OMNI homes embrace Montessori programming

Proving successful in curbing agitation

For one resident, it’s colouring.

For another senior, it’s sorting through financial pamphlets.

The activities are different but they share a common purpose and are having a similar impact on long-term care home residents.

OMNI Health Care staff members are using Montessori-based activities to help avoid responsive behaviours before they happen.

Montessori programming in long-term care homes includes activities that build upon residents’ strengths and are guaranteed to produce a success for the resident.

At Burnbrae Gardens, a colouring activity is making a big difference for residents who have dementia-related agitation.

Allison Juniper and other life enrichment aides at the Campbellford, Ont. long-term care home have been printing pictures retrieved from the Internet for residents to colour – and it has proven to be an activity residents are gravitating towards.

Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) April Faux says because the program encourages residents to focus and utilize their creativity, it’s an excellent tool to use in groups or as a one-to-one activity to prevent agitation.

“I’ve never seen the residents so engaged and focused,” she recently told The OMNIway.

Burnbrae Gardens launched a colouring program in January. The program is held a couple of times a week and is designed to enhance quality of life for residents living with cognitive impairment.

Staff members at Village Green have found Montessori programs to be successful at proactively curbing agitation and responsive behaviours in residents living with cognitive impairment.

Karen Coulter, the Selby, Ont. long-term care home’s LEC, says staff members have used a variety of Montessori-based activities, which include folding clothes, puzzles, sensory programming, working with building blocks, photographs for reminiscing and sorting objects.

“One of our residents worked in a bank, and what we did was we went to some banks and collected leaflets on GICs and mortgages that he could sort through,” Karen told The OMNIway.

“These (interventions) help stimulate residents and prevent boredom.”

Most importantly, Village Green team members try to prevent agitation, Karen adds.

“We know that many residents start getting agitated in late afternoon, when sundowning occurs, so we try to be preventative and get them engaged before they become agitated,” she says.

Montessori programming is always done individually or in small groups. All Montessori programs are individualized to meet the needs of residents, and staff members can refer to residents’ care plans to learn more about the types of activities people enjoy.

If you have feedback on this article or a story idea for The OMNIway, please e-mail nataliemiller@rogers.com or call Natalie at 647-980-4278.