesn’t matter how old we are, whether we’re 4, 40 or 104 years of age, we all need a reason to get out of bed every day. Maria Montessori built her ethos on independence, meaningful engagement, high self-esteem, and the ability to make true choices. In essence, to feel valued, which transfers over into aged care.
“I’ve worked in nursing and aged care, in particular dementia, for about 40 years. The more experience I gained, the more concerned I became about the care delivered to older people.
“Dementia can result in people feeling worthless, the routines of the care home can so easily rob people of their independence and dignity. The Montessori approach can dramatically improve well-being and enable people to do things for themselves again rather than having things done for or to them. It empowers not only elderly people especially those living with dementia but also care partners and families too.
“By creating an environment filled with cues and memory supports, those living with dementia gain greater independence and can make a meaningful contribution to their community. Having roles, activities and routines in which they can succeed increases self-confidence, reduces anxiety and improves well-being.
“This person-centred philosophy of care is gaining momentum in the UK, Australia and the US and has a positive impact on both families and residential care settings. Homes become happier places for all, with less need for expensive one-on-one care and, staff are less likely to take sick leave or spend time dealing with family complaints.
“The approach has even been shown to reduce the use of drugs – in one residential setting the use of antipsychotic drugs was eliminated and, the use of sedatives was reduced, from 67% to just 2% – read the research.
“The impact this work is having on care communities around the world is astounding. I’m delighted to be working with the Maria Montessori Institute to offer online training for professional carers and families to support a similar shift in care for elderly people, especially those living with dementia in the UK.”