The Montessori approach to dementia care is a message of hope, an expert says.
Dr Cameron Camp was a keynote speaker at Omnicare Alliance’s inaugural regional dementia conference, The RED Conference – A Regional Experience in Practical Dementia Care.
Dr Camp said the Montessori approach to dementia care had the right values as it emphasised respect, dignity and equality.
“It also has the right approach,” he said.
“It says let’s look at what a person’s capabilities are, let’s look at a way to get around any challenges a person has.”
Dr Camp said it was about sending a message of hope and living well with dementia.
Doug and Tina Lee took part in the conference.
Doug is a carer for his wife Tina who has been diagnosed with memory loss and the loss of other cognitive function.
Doug said someone being diagnosed with a neurological disorder, with cognitive reduction and dysfunction, shouldn’t lead to alienation.
“It’s important that those diagnosed and their carers find out as much information about the condition so they can learn to manage the symptoms,” he said.
Doug said it was encouraging for them to experience Omnicare Alliance’s caring services.
He said they were on a journey, but from the research, assistance and support they had received, especially from Omnicare, they felt a lot more confident going forward.
“We feel we have been empowered through the education to be able to handle each day better,” Doug said.
Doug and Tina look after each other’s wellbeing, encourage each other’s strengths and they are innovative.
They continually research and learn more about coping.
Tina attends day programs, which she enjoys.
“The community has accepted me and has the time to listen to me,” she said.
Jim and Susan Crombie also know the value of the Montessori model of care.
Susan is a carer for her husband Jim.
“We’ve benefited so much from Omnicare, especially the Montessori framing and education,” Susan said.
Jim, as a result, is enjoying old activities such as making muesli.
“It is putting the couple back into us and it gives us so much hope for the future,” Susan said.
More than 200 people from across the Mid-North Coast, North Coast, Coffs Coast, New England, Northern Rivers, Sydney and the Northern Territory attended the conference on October 11.
The day featured speakers – Dr Cameron Camp, Julie Dunn, Dr Jim Donnelly, Andrew Hanna, Dr Matthew Kinchington and Suzanne Towsey – and workshops.