Montessori education isn’t just for kids. Jennifer Brush, MA, CCC/SLP, President of Brush Development, has brought the methods of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) to the United States for application in the senior living setting, especially dementia care.
AMI, based in The Netherlands, began its aging-related curriculum and certified training two years ago. Brush is the first AMI-certified instructor in the United States to offer the AMI Aging and Dementia Practitioner Certificate Course, which involves a minimum of 60 hours of classroom and self-study work, a two-day workshop, various case study assignments and an examination.
Did you know?Montessori-based principles are named for Maria Montessori, a 1900s Italian physician whose work with so-called “unteachable” children led to new approaches to education and engagement.
"The AMI Montessori for Aging and Dementia is a philosophy of care for seniors of all ages, including individuals living with dementia," Brush told Long-Term Living. "After completing an assessment of eachperson’s skills and abilities, specific roles, routines and activities are developed for each individual that are meaningful to that person–giving each person the opportunity to enjoy an enriched life. The environment is designed according to dementia care best practices and Montessori principles so that it increases independence, thus reducing the need for staff assistance. Central to this program is empowerment of elders to help them care for themselves, care for others and care for their community. I truly believe the AMI Montessori for Aging and Dementia program gives elders a purpose, a reason to get out of bed every day, and enhances their self-esteem. In my experience, care communities implementing this approach have staff and residents who partner together to create a community where everyone thrives."
Brush also serves on AMI’s advisory board for Montessori for Aging and Dementia, which developed the AMI standards for Montessori-based dementia care programs.