Group of elderly people laughing and smiling watching TV
27 Sep 2021

Southern Cross Care Tasmania, an aged care provider, was the first in Tasmania to implement Montessori principles for ageing and dementia at one of its locations, Rivulet Memory Support Unit.

The results noticed by the CEO of Southern Cross Care, Robyn Boyd, were so impressive that she decided to expand the plan to more facilities. Robyn reports that after the adoption of the Montessori model, residents are engaged and motivated, and seem happy, rather than bored. “It is all about quality of life for residents and only four weeks after its introduction, a simple glance around the room shows the impact and success of a Montessori model,” she said. According to Robyn, the Montessori model relies on maintaining independence and meaningful engagement by, for example, using signage, cue cards and task breakdowns to support memory loss, as well as encouraging fine motor skills.

Staff from Rivulet Memory Support Unit, who have attended a four-day training course on the Montessori approach, report that residents have a rosier outlook on life and feel a sense of purpose again. The use of medication has gone down, as have falls. “There’s also been a huge change in staff,” reports manager Lesa Kerston, “they are more positive and it doesn’t feel like they are coming to work anymore.”

Anne Kelly, Head of Montessori for Dementia and Aging at AMI, praised Southern Cross Care for being the first to implement the Montessori approach, which she says “[…] is about independence and choice and helping people relearn skills so they can continue to feed and dress themselves. The results are profound.”

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