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Montessori-based Activities Help Dementia Patients with Proper Eating Habits

Posted Mar 27 2013 9:00am
In patients with dementia, poor nutrition or decreased food intake may cause symptoms of depression. Investigators including Li-Chan Lin, RN, PhD, of the National Yang-Ming University, in Taipei, Taiwan, tested the effectiveness of a combination of methods to train patients with dementia to remember proper eating habits. 

The intervention incorporated a method called spaced retrieval—a kind of memory training that requires an individual to recall a piece of information at increasing time intervals—and Montessori-based activities, through which structured activities related to daily life are sequentially and repetitively practiced. Tests for depression, body mass index, and nutrition were conducted before and after the sessions, as well as at one, three, and six months later. 

The tests revealed that nutrition improved and body mass index increased over time for individuals receiving either type of intervention with spaced retrieval and Montessori-based activities. Also, depression scores were reduced.

"It has been shown that spaced retrieval or Montessori-based activities can improve eating ability. In our research, besides improving eating ability, improved nutrition, increased body mass index, and a moderating effect on depressive symptoms are produced by spaced retrieval combined with Montessori-based activities," said Dr. Lin. "We expect that this combined intervention can produce greater effects than spaced retrieval or Montessori-based activities can alone."
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