Review Article| Volume 17, ISSUE 2, P117-122, February 01, 2016

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A Systematic Review of Montessori-Based Activities for Persons With Dementia

Published:November 14, 2015DOI:



      Montessori-based activities are becoming a popular approach for the care of older adults living with dementia. The aim of this study was to systematically assess the quality of the research examining the benefits of Montessori-based activities for persons with dementia.


      Six peer-reviewed databases were systematically searched for all relevant articles published until April 2015. Included articles were peer-reviewed studies published in English that employed Montessori-based activities with persons with dementia. Methodological quality was assessed by 2 independent raters using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database Scale or the Downs and Black evaluation tool. Levels of evidence were assigned to the study design using a modified Sackett scale.


      One hundred fifty articles were identified, and 14 were selected for inclusion. Level-2 evidence examining the impact of Montessori-based activities on eating behaviors suggested that difficulties with eating could be reduced with Montessori training. There was limited level-4 evidence for the benefits of Montessori-based activities on cognition, wherein benefits appeared to be specific to lower-level cognitive abilities including memory and attention. Finally, there is level-1 (n = 1), level-2 (n = 3), and level-4 (n = 6) evidence for the benefits of Montessori-based activities on engagement and affect, whereby constructive engagement and positive affect were heightened.


      Overall, there is a strong level of evidence for the benefits of Montessori-based activities on eating behaviors and weak evidence for the benefits on cognition. Evidence for the benefits of Montessori-based activities on engagement and affect are mixed. Future research is needed to examine the long-term benefits of Montessori-based activities.


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