Why It’s Important To Keep People With Dementia Engaged

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The Significance of Keeping People with Dementia Engaged

Dementia is a challenging condition that affects millions of people worldwide. We will explore the importance of keeping people with dementia engaged in meaningful and purposeful activities. This enhances their quality of life and positively impacts their overall well-being.

The Montessori Approach

The Montessori philosophy is a promising approach to engage individuals with dementia. It revolves around a person-centered approach, emphasizing activities based on their interests. Montessori-based activities involve sensory, motor, cognitive, and social aspects of the brain, making them highly engaging and therapeutic.

Why Meaningful Engagement Matters:

1. Maintaining a Sense of Self: People with dementia often struggle to retain their sense of self. Engaging in activities they’re familiar with helps them feel a connection to their past, preserving their identity.

2. Emotional Well-being: Engaging in purposeful activities contributes to emotional well-being. When individuals find joy and purpose in their daily activities, it can alleviate feelings of frustration, anxiety, and depression.

3. Sensory Stimulation: Engaging the senses is a critical aspect of the Montessori approach. Activities like gardening, cooking, and music can stimulate sensory experiences.

4. Cognitive Stimulation: Games, puzzles, and reading can keep the mind active. Providing dementia patients with materials they once enjoyed can help maintain cognitive function.

5. Social Interaction: Group activities encouraging socialization can be especially beneficial. These activities not only engage the mind but also foster connections with others.

The Benefits of Purposeful Engagement

1. Activation of Cognitive Functions: Engaging in purposeful activities activates various aspects of the brain, such as sensory, motor, cognitive, and social functions. This stimulation can help slow down the progression of dementia and maintain mental acuity.

2. Enhanced Participation and Enjoyment: When individuals with dementia are involved in activities they love, they experience a higher level of enjoyment and satisfaction. This positivity can reduce feelings of isolation and depression often associated with the condition.

3. Improved Quality of Life: Ultimately, keeping people with dementia engaged in meaningful activities contributes to an improved quality of life. Despite their challenges, meaningful activities allow them to maintain a sense of self, dignity, and happiness.

A Real-Life Example: The Story of Wilma and Lolita

Wilma’s dementia journey was marked by confusion and frustration. Everyday activities had become challenging for her, causing a decline in her overall well-being. That’s when Lolita decided to take matters into her own hands. Lolita knew her mother loved cooking, so she decided to engage her in this activity. Even though Wilma couldn’t handle complex tasks, she could still help with simple yet meaningful actions like shredding salad or peeling potatoes. These activities gave her a sense of purpose and contributed to daily meal preparation. Furthermore, Wilma enjoyed folding clothes. Lolita provided her with clothes to fold, and they would spend quality time doing this together. These moments were not about the task but the connection, joy, and sense of normalcy they brought into Wilma’s life. Reading was another passion of Wilma’s, and Lolita included this in her daily routine. Even if Wilma could only read short excerpts or hear stories, it was a way to connect with her pre-dementia life and maintain a sense of identity.


In the journey of dementia, it’s vital to remember that the person behind the condition possesses unique preferences and interests. The Montessori philosophy offers a structured and effective way to create a world where individuals with dementia can continue to lead meaningful and purposeful lives despite their condition. Keeping people with dementia engaged in activities they are passionate about is essential for their emotional well-being, cognitive health, and overall quality of life.

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