The Effects of a Montessori-Based Activity on Affect and Engagement in Persons with Dementia
Developing stimulating and engaging group-based activities for persons with dementia can be challenging. A small body of literature has shown that activities based on Montessori principles may be superior to activities typically offered to persons with dementia in terms of increasing engagement and positive affect. The purpose of the current study was to add to this existing literature by comparing the effects of a Montessori-based group activity to typically-offered group activities in a sample of eight individuals with dementia living in a memory-care unit of a long-term care facility. The study used an A-B-A-B experimental design where baseline (A) involved observing activities typically offered in the facility and the intervention (B) involved participants playing a Montessori-based activity called “Memory Bingo”. During both phases, participant’s affect and engagement were recorded through direct observation. The Montessori-based activity appeared to yield greater levels of active engagement compared to typically-offered activities whereas positive affect remained relatively stable throughout all phases. Montessori-based activities, such as the one implemented in this study, may offer a promising alternative approach to activity programming that may result in increased enjoyment and participation in activities for persons with dementia.