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Sydney facility first to achieve Montessori tick

Anglicare’s Elizabeth Lodge has become the first residential aged care facility in Australia to receive Montessori accreditation.

The Montessori model aims for a person-centred approach that focuses on independence, choice, self-esteem and meaningful engagement.

Elizabeth Lodge manager Rae Blackledge said the Montessori approach was about understanding the residents and looking at their capabilities rather than their shortcomings.

Then it is about changing the environment and how you care for the person within that environment to provide meaning and purpose to their day, Ms Blackledge said.

“If they can do a job, give them a job to do and work around their limitations. Break down tasks for them into manageable actions. Use cue cards and bright signs around the home to assist people with memory loss,” Ms Blackledge said.

“Not only does this reduce anxiety, it empowers them to make some decisions for themselves so that they can retain a level of dignity and independence.”

The Australian Montessori quality assurance program for aged and dementia care communities is a new initiative from Montessori Ageing and Support Services (MASS).

MASS managing director Anne Kelly said Ms Blackledge has led and mentored a passionate and committed team to develop a Montessori environment within Elizabeth Lodge in Sydney.

“Elizabeth Lodge deserve this recognition and as the first service provider in Australia to receive such a status, they are to be applauded,” Ms Kelly said.

The Montessori environment at Anglicare’s Elizabeth Lodge

MASS is a division of the Montessori Australia Foundation, which is the peak national body for Montessori in Australia.

MAF chief operating officer Victoria Marshall-Cerins said Montessori environments were set up to meet the needs of the individuals living in them and each environment looked different.

“We include memory cues to enable people to find their way around and to be able to undertake activities independently and we incorporate the use the roles based on what a person has done throughout their lives,” Ms Marshall-Cerins told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“Those skills and knowledge are brought into that care community so the person can continue to function in an independent and purposeful way as a member of the community.”

She said aged care and dementia care residents could lose physical skills through lack of use and Montessori environments provided opportunities for activity that enabled resident to recover movement, she said.

Montessori Ageing Support Services is presenting at the upcoming Active Ageing Conference 2017 on 30 August at Bayview Eden Melbourne.

In the interactive session, participants will hear how Montessori is used in different settings and develop activities for a particular environment.

The Active Ageing Conference is hosted by Community Care Review and Australian Ageing Agenda. Click here to register.

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