The general term for the decline in mental ability that severely effects an individual daily functioning is known as dementia. It is not a specific disease but carries a wide range of symptoms that mainly associated with memory decline. Symptoms of dementia are progressive in nature, which means, initially symptoms started slowly and gradually get worse.
Symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, at least two of the following core mental functions must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia:
- Communication and language
- Ability to focus and pay attention
- Reasoning and judgment
- Visual perception
For its detection, Professional evaluation is needed, this in turn includes medical history, physical examination, laboratory tests and characteristic changes in thinking, functioning and behavior. Early diagnosis helps the person and their caregivers to plan for the future and get maximum benefit from the available treatments and resources.
Causes of dementia
Dementia is caused by brain cells damage, which effects the brain cells ability to communicate with each other and result in changes like thinking, feeling and behavior. It can be due to
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain Injury
- Thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies
It was estimated in 2010 that upto 35.6 million people worldwide lived with dementia, which is expected to double after every 20 years, i.e. 65.7 million in 2030 (Prince et al 2013). In 2010, 58% of dementia patients lived in countries belonging to World Bank low income group (Martin Prince et al., 2013).
Montessori Based Activities for Dementia
Montessori education is an approach which was led by Maria Montessori. Basically, her work focuses on observation of the child and experimentation with the environment, material and availability of lessons. Initially she uses these techniques for educating children with learning disability but after seeing effective results, she applied this concept to other children.
Nowadays everyone is familiar and relates this as a necessary education for child in their early development. The concept behind Montessori techniques is to make the child independent and provide platform for using his/her senses for learning social, cognitive and functional skills.
Besides pharmacological treatment, most researches are going on non pharmacological interventions for managing emotional/behavioral disturbances in people suffering from memory impairment.One of these non pharmacological interventions that is used nowadays in abroad is “Montessori” techniques. According to World Alzheimer report of 2011 psychosocial approaches are considered as effective in improving cognitive function in dementia (Martin Prince, Bryce, & Ferri, 2011)
Recently, Montessori methods has been tried in a research setting on older people and found that it is moderately effective in improving certain behavioral outcomes such as eating behaviors, agitation, and mood (Orsulic-Jeras, Judge, & Camp, 2000).Importantly, participants demonstrated a positive engagement with the intervention, suggest that this may be a promising form of support to investigate and develop further for the care of people with dementia (Lee, Camp, & Malone, 2007) (Orsulic-Jeras et al., 2000).
*Training on Dementia Assessments At Sharjah
*Trainings on Montessori techniques for Dementia At Karachi