2013-02-07 / News

Montessori Method at New Hope Valley


SAGINAW TWP. – New Hope Valley residents began moving into their new home at 3785 N. Center Road earlier this month and the staff greeting them is well prepared for their arrival with recent training including the Montessori Method for memory care.

The Montessori Method is typically associated with energetic preschool children but the concepts are more recently applied in the assisted living setting, specifically with memory care patients.

“Procedural memory is less damaged in people with dementia,” said Tom Brenner, gerontology expert, “and the Montessori Method gives assisted living staff the tools they need to access that procedural memory.”

Tom Brenner and his wife, Karen, owners of Brenner Pathways, are uniquely qualified to train assisted living staff in the latest care methods for memory loss patients. Tom holds a mas- ter’s degree in gerontology. Karen has worked in education for 30 years and is a co-founder of Montessori schools in the Chicago area.

Most recently the pair visited New Hope Valley to train staff in the Montessori Method for memory care.

“The idea to train staff in the Montessori Method for memory care came from New Hope Valley’s board of advisors who were looking for creative ways to train staff to care for memory loss patients,” said K. Rumi Shahzad, managing director.

“Montessori materials are tools that help create the bridge to reconnect to people who may seem unreachable,” said Tom. “Using these tools, Montessori programing gives older people the opportunity to use their hands and their five senses to activate and stimulate their minds.”

Karen added that this approach to memory loss care is a source of comfort to both those with dementia and their caregivers.

“The ability to focus on a task and experience success helps memory loss patients feel more secure and confident and less frustrated and angry,” said Karen. “The Montessori Method focuses on the use of a person’s remaining strengths and abilities.”

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