Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Health and Aging


Margaret Denton


Gail Elliot



Committee Member

Ellen Ryan, Sherry Dupuis


Objectives: Research shows that Montessori-based activities can help address responsive behaviours experienced by persons with dementia by increasing their participation in and enjoyment of daily life. The purpose of this study was to investigate staff perceptions of factors that affect the implementation of Montessori Methods for Dementia™ (MMD) in Ontario long-term care (LTC) homes.

Methods: Qualitative data was obtained during semi-structured telephone interviews with 17 participants who were putting MMD into practice in Ontario LTC homes. The study was guided by a political economy of aging perspective using thematic analysis to elucidate the various factors that affected the implementation of MMD.

Results: Several themes emerged from the data: Regulating and Funding Medical Practices; Shifting Practice Amidst Resistance to Change; Educating and Understanding; Seeing Results is Believing; Being Supported; (Re-)Connecting People and Passions; and Improving Residents’ Quality of Life. Barriers such as insufficient funding and negative attitudes toward activities and MMD reinforced a task-oriented biomedical model of care, whereas various forms of support and understanding helped put MMD into practice as a person-centred program, which improved the quality of life of residents with dementia, staff and family members.

Conclusions: The results from this research can help ensure that MMD are as practical and easy to implement as possible despite perceived barriers so that persons with dementia in LTC and their partners in care can have a good quality of life. The findings include suggestions for future research, reducing staff hierarchies and ensuring there is sufficient organizational, financial, educational, and personal support.

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