As a person living with dementia increasingly faces challenges in communication as their condition advances, what can help us to better communicate and engage them in daily activities at home? Namaste Care might just be the answer to support them in everyday care.
How did Namaste Care begin?
Namaste Care was introduced by Joyce Simard in 2003. A social worker by training, Simard has many years of experience working in long-term care homes in the USA.
She is passionate about meeting the social, emotional and psychological needs of persons living with advanced dementia through non-medical approaches.
Inspired by the meaning of the Hindu term, “Namaste”, which is “to honour the spirit within”, she coined her work as Namaste Care.1
Essence of Namaste Care
Namaste care is a multi-approach care programme that incorporates sensory, psycho-social and spiritual elements to enhance the quality of life of persons living with advanced dementia.
Originally intended for groups of persons with advanced dementia living in long-term care facilities, Namaste Care has been adapted and implemented in other settings, including at day care centres and in an individual’s home.
It adopts a Person-Centered Care approach, where care is tailored to the unique needs and preferences of a person living with dementia.
Namaste Care programme seeks “to honour the spirit within” the person living with advanced dementia. Two principles which define the practice of Namaste Care are:
1. Creating a comfortable, homely environment, which promotes:
2. Providing interactions and meaningful activities in an unhurried loving touch approach through:
a. Sense of calm
b. Small group setting and family-like
c. Meaningful verbal and non-verbal communication
a. Massage of hands and feet, hair and nail care
b. Sensory stimulation from meaningful activities included in the programme
These principles can be applied in both group and individual programmes.
Benefits of Namaste Care
Finally, here are some benefits of Namaste Care on persons living with dementia and those around them, as shown by research:
Benefits for Persons Living with Advanced Dementia
- Better quality of life, along with reduced responsive behaviours, pain and interruptions to one’s meaningful engagement;
- Greater awareness and interaction with the environment;
- Took lesser medications; and
- More interaction with families.6-8
Benefits for Families and Relatives
Closer relationships with loved ones living with dementia.8-10
Providing Namaste Care At Home
This Namaste Care Package provides you with tips on how to implement effective Namaste Care for a person with dementia at home.
Be as creative as you can be, when you design and personalize a Namaste Care session to the person’s unique needs and preferences!
Enjoy the whole process of connecting with the person living with dementia!
In collaboration with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), Apex Harmony Lodge (AHL) has developed a Namaste Care training video to empower caregivers, like yourself, to adopt the therapeutic care approach. In doing so, it is hoped that more persons living with moderate to advanced dementia can benefit from it.
This video demonstrates an example of an ideal Namaste room, a list of equipment essential for Namaste Care, and a step-by-step guide on using appropriate touch, like hand massage, that enables you to connect and provide “tender, loving care” to the person living with dementia.
Source: Agency for Integrated Care & Apex Harmony Lodge
For more information on Namaste Care, visit namastecare.com.
Some content was adapted from the training notes compiled by Institute of Geriatrics and Active Ageing for Namaste Care Workshop by Dr Noorhazlina Bte Ali on 16 and 23 November 2019.
- Jacobson-Wright, N., Latham, I., & Frost, F. (2019). Guidance for Care Homes-Implementing Namaste. University of Worcester: Association for Dementia Studies. https://www.worcester.ac.uk/documents/Guidance-for-Care-Homes-V3-updated.pdf
- Tanner, L. (2017). Embracing touch in dementia care: A person-centred approach to touch and relationships. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
- Kendall, N. (2019). Namaste care for people living with advanced dementia: A practical guide for carers and professionals. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
- Goldschmidt, B., & van Meines, N. (2011). Comforting touch in dementia and end of life care: Take my hand. Singing Dragon.
- Roberts, K., & Campbell, H. (2011). Using the M technique as therapy for patients at the end of life: Two case studies. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 17(3), 114-118. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2011.17.3.11
- Stacpoole, M., Hockley, J., Thompsell, A., Simard, J., & Volicer, L. (2015). The Namaste Care programme can reduce behavioural symptoms in care home residents with advanced dementia. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 30(7), 702-709. doi: 10.1002/gps.4211.
- Simard, J., & Volicer, L. (2010). Effects of Namaste Care on residents who do not benefit from usual activities. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias, 25(1), 46-50. doi: 10.1177/1533317509333258.
- Thompsell, A., Stacpoole, M., & Hockley, J. (2014). Namaste care: The benefits and the challenges. Journal of Dementia Care, 22(2), 28-30.
- Stacpoole, M., Hockley, J., Thompsell, A., Simard, J., & Volicer, L. (2017). Implementing the Namaste Care Program for residents with advanced dementia: Exploring the perceptions of families and staff in UK care homes. Annals of Palliative Medicine, 6(4), 327-339. doi: 10.21037/apm.2017.06.26.
- Manzar, B., & Volicer, L. (2015). Effects of namaste care: pilot study. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2(1), 24-37. doi: 10.7726/ajad.2015.1003.