Namaste Care Program: Honouring the Spirit Within

Shalom Village has partnered with the McMaster School of Nursing to evaluate the impact of the Namaste Care program on residents, their loved ones, and care workers. The research report, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, will be available through Shalom Village and McMaster University in 2017.

Namaste: A Hindi greeting meaning “to honour the spirit within

“We are very excited about our Namaste Program,” says Adrienne Shorten, Executive Coach, Shalom Village, “the program is for residents nearing end of life or unable to participate in the activities Shalom offers. This program enhances our residents’ quality of life – to live not just exist.”

“Having my mother in this program is wonderful for our family. It sets our minds at ease knowing she is getting extra care that is a benefit to her, and to us.” Jane Stephens, daughter of a Namaste participant.

Program creator, Joyce Simard, says that Namaste Care “has enhanced the lives of people with advanced dementia or who are at the end stage of any illness by providing a peaceful, non-isolating environment throughout the day that allows them to end their lives with dignity and tranquility.”

Namaste Care, through a loving-touch approach, uses the senses to connect with residents, providing one-to-one care in a group. The program brings these residents together to engage in various meaningful, therapeutic activities, such as hand and foot massages, soothing music, and aromatherapy using scents from their youth.

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The Namaste Care program engages residents with advanced dementia through the senses, especially touch, to enrich their quality of life

Namaste Care has been implemented in other countries, but this is first time it has been introduced in Canada. Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, McMaster says, “the beauty of Namaste Care is that good quality of care at the end of life of residents with advanced dementia is a priority. Shalom Village has all the pieces for a program like this to thrive.”

The Namaste Care Program, is in harmony with Bikur Cholim, visiting the sick, addressing our residents’ spiritual, emotional, and physical needs and help them maintain dignity despite the challenges of their illness. We Honour our Fathers and our Mothers with acts of loving-kindness and compassion at the end of life.

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Residents and staff engage in various meaningful, therapeutic activities

Research programs like Namaste Care are essential to increase access to quality care for both for aging individuals and their families. The information that is generated from the Namaste Care research at Shalom Village may help to improve the delivery of palliative care in LTC homes across Canada.

By Deanna Levy, Director of Communications & Strategic Projects, Shalom Village

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