Namaste is an Indian greeting ‘to honour the spirit within’
Caring for people living with advanced dementia presents an exceptional challenge for the carers and loved ones of a person who is living with dementia. Everyone needs to feel loved and cared for but people living with dementia do not seek out or recognise this need. The Namaste Care programme addresses these challenges using simple but valuable practices.
Each of our homes will commence the Namaste Care programme with our Lifestyle Teams taking the lead and each home will identify an area where Namaste sessions can be carried out. For those people who have entered the last days of life Namaste Care can be carried out in the resident’s bedroom.
Through comforting and meaningful sensory-based experiences this approach to care ‘honours the spirit’ within each of us. Sessions are carried out using the five senses – the room is scented before each session and the use of touch is pivotal in offering comfort and a feeling of connectedness. Gentle music is played during the sessions and hand and feet massage is offered, favourite poems can be read, bubbles can be blown around the room and gentle movement is encouraged. Favourite snacks and drinks can be offered during the session, and we will seek to bring the outside into the room, for example during the autumn bring in a variety of fallen leaves, or in the winter bring in pinecones or holly.
The two basic principles of Namaste Care are to create a calm environment and providing all activities and interactions with an unhurried, loving touch approach. These two principles are included in both the group programs and individual programmes. Some of the benefits of Namaste Care include non-verbal residents starting to speak again, those residents who might be anxious or agitated have been seen to settle after attending a Namaste session. Families and loved ones will also be encouraged to take part in the sessions, we recently carried out Namaste for a resident who was actively dying, she appeared to be unsettled and this was upsetting the family who were present. During the session the resident settled and dozed off which gave the family a lot of comfort.
When Namaste is fully implemented across our homes we will assess how this has benefited our residents, their loved ones and our staff.