HomeBlogBeyond Montessori... from planning activities to promoting meaningful living for people with dementia.

Beyond Montessori... from planning activities to promoting meaningful living for people with dementia.

It would be the beginning of this century when, from the Memory Unit of Matia, we wondered what we could do to improve intervention with people who have dementia in more advanced stages. Those people with whom communication is more difficult, those who have difficulty paying attention, those whose abilities are lower, and yet those who represent the highest percentage of those living in residential centers. 

For all of us who work with these people, this task of promoting their well-being is a great challenge that we have to face every day.

Therefore, in 2001 we contacted Dr. Cameron Camp, who had been working for some years with the Montessori method adapted to people with dementia, who kindly invited us to his centers in Ohio to train us in the method and facilitated us to translate and validate it in Spanish. From there, in 2007 came out the first edition of the "Montessori Method for people with dementia", of which more than 7,000 copies were distributed throughout the state.

This has been the way of working for many years in our homes, but the evolution towards a person-centered care, the adaptation of the centers as home spaces, and the inclusion of everyday life and meaningfulness in daily activities, gave us the opportunity to move towards the implementation of activities increasingly linked to the biography of people and related, in many cases, to everyday life (e.g. cooking, folding the sheets, doing the laundry, setting and clearing the table, taking care of the plants, ...).

So the activity is transferred from what we called "therapy rooms" to each of the spaces in which people develop their daily lives. In the environment that for them is "almost" their home. Little by little, the daily routines, those that structure our daily life in each of the homes, have become a regular and natural part of the activity of professionals and residents.

From there, and in view of the fact that we continued to receive external requests for training in the Montessori method, we launched the creation of the "Guide to facilitate the implementation of meaningful daily activity for people with dementia", which contributes to the development of person-centered care in our homes.

From Matia Instituto, and thanks to the support and collaboration of the staff of the gerontological centers of Matia Fundazioa, and the funding of the Department of Social Policies of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, we have managed to make this guide a reality.

A resource for professional caregivers as well as family caregivers at home. 

Providing support and generating well-being in people with dementia is complex and that is why we try to develop tools and materials that, as far as possible, help in their work to all caregivers.

We intend this resource to be a tool that can be used by professionals from various fields who are in the day to day with the commitment and challenge of creating environments and purposeful activities for people with dementia.

It should not be taken as a manual to be performed from start to finish, but is designed to be an additional aid with which to create activities that are considered appropriate for the people we care for.

We also want it to be a tool that can also support all families who care for a person with dementia at home. Therefore, we have tried to make a simple and practical material, which serves as a generator of ideas and is adaptable to different personal and family realities. A tool that, from our own experience, we hope will become a partner and ally in the evolution of the experience of personalized care in centers and homes.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the warm welcome given to this publication, whose presentation, in webinar format, was attended by more than 750 people from very diverse backgrounds. This is an unmistakable sign of the opportunity and interest that exists in the sector to make progress on this issue. If you did not get to see it, it is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZQkKP4Gwxs.


We hope that this path that takes us "beyond Montessori" will be a long path that brings us closer to a care based on individuality, dignity and meaning for people with dementia. The well-being of these people and, therefore, of those who accompany them. Undoubtedly, it deserves it.

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