I just read an article where the Montessori Method of teaching is being successfully applied to persons living with dementia including Alzheimer’s Disease.
It’s nice to see this being verified by scientific study. If you’ve been following Caregiving With Purpose in our blog and our webinars, it should not come as a surprise that participating in or watching fun activities that prompt memories of activities done in the past can lead to interest in other activities and life.
In the study, researchers found…
“One patient — a former seamstress, has lost some cognitive and motor skills because of the disease, but showed an enthusiastic reaction to her volunteer rolling the yarn up into balls. At first, Hunter was worried the activity might be too simple, but the woman loved the project. It also caused her to express interest in other activities.”
In my mother Clara’s case, something similar occurred. Clara was a lifelong seamstress and crafter. And more than that, she taught others those skills including my sisters and me. As her health deteriorated, she could no longer plan and complete complex projects. With our help, she was still able to do parts of the project. When she could no longer plan and piece a quilt, she could still quilt.
And quilting while watching television was one of her favorite activities. As you can see in the picture in this post, she was quilting after Emma came to live with us. This was 7 years after the cardiologist claimed Clara would spend the rest of her life in a nursing home, and after the additional diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer.
When she could no longer quilt, she could supervise my sister and me in our projects. When my sister Ann brought her spinning wheel over and spun yarn, Clara was fascinated with it. Her feet started moving and we even bought the foot treadle for her so she could exercise while Ann spun yarn.
Finding an activity Clara was interested in, and adapting her participation in it to what she could do was the key. This is also the impetus behind Jiminy Wicket using croquet to transform the isolation of Alzheimer’s.
Professor Paulette Hunter in the study said about the yarn and the seamstress, “I think it was sparking memories, it was something she liked to do in the past to work with fabric and so on and so forth but it was also something she felt confident doing now. So, an element of what she’d done in the past but at the right level for right now.”
It’s great to see fun activities in caregiving being used in a variety of ways to build bridges between care partners, and to decrease the isolation of caregiving and dementia.
Original Article Source:
To your Happy&Healthy Caregiving,
Ina Gilmore MD
Global Purple Angel Dementia Ambassador
P.S. November is National Family Caregiver Month and Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Join us in honoring, supporting and helping care partners on the Caregiving Heroes Facebook Page.