Real Lives

Montessori approach to dementia and ageing

The Badger Wing Team

When you think of a nursing home, there is a natural understanding that the residents who live there may never return home. That is largely true for most residents in nursing homes, and especially for those with a provision of dementia care. But not for David (not his real name) who was a resident at Foxburrow Grange Nursing Home in Colchester . After three months, under the care of the Badger Wing team, he was well enough and independent enough to return to his own flat in Colchester with the input of domiciliary care support.

David had been found in his flat in a very poor state of neglect. When he came to Badger Wing, part of the Foxburrow Grange Nursing Home, he had grade three pressure sores, was suffering from poor mental health, and clinically was very depressed . He wanted to stay in his room rather than join other residents in the communal areas. He was unable to walk and said he wanted to die as he was upset that he had to leave his home. David also had a diagnosis of dementia. The team made it their mission to help him, using their knowledge based on the Montessori aged care programme and their consistent approach to his support and care.  David soon started engaging with them and the other residents, began to enjoy life and regain the living skills he had lost.

Montessori for dementia and ageing is an innovative approach to aged care. It empowers people living with dementia by creating an environment that allows them to live as independently as possible.

Each day David’s mental and physical health improved.  He was able to walk with a walking frame unaided, engaged in activities and he had a brighter outlook on life. Montessori’s aged care approach to learning emphasises positive reinforcement and repetition which helps to re-establish memory and recognition.

This pioneering method of dementia care for families and professionals enhances quality of life for people living with dementia. It creates an environment in which individuals can do as much for themselves as possible with meaningful roles, routines and activities tailored to the individual.  The programme was introduced to Foxburrow Grange in 2020 and has resulted in a motivated staff team and happy and engaged residents.

“I was delighted to go on a virtual tour and see the changes that have been made to the Badger wing as a result of Montessori for Dementia and Ageing training.  Team members are to be congratulated for their challenging work and for winning best care team in the Great British Care Awards.  The biggest winners are the residents, whose lives have been changed as a result of Montessori and the dedication of team members who have made it happen. Changing practice and aged care culture is hard.  There will always be much to do so keep the passion and continue changing the face of aged care at Foxburrow Grange, one step at a time.”

Anne Kelly, Director, Montessori Consulting

“Badger Wing have been a real success story. They have implemented changes that are now a case study for success. Changes implemented on Badger Wing are being replicated on other wings,  ranging from training, facilities, culture and environment. Staff are being used on other wings to help demonstrate what exceptional looks like.”

Great British Care Awards Judges

Lola Richards Home manager is extremely proud of the team and the outcomes for those living with dementia have improved, not only with the introduction of the Montessori programme but of the motivation and consistent approach used by this dedicated team of staff in Badger Wing.


Edel Harris





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