Montessori-Based Activities Among Persons with Late-Stage Dementia: Evaluation of Mental and Behavioral Health Outcomes

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OBJECTIVES: Literature regarding Montessori-based activities with older adults with dementia is fairly common with early stages of dementia. Conversely, research on said activities with individuals experiencing late-stage dementia is limited because of logistical difficulties in sampling and data collection. Given the need to understand risks and benefits of treatments for individuals with late-stage dementia, specifically regarding their mental and behavioral health, this study sought to evaluate the effects of a Montessori-based activity program implemented in a long-term care facility. METHOD: Utilizing an interrupted time series design, trained staff completed observation-based measures for 43 residents with late-stage dementia at three intervals over six months. Empirical measures assessed mental health (anxiety, psychological well-being, quality of life) and behavioral health (problem behaviors, social engagement, capacity for activities of daily living). RESULTS: Group differences were observed via repeated measures ANOVA and paired-samples t-tests. The aggregate, longitudinal results-from baseline to final data interval-for the psychological and behavioral health measures were as follows: problem behaviors diminished though not significantly; social engagement decreased significantly; capacities for activities of daily living decreased significantly; quality of life increased slightly but not significantly; anxiety decreased slightly but not significantly; and psychological well-being significantly decreased. CONCLUSION: Improvements observed for quality of life and problem behaviors may yield promise for Montessori-based activities and related health care practices. The rapid physiological and cognitive deterioration from late-stage dementia should be considered when interpreting these results.

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Dementia (London, England)

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