Namaste Care Program enhances quality of life for people with late stage dementia

The scent of lavender, a comfortable recliner, soft music and the gentle touch of a hand massage from a caring person add up to an improved quality of life for individuals in the latter stages of dementia.

This soothing atmosphere, along with meaningful activities, is all part of the groundbreaking Namaste Care Program now being provided to residents at all of the Arden Courts Memory Care Communities in the Cleveland area, including the Westlake location.    

Residents with advanced dementia who have become less verbal and less able to benefit from traditional activities in which they did well in earlier stages become calm and relaxed when brought into the Namaste Room with its slower pace and spa-like tranquility.

Ensuring quality of life until the end of life is the hallmark of Namaste, which means “honoring the spirit within.”

This unique program uses creative techniques to connect with residents by presenting familiar objects that summon memories from earlier times (Pond's Cold Cream, Popsicles, cozy afghans) and by providing attentive personal care, such as neck massages, nail care and hair brushing. During each session, participants are offered beverages to enjoy, which also promotes necessary hydration. The program is offered four hours a day, seven days a week.

The healing power of touch and the one-to-one attention often elicit a bright smile from someone who is frequently agitated, perhaps an unexpected word from a resident who is typically nonverbal, and sometimes a joyful tear. The connection between resident and caregiver is obvious when watching them interact in this quiet setting. 

“We believe wholeheartedly in Namaste Care as a way to enhance the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents,” said Allison Morrow, regional director of operations for Arden Courts.

All Arden Courts staff members were trained in the Namaste Care Program by Joyce Simard, MSW, an internationally acclaimed dementia consultant who developed the program and wrote the book, "End-of-Life Namaste Care Program for People with Dementia."

In a recent study in six dementia communities in Massachusetts, residents who had experienced the Namaste Care Program exhibited fewer symptoms of withdrawal, delirium and agitation when meaningful activities were offered to them through the program. Dementia residents engaged in Namaste also suffered fewer falls. Since implementing the Namaste program, the Cleveland-area Arden Courts have noticed the same results.

Arden Courts also utilizes Engagement Therapy Treatment, an exclusive program that provides small groups the opportunity to socialize and share with others with similar functional and cognitive abilities. Enjoying time together and sharing past and present memories allows residents in the early stages of their disease to provide shared communication in an environment where opinions and the art of storytelling are valued and honored.

Lisa Anthony

I am the Marketing Director of Arden Courts Memory Care Community in Westlake

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 10:13 AM, 05.29.2013