By Michelle Ferrara
January is Alzheimers Awareness month, so I would like to share info on Montessori for those with dementia. This is a beautiful philosophy which focuses on the whole person AS THEY ARE NOW, respecting what they CAN do and implementing this through various methods beginning with discovery of the person. In looking at the whole person-mind, body, spirit, we begin to learn about them….what is their life story, who were they? In understanding all this, we can begin to appreciate who they are now, and understand how to care for them today. We focus on the things they are capable of doing, of enjoying, and find positive ways to engage them. This creates a life of meaning and purpose. Typically – results in reduced behaviour-associated issues because the APPROACH is different…. treat them differently and they respond accordingly. Montessori seeks to engage the person -their Abilities-vs-non-abilities, and tries to reach ‘beyond the veil’ to trigger the individual. This sets up a beautiful blossoming within the person-no matter their age or stage-and creates happiness within. Music is often a part of Montessori-reaching people even in later stages-and knowing their life story is important in choosing the type of music leading to a happy response. People with no function will often respond with JOY, when hearing the music of their youth. People with no verbal functioning can respond with humming and rocking to the tune-putting a smile on family and caregivers faces as their loved one finds happiness once again!