Enriching the lives of older adults with I/DD

“The amount of time you engage your residents in meaningful activity, is the amount of time you won’t have to deal with problems. Montessori will give you the tools to engage them.”

Montessori, an educational method based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play, is most commonly associated with preschoolers. However, Dr. Cameron Camp, Director of the Center for Applied Research in Dementia from Cleveland, OH, has taken those principles and developed a program to enrich the lives of older adults with
I/DD. Dr. Camp and his associate, Vince Antenucci, visited St. Louis Center for three days in February 2019, training 40 St. Louis Center staff in utilizing Montessori methods with SLC residents.

He also held a Special Needs Forum for 45 community members where he outlined his vision to make SLC a Center of Excellence in Michigan. The SLC staff trained by Dr. Camp formed a Montessori Champions group, meeting
monthly to discuss their progress and to promote the concepts throughout the organization.

In the second year, the Champions will take Montessori concepts to the community, working with those outside of the organization to help them more effectively work with adults with I/DD and dementia. According to Dr. Camp, “The amount of time you engage your residents in meaningful activity, is the amount of time you won’t have to deal with problems.
Montessori will give you the tools to engage them.” This work is supported by a two-year grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.