Alzheimer’s Australia national president Ita Buttrose and American dementia expert Dr Cameron Camp at Wednesday’s launch of new Monterssori inspired resource Relate, Motivate, Appreciate
A set of new resources based on the Montessori education method aiming to help family carers maintain better relationships with their loved ones with dementia and an accompanying national workshop tour has been launched by Alzheimer’s Australia this week.
The resources have been developed by Alzheimer’s Australia in partnership with researchers from Monash University and American dementia expert Dr Cameron Camp, who, together with Alzheimer’s Australia president and Australian of the Year Ita Buttrose, launched the resource Relate, Motivate, Appreciate at the Melbourne Convention Centre on Wednesday.
Relate, Motivate, Appreciate is based on principles developed by Italian educator Maria Montessori in the early 1900s and focuses on enhancing relationships by tailoring interactions to a person’s interests and abilities.
“The Montessori approach to dementia care is a game changer,” said Dr Camp, who is Director of Research at the Centre for Applied Research in Dementia in Ohio, USA.
The resources feature a range of watching, listening, touching, smelling, and tasting activities, such as making puzzles, dancing, clothes sorting, making coffee and barbecuing.
Dr Camp said the Montessori approach could significantly benefit both family carers and people with dementia.
He is in Australia until mid-September conducting workshops and training seminars on Montessori approaches to dementia care.
Ms Buttrose said the resources aimed to help carers learn new ways of interacting with their loved ones through activities that rely less on language and more on what their loved one still knows and enjoys.
“One of the hardest things that many carers of people with dementia have to face is visiting their loved one in a nursing home and not knowing how to interact or maintain a meaningful connection,”ÂÂÂ Ms Buttrose said.
Suitable activities might include arranging flowers with a relative who was a keen gardener, or spending time together listening to a person’s favourite music from their earlier years, she said.
“These resources and the Montessori principles on which they are based are central to Alzheimer’s Australia’s philosophy in respecting and appreciating the uniqueness and individuality of every person with dementia, no matter how much care and support they might need,” Ms Buttrose said.
Alzheimer’s Australia report that 321,000 Australians are living with dementia and that more than half of the 200,000 Australians in residential aged care facilities have the condition.
Relate, Motivate, Appreciate
The Montessori inspired resources have been developed as part of Alzheimer’s Australia’s National Quality Dementia Care Initiative, which is supported by the J.O. & J.R. Wicking Trust and Bupa Care Services.
There are two pdfs available to download for free.
Relate, Motivate, Appreciate – Introduction (pdf) is a 20-page booklet providing an introduction to Montessori activities.
Relate, Motivate, Appreciate: a Montessori resource (pdf) is a 71-page book which also includes 28 activities in total categorsied as watching, listening, touching, smelling, or tasting activities, plus case studies and an appendix with other related resources.
There is also a DVD available which introduces the concept of Montessori and shows examples of its application.
Examples of the Montessori inspired activities can also be viewed on YouTube here: Montessori Resources
Links to download the pdf of the print resources can be found at the bottom of this page: Cameron Camp tour and resources
Dr Camp’s tour, which kicked off in Melbourne 25 July and runs until 11 September, includes full- and half-day workshops with consumers and service providers on Montessori approaches to dementia care.
Stops on the tour include Melbourne, Geelong, Hobart, Launceston, Canberra, Parramatta, Port Macquarie, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth and Adelaide.
Links to download the resources plus information about the dates and content of each of the workshops is available here: Cameron Camp tour and resources
People interested in attending a workshop should contact the Alzheimer’s Australia office in the city nearest them to check for availability. Contact details are available via the above link.
For more information on dementia, call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit Alzheimer’s Australia’s website.