Capturing the experiences of people with dementia – the Namaste poems

As part of the Namaste Care Intervention UK project we really wanted to capture the views and experiences of people with dementia, but from previous projects we know that this can sometimes be quite a tricky area – especially when people have more advanced dementia.

We’ve been lucky enough to work with renowned poet and author John Killick, who has a strong background and experience in working closely with people with dementia and their families, and creatively engaging them in feedback and evaluation. John is skilled in using innovative communication with people with advanced dementia and at end of life, even when they may have difficulties communicating their thoughts through words. He has previously used a wide array of stimuli including pictures, words, puppets and photographs to elicit feedback.

To help us capture how residents with dementia feel about taking part of the Namaste Care sessions, John has attended two of the participating care homes and spent time with some of the residents directly involved. Using only their words and feedback he has created two poems, and we think they really capture the essence of the Namaste Care Intervention UK.

Namaste poem – Bubbles

It seemed to be about sitting quietly.

I think it was rather good.

It’s a change from the noisy things

we need to get away from.


It’s nice and cosy, isn’t it?

That we can sit here in peace and quiet

and hopefully be safe.

I like the speciality.


We had some fun today,

especially the bubbles.

We do get lots of laughter,

and I join in.


The people who run it

have obviously created

an interesting situation.

It does seem to work.


Namaste poem – Colours

It’s agreeable here. I rather like it.

Definitely the music most.

It’s all colours, all on the buttons.

I like it on my hands,

and then on the other side.

I like the fact the ladies do everything.


It’s nicely just happy, Monday or any day.

This, it goes into the problem.

We didn’t understand it at first,

then we got the pattern.


Now, if I were you, I’d ask someone else.


Image showing sensory aspects of Namaste Care including lights, a basket of shells and an iced tea drink
Different aspects of the Namaste Care Intervention UK

These poems help to remind us about the human aspect of the research we do, and provide a valuable insight into the experiences of people with dementia. We hope they will enhance our research and enable us to put our findings into context.

Many thanks to the Namaste Community of Practice for allowing us to use some of their photos showing the sensory items care homes are using for their Namaste Care sessions. Not sure what the Namaste Community of Practice is? Have a look at one of our earlier blog posts.

If you would like to find out more about John Killick’s work and some of the books he has published around dementia, please have a look at the Dementia Positive website.

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