Dementia Care

Dementia Care - The Montessori Way

Dementia Care

Dr. Cameron Camp is the director of research and development at the Center of Applied Research in Dementia.  Thinking creatively, Dr. Camp has taken a teaching method traditionally used on younger children and applied it to help people who suffer from dementia.  Dementia care - the Montessori way has been studied and applied successfully over the last decade.

The 3 primary methods to achieve these goals are

1. Making connections

The idea that people living with dementia still have much to contribute to their families, friends and community members is forefront in Dr. Camp’s R&D.  The goal is to apply or translate findings from other areas of psychology to work with these patients who receive dementia care.  Dr. Camp states that “the focus is working with the strengths that remain: finding the person behind the memory problems, engaging the individual and letting everyone involved have a feeling of success and accomplishment.”

2. Creating Memories

Dr. Camp created an intervention called “space retrieval” which teaches Alzheimer’s patients how to recall information over increasingly longer periods of time using objects to help them remember.

Dr. Camp affirms that “by creating these cognitive prostheses, deficits in memory and executive function can be circumvented and hence boost people’s sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.”

3. Development Psychology

To focus on human growth and changes in the development of:

  • Physical
  • Cognitive
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Perceptual
  • Personality
  • Emotional growth

Who is Dr. Maria Montessori?

Maria Montessori was a physician who lived between 1870-1952.  She had unique ideas that changed the way we think about children and learning.

Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy was to enable individuals to:

  • Be as independent as possible
  • To have a meaningful place in their community
  • To have high self-esteem
  • To have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to their community

Dr. Cameron Camp intertwined the Montessori philosophy and implemented as a philosophy of dementia care for individuals, in particular, seniors by:

  1. Placing an emphasis on the environment including activities designed for each individual’s level of ability, and;
  2. Placing emphasis on meaning and purpose which includes roles and routines

Below are Montessori based tasks

Use every day material

  • Provide structure and order
  • Immediate feedback
  • High probability of success
  • RepetitionTask breakdown
  • Task breakdown

Utilize Procedural Memory

  • Provide structure and order
  • Immediate feedback
  • High probability of success
  • Repetition

Below is a link to fantastic article on the Montessori Methods for Dementia (dementia care) used in a Toronto hospital

Below is a heartfelt testimonial regarding Montessori based activities for an Alzheimer's patient who is receiving dementia care:

I wanted to express my gratitude to everyone for the amazing work that you are all doing with my mother. Given her diagnosis and lack of motivation to engage in any kind of activity, my brother and I sadly watched our mother withdraw into a shadow of who she really was. Since participating in the Montessori Methods for Dementia she has regained her confidence, is showing interest in the world around her, and, in general, seems much happier. This is dementia care at its best!

We now feel confident that thanks to your efforts we have extended her time in independent living. Of course safety is our first concern, however, we are happy to provide our mother with the added stimulation and enjoyment that offers her a better quality of life.
— Ruth F. Toronto

To find out more about Mavencare's Dementia Care services give us a call at 1-800-856-2836. We provide free consultation.

Aging with Music


Music has incredible power, especially for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Various studies and research have indicated that it can spark compelling outcomes even in later stages of the disease; this is because a person’s ability to engage in music can stay intact late into the disease process.

Most people associate music with important events and strong emotions. The connection can be strong enough that hearing music can spark a memory of events and emotions. Music that is soothing to one person might remind another individual of an emotional event.

The key to success lies in selecting music that is most likely to produce the desired responses:

  • Studies have shown that selections from the individuals’ young adult years are more likely to demonstrate strong responses and potential engagement.
  • Similarly, unfamiliar music can be used as relaxation therapy to enhance sleep as well as manage stress and agitation.
  • Music from one’s childhood sung in the person’s native language can help increase involvement in later stages of dementia.
  • When introducing music, it can be useful to initially observe the individual’s response so that you can compile a catalog of links between music and responses, especially if links to music are unknown.

How to use music therapy?

Some of the suggestions by the Division of Music Education at the University of Kansas* are summarized below.

Early Stage Dementia:

  • Use music that the person liked in the past
  • Encourage the individual to play an instrument that they played in the past

Middle Stage Dementia:

  • Play music as the individual is walking to improve balance
  • Use background music to enhance mood

Late Stage Dementia:

  • Use music of old favourites
  • Sing along with tunes of popular music for the individual’s generation
  • Exercise to music
  • Play soothing music


Education and Care - Music -

* Contributed by Alicia Ann Clair, Ph.D., MT-BC, professor and director of the Division of Music Education and Music at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. “How-to” section contributed by Concetta M. Tomaino, DA, MT-BC, vice president for music therapy and director of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function at Beth Abraham Family of Health Services, Bronx, NY.

Official study reveals that the average person will spend 13 years of their lives listening to music