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Effects of intergenerational Montessori-based activities programming on engagement of nursing home residents with dementia

Authors Michelle M Lee, Cameron J Camp, Megan L Malone

Published 15 October 2007 Volume 2007:2(3) Pages 477—483

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Michelle M Lee1, Cameron J Camp2, Megan L Malone2

1Midwestern University, Department of Behavioral Medicine, Downers Grove, IL , USA; 2Myers Research Institute of Menorah Park Center for Senior Living, Beachwood, OH, USA

Abstract: Fourteen nursing home residents on a dementia special care unit at a skilled nursing facility took part in one-to-one intergenerational programming (IGP) with 15 preschool children from the facility’s on-site child care center. Montessori-based activities served as the interface for interactions between dyads. The amount of time residents demonstrated positive and negative forms of engagement during IGP and standard activities programming was assessed through direct observation using a tool developed for this purpose – the Myers Research Institute Engagement Scale (MRI-ES). These residents with dementia displayed the ability to successfully take part in IGP. Most successfully presented “lessons” to the children in their dyads, similar to the way that Montessori teachers present lessons to children, while persons with more severe cognitive impairment took part in IGP through other methods such as parallel play. Taking part in IGP was consistently related with higher levels of positive engagement and lower levels of negative forms of engagement in these residents with dementia than levels seen in standard activities programming on the unit. Implications of using this form of IGP, and directions for future research, are discussed.

Keywords: Montessori-based activities, intergenerational programming, engagement, dementia

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