Namaste room having ‘positive impact’ on residents living with dementia

Namaste room having ‘positive impact’ on residents living with dementia zoom

Honey Lane Care Home has created a multi-sensory room, with support from St Clare Hospice, which is helping to enhance the lives of its residents living with advanced dementia.

The home located on Honey Lane, off Margherita Road, has created a multi-sensory room, with support from St Clare Hospice, a charity providing care to people with life-limiting illnesses.

The initiative supports people with advanced dementia to engage in therapeutic, multi-sensory activities that can help improve their quality of life.

Members of the team volunteered to be trained in Namaste Care and now run daily sessions from the care home’s namaste room. Residents are supported to engage with a range of meaningful sensory activities, such as massage, listening to music, and looking through a personalised memory box.

Lisa Gammalliere, lifestyle manager at Honey Lane, was inspired to create the sensory room after attending an ‘Introduction to Namaste Care’ workshop at St Clare Hospice in Hastingwood, Essex.

She explained: “The workshop was truly inspirational, and since putting what we learnt into practice at we have seen such a positive impact on our residents.

“One of our residents, 91-year-old Stella, has Alzheimer’s and has really embraced the sensory sessions, she loves to explore what the room has to offer and enjoys holding the various sensory tools in her hands and feeling the different textures.

“Stella has come out of her shell so much, we have seen a real improvement in her wellbeing, she is happier, more vocal, and smiles so much.”

Resident Jean Stanley, aged 91, is a retired physiotherapist who worked at Honey Lane when it was a hospital.

Lisa added: “Jean is very alert and engaged during the sessions, she enjoys a hand massage, but I think her training kicks in as she will often give me the massage instead, starting with my hands and moving on to the arms and elbows. She is always so focused and was obviously very good at her job!

“During the sessions, Jean will often tell me she is a physio, so for her the positive impact is being able to recall who she is and what she is able to do.”

Joanne Morrison, who coordinates the Namaste Care programme at the hospice, spent time with Lisa and her team, providing access to additional resources and research. She was thrilled to attend the official opening of the care home’s namaste sensory room.

She said: “Namaste Care engages a person’s senses through sound, touch, sight, smell, or taste, and focusing on their emotional as well as physical needs.

“The one-to-one support provided by Lisa and the team at Honey Lane is helping their residents to remain connected to others and help them to feel less isolated. It’s demonstrating the very real and positive impact it can have on some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

Sarah White is living with advanced Alzheimer’s and has been a resident at Honey Lane since 2020. Her daughter, Sophie Blackburn, has seen the positive impact the sensory room has had on her mother.

“When I visit, I usually find Mum sleepy or agitated, sometimes she’s responded to music but generally I find the visits very hard,” said Sophie.

“Recently, my dad and I happened to visit Mum as a Namaste Care session was about to begin, and she was a different person. She was laughing, which I hadn’t seen or heard in a long while, she was alert and responsive and seemed to be really enjoying the whole experience.

“I could see how much effort had gone into the session, and the attention to detail in personalising each resident’s experience to suit them.”

Honey Lane Care Home is rated ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and was awarded ‘Highly Commended’ at the Great British Care Awards 2023 for ‘Dementia Care’.