ALZHEIMER: The adapted Montessori method
People with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias need support rich in regular cognitive stimulation and maintenance of social participation. Lack of activity often breeds apathy or anxiety and cascades in behavioral disturbances. The aim of the adapted Montessori method is to offer activities adapted to the abilities and interests of people with Alzheimer's. These activities will give the sick person a feeling of action: the famous "helping to do it alone" of the original method. The goal is to allow people to continue to live as long as possible in action and to break free from passivity while maintaining a social bond.
Basically, this method was created by Maria Montessori to educate the children of working-class neighborhoods in Rome. It was then adapted by Professor Camp for use with elderly people with cognitive impairment.
A suitable environment
Montessori pedagogy focuses on the skills available and adapts the environment (eg, suitable signage and material) so that it is meaningful to people without the need to use higher functions to understand it. Signage should help locating in space and recognizing objects, in particular to compensate for cognitive deficits due to illness.
Stability is a key environmental factor in order to avoid generating anxiety and to preserve autonomy in space.
The importance of routines
It is important to create routines and rituals, especially by codifying each start and end of activity. Breaking down the activity into several stages makes it easier to understand and complete it.
The accompanying person focuses on non-verbal, sensory and motor communication rather than verbal communication only: talk less, show and watch more, make people feel and listen ...
The method will also endeavor not to put the elderly person in a situation of failure, as this negatively influences self-esteem and can generate anxiety, which then leads to behavioral problems (aggressiveness, etc.).
The importance of procedural memory
The adapted Montessori activities are based on the preserved skills and procedural memory of people with Alzheimer's disease. The activities offered are not limited to just leisure activities. They also integrate the gestures and actions that we perform on a daily basis from getting up to going to bed. Thus, all the acts of daily life are activities that it is possible to offer to people living in nursing homes: setting the table, folding the laundry, playing cards, watering the plants ...
Some suitable tools
The birdhouse construction set : The parts of this cabin can easily be put together and then taken apart. Ideal for preserving or awakening manual labor skills! This kit stimulates executive functions and action planning. Content: 11 pieces in birch and beech, screws and nuts, 11 cards with step-by-step explanatory drawings.
Discovery tray : A baccalaureate to learn while experimenting! In free play, we do finger drawings, sift the sand or hide objects ... During a guided activity, we work on laterality, graphics ... In wood with a Sécurit glass base. 2 sizes: small (36 x 26.8 cm, 400 gr of sand, 1 rake) and large (65.5 x 49.9 cm, 1 kg of sand, 3 rakes).
Mini screw and bolt assembly workbench : We use both hands to assemble the two parts of this workbench by screwing the 7 screws on the 7 bolts. Increasing sizes of screws and bolts. We like to feel the heavy metal of the pieces. An excellent support for training hand-eye coordination and finger agility for children, but also older ones! Neutral looking toy with no childish connotations.
Aquapaint nature : 5 illustrated scenes on the theme of nature to reveal with a brush soaked in water. Contact with water will make the colors appear. Then these will gradually fade over time. A painting material that does not put any pressure on the user: it can go beyond the lines, it does not matter! Reusable.