Montessori reading group gets residents talking
Staff members express surprise, excitement at program's successAugust 24, 2012
A Montessori-based reading program introduced to residents with cognitive impairment at Burnbrae Gardens by life enrichment aide Karen Lloyd is proving to be an effective tool for getting residents reading and talking.
The amazing thing about the program is that some of the residents who are participating normally speak very little. While residents with cognitive impairment may have lost their abilities to perform some tasks, many can still read if the right material is provided, the team discovered.
Large-print books supplied for free through the home’s participation in the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) project are getting residents reading aloud in the reading group. And this is exactly the outcome Lloyd and life enrichment co-ordinator April Faux were hoping to see.
“The Montessori reading group is a tremendous program — some of the residents who are lower functioning are showing they have the capability to read (even if) they don’t know how to converse,” Lloyd tells the OMNIway.
“I just give them a book in large print with a nice little story, and it gives them a sense of (accomplishment). One lady said to me, ‘Thank you very much for showing me that I can live again.’ ”
The Campbellford long-term care home received funding from the BSO project to train staff members in Montessori programming. Faux was one of the staff members who attending Montessori training in March, and she then brought the knowhow gleaned from the two-day session to Lloyd and other staff members. Faux then trained personal support workers and others in Montessori techniques.
While other Montessori programming has worked well, the reading group has proven itself to be the star, says Faux.
“It’s amazing to see people who are barely able to say anything . . . read the entire book and feel good about it, and answer questions and bring back memories,” she says, adding Lloyd has been a champion of the home’s entire Montessori initiative.
BSO is a $40-million initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education.
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