There are over 50 million people worldwide living with dementia and its symptoms of cognitive impairment, with nearly 10 million new cases every year1. In Pennsylvania alone, 280,000 people 65 and older have Alzheimer’s2.
The most common types of dementia are:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Vascular Dementia
- Frontotemporal Dementia
Although all are dementia, the effects on each person can be quite different.
Montessori Method of Dementia Care
Over the years, care for people with dementia has improved through “new” methods such as the Montessori Method. In the Montessori Method, when you are working with a person, you must see the whole person first and consider the person’s capabilities, needs, history, background, and interest. All behaviors have reason, and with critical thinking, caregivers can adjust problematic behaviors.
In the Montessori Method, the caregiver looks to engage and challenge the person with dementia, while staying close to their comfort zone and interests. These should meaningful, slightly challenging tasks based on their physical skills and background. All tasks should have a purpose, but the person should have a choice. By using all the senses and the capabilities of the person, the Montessori Method helps the resident discover the world around them and reconnect with memories the resident still has. This allows them to engage with others and slow cognitive decline. Plus, engagement can help reduce the depression that often accompanies dementia.
A Few Tips for Interacting and Engaging with Someone With Dementia
- Work within the reality of the person
- Create a positive environment
- Demonstration over talking
- Providing purpose and accomplishment
- Focus on the abilities that remain
- Give love and happiness
- Engage with a challenge
- Slow down
- Breakdown a task into smaller simple tasks
Many retirement communities offer memory care support for those with dementia (including Alzheimer’s). At United Zion Retirement Community, a local Lititz-based Life Plan Community in Lancaster County, staff is trained on the Montessori Method (as well as several other methods) for all levels of care. They find the Montessori Method to be a good fit for the person-centered care culture at United Zion and their integrated approach to memory care. The incorporation of the Montessori Method into the memory care program at United Zion has helped residents with improving moods and engaging with others. Staff at United Zion state that it is about entering the world of the person with dementia, understanding them and thinking critically about how to reach them.
Dementia Stats: USA and Lancaster County, PA
- 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia in Lancaster County. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.3
- In 2017 in Lancaster County, PA:4
- 273 people died from Alzheimer’s
- 352 people died from dementia
- 625 people died from dementia or Alzheimer’s
- Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.3
- 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.3
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December, 2018. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2017, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html on Jul 24, 2019