Montessori-Based Dementia Programming
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Montessori-Based Dementia Programming (MBDP) is a method of working with older adults living with cognitive and/or physical impairments based on the ideas of the educator Maria Montessori. It has been shown to increase levels of engagement and participation in activities of persons with dementia. While it can not cure or prevent Alzheimer's disease, it has been shown to generally improve many aspects of the quality of life of those who have it.
Montessori-Based Dementia Programming uses rehabilitation principles including guided repetition, task breakdown, and progressing from simple to complex. Additionally, principles of dementia interventions such as external cue usage and reliance on implicit memory are used. Examples of activities include reading groups and memory games.
Where is it used?
This method of helping persons with dementia and other memory impairments has been shown to be effective  in a number of different contexts, including long-term care, assisted living, independent living and home-based care. It is also used in intergenerational programming where older adults with memory impairments and young children participate together in Montessori-based activities.
Who uses it?
Montessori-based Dementia Programming is primarily used by recreational therapists and activities professionals. However, Dr. Cameron Camp stresses that any staff member of a nursing facility (nurses, social workers, dietary staff) should be trained in and implement Montessori-based Dementia Programming with their residents.
MBDP has been researched for over ten years by Dr. Cameron Camp (the creator of MBDP) and the staff of the Myers Research Institute.
MBDP received the Excellence in Research and Education Award from the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA). The creators of MBDP also received the 2004 Healthcare and Aging Award given by the American Society on Aging (ASA).
The science behind this work has been best described in scientific articles and trade journals, ranging from The Gerontologist to Activity Director's Quarterly and from Caring (the magazine of the National Association for Home Care) to Topics in Geriatric Rehab. It has also been featured in a story in the AARP Bulletin.
On 11-28-07 the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a story about MBDP on the front page of the Metro section. This story highlights the use of the technique in a long-term care facility.