Namaste is a Hindu word that means “to honor the spirit within.” It beautifully describes Notre Dame’s program to love and honor to people who can no longer communicate with ease. Namaste Care™ is a sensory-rich program that combines nursing care and meaningful activities to improve the quality of life for people in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospice care.
Namaste Care was created by Joyce Simard, a veteran eldercare social worker and is based on the power of loving touch. In describing the program she writes: “Namaste Care is a program where residents receive meaningful activities through a ‘loving touch’ approach. Usually led by a nursing assistant, 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. Staff and families have also benefitted from its comforting effects.”
Residents who can no longer participate in traditional activities receive individualized care in a quiet, welcoming area. The atmosphere is designed to surround residents with soothing sounds of nature, music and aromas of lavender, fresh oranges, cinnamon or fresh flowers. Residents listen to music together, have their hair gently brushed, or have a hand or foot massage. They have nutritious snacks that stimulate their taste buds. Families are welcome to be with their loved ones in the Namaste room.
Notre Dame has several staff members certified in Namaste Care throughout our many health care programs. As a Catholic Health provider, Namaste Care enhances our community spirit of respect, love, and support for residents and their families as they face the reality of death.
“I honor the place in you
in which the entire Universe dwells,
I honor the place in you
which is of Love, of Truth, of Light and of Peace.
When you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
we are One.”— Namaste Care Program, p. 18