A retired cardiologist sits at a table at Toronto’s L’Chaim Retirement Home, sorting through cardiograms. He’s not volunteering his time helping others, however. Unbeknownst to him, he’s working at keeping what memories he has.
L’Chaim is using the Montessori Method for Dementia program, a novel approach to combat dementia that has been rolling out in day centres and nursing homes across the country over the last few years. Taking the principles of the Montessori method created for children in the early 20th century and applying them to adults suffering from a range of cognitive diseases, the program is seen as a ray of hope in what is often a heartbreaking reality. More than half a million Canadians are currently affected by dementia, and with an aging population, it is poised to become an even greater concern.