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Namaste Care: Loving People with Dementia

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What really makes a difference in someone's life who is living with the effects of dementia? Joyce Simard, creator of Namaste Care shares with us a beautiful way to connect with people affected that not only increases the quality of their life but also ours. Namaste Care not just an idea but a systematic way of interacting with someone. Join us as we explore this. ________________________________________

Joyce Simard MSW. My career in healthcare began in 1978 when I interviewed for a social work position in Ithaca, New York. I was truly a “late bloomer” as I was a housewife; corporate wife and mother of four who struggled to get through college while balancing all my other roles. The only social work position that was available when I graduated was this one.

Never did I dream of working with the elderly, but here I am, 36 years later, still involved with seniors especially those with advanced dementia. I went on to receive a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota and that opened the doors to a number of positions in nursing home companies and then as the assisted living business began to recognize the need to provide special programs for their residents with memory loss, I was privileged to work in that industry. I also work with several hospice organizations and help them develop Namaste Care for their patients with advanced dementia.

My career took an unexpected turn when I became involved in a research project with the School of Nursing, University of Western Sydney Australia where I was appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor. The research project involved implementing Namaste Care, a program I developed for residents of nursing homes and assisted living communities with advanced dementia. We studied the impact this program had on residents, their families and the staff. That led to a similar project with St. Christopher’s Hospice in London England.

Namaste Care programs can now be found in many countries and throughout the United States. In 2007 I wrote “The End-of-Life Namaste Care Program for People with Dementia” now in its second edition. I also wrote “The Magic Tape Recorder” a book written as Grandma Joyce. This book helps to educate children about Alzheimer’s disease and is based on my visits to elementary schools as Grandma Joyce where I teach children to be helpers to people who experience some of the disabilities related to aging such as sight, hearing, ambulation and memory problems. This book has been translated into Greek and Czech.

I continue to speak about end-of-life care for organizations both in the United States, the United Kingdom and in the Czech Republic where I live in the summer. And, much to my surprise, I write articles and even more surprising is that the articles get published! I have several web sites where they can be found; and


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