St Clare launches new Dementia Project

A man kneels holding another man's hands who is sitting on a bed
Published on: Thursday 19 Nov 2020 at 12:10

St Clare Hospice launches new support for those with advanced dementia and their carers

St Clare Hospice is launching a new dementia project to support people living with advanced dementia, and their carers, across West Essex and East Hertfordshire.

The Namaste Care Dementia Support project aims to train and empower both unpaid carers and paid care staff to deliver high-quality, compassionate care to local people living with advanced dementia.

The first training course will be delivered in January 2021 by St Clare’s dedicated team of Namaste Champions, who will also offer ongoing peer support and monthly group sessions to all those who have attended the Namaste Care course.

An elderly person holds a carer's handsCommunity Engagement Manager at St Clare Hospice, Sally Muylders, is leading the project and said: “We’re delighted to be launching this new project, dedicated to supporting those living with advanced dementia, and their family and carers. The Namaste Care training course will give both unpaid, informal carers, looking after a friend or family member, and paid carers working in care homes and day centres, the skills and tools to deliver high-quality and compassionate care. Most importantly, it will also provide and ongoing support network for carers in the months and years ahead – enabling them to meet other carers of people with advanced dementia, proving mutual peer support from others who understand both the challenges, and rewards, of their role.”

“This pilot project will be delivered virtually because of COVID, but we see this is an advantage because we know that those caring for people with dementia are some of the most isolated in our communities, and this will offer an opportunity to bring them together and offer support – at a time when we’ve had to stay apart.”

Explaining the Namaste Care approach, Sally said: “Namaste Care is an internationally-recognised care programme, developed by Joyce Simard in the USA, for people with advanced dementia. The word ‘Namaste’ is a Hindi greeting that means to ‘honour the spirit within,’ and is the guiding principle of Namaste Care.”

Sally continued: “Namaste Care teaches you to use simple activities that include sensory stimulation of our five senses (touch, hearing, sight, smell and taste) which has been shown to really help people with dementia to connect and engage with others. Multi-sensory activities include things like music, therapeutic touch and massage, and food and drink. Everyone can learn the techniques of Namaste Care and take the ideas home to do with their loved one in their own time together.”

Twiddlemuff appeal

Part of the training course will include providing attendees with a Namaste Care box of resources, to enable them to practice Namaste Care techniques with the person they care for. One of those items will be a ‘Twiddlemuff’ – a knitted, handheld comforter that offers a special way to engage and comfort a person with dementia, who often have restless hands. Twiddlemuffs provide a great source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation, whilst keeping the hands busy, as well as warm.

St Clare Hospice is appealing for local people to knit and donate Twiddlemuffs to be distributed through the Namaste Care programme.

You can find more details, and download a free knitting pattern, on our website here.

Find out more

If you are caring for someone with advanced dementia, and would like to meet others and learn about Namaste Care together, St Clare Hospice would love to hear from you. The first training course (free to attend) starts in January 2021. For more information contact Sally on 07398 714405 or email

Come to the Launch Event

For more information come along to the Namaste Care Dementia Support launch event on Zoom, at 11am on Tuesday 15th December 2020 where you can ask questions and find out more about the project. Register for the event here.

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