Spark Programming

Our goal with Spark is to create a life-enriching environment that empowers residents and promotes their independence. The award winning approach to living well with dementia is inspired by Montessori Methods and focuses on supporting every individual’s ideas, choices, and skills.

Team members play a major role in fostering the natural spark within each resident by encouraging new ideas and helping to make them a reality regardless of deficits. Our weekly resident committees, Lifelong Learning University, and frequent community service projects also provide residents with a sense of purpose and belonging.

The four foundations

At Heartis Waco, our holistic approach helps establish an inclusive environment where every resident can thrive.

Social Roles

Residents with dementia still have a desire to fill social roles within their community. By giving them meaningful tasks like working the front desk, helping set tables for dinner, or assisting their neighbors, we’re empowering them to feel independent and purposeful.

Procedural Memory

This type of memory is created through “procedural learning” or repeating a routine action until all of the relevant neural systems work together to automatically produce the activity without the need for conscious control or attention.


Dementia affects existing memories but doesn’t prevent residents from forming new thought processes. So we use procedural memory and repetition to improve current skills and teach new ones.

A special Montessori Assessment Tool, created by the Center for Applied Research in Dementia, helps team members recognize remaining skills often missed by traditional healthcare assessments.


Working on projects or learning topics over a longer period of time leads to residents being more engaged and successful. The goal is to focus on their skills instead of their deficits so they can engage with their environment in a positive way and progress toward reaching their goals.