Developed by Naomi Feil between 1963 and 1980, validation therapy is a compassionate yet insightful way to learn more about and comfort someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Whether you practice validation therapy at a world-class memory care center or at home, validation therapy can give an individual greater happiness, improve their quality of life, lower their stress levels, and help them communicate their needs.
How Validation Therapy Works
Validation therapy focuses on empathizing with and listening to the individual living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. This approach emphasizes every person’s uniqueness and worth, giving them an avenue to express their thoughts and needs as best as they can.
Rather than ignoring or shutting down irrational behavior, proponents of validation therapy always try to understand a person’s needs instead of questioning why they act in a certain way. For instance, if someone had forgotten where a necklace was kept and insisted that her husband had thrown it away, you can respond with “It was such a beautiful necklace…” or “How did you meet your husband?” Such responses can open up meaningful conversations and soothe a person’s frustrations, while also helping you understand why that person feels the way they do.
Through validation therapy, individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s will feel respected and appreciated, and this in turn boosts their self-worth and restores to them a sense of dignity.
Benefits of Validation Therapy
Validation therapy is used by thousands of people all over the world, from family members to professional caregivers, and social workers. A wide variety of benefits have been found to arise from validation therapy. The benefits an individual may experience include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Greater ability to focus
- Greater social control
- Greater communication, both verbally and non-verbally
- Greater awareness of reality
- Better and more frequent movement
- Improved sense of self-worth
- Restored sense of humor
- Delayed memory deterioration
- Reduced negative emotions like crying, anger, anxiety, or withdrawal
How to Practice Validation Therapy
With all this in mind, it’s clear why more people would like to practice validation therapy with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Here are a few simple strategies you can use when you interact with them:
- When speaking, use a clear and loving tone. Refrain from raising your voice at them.
- Make eye contact when you address them.
- Refrain from arguing as this can further upset them.
- Refrain from asking why they acted in a certain way or insisting that they were wrong. Rather, focus on the current situation or redirect whatever is upsetting them to a related, positive memory from their younger days.
- Do your best to set your own emotions aside. Focus on their words, their actions, and how you can respond to them.
SHINE® Memory Care at Discovery Village At Tampa Palms
At Discovery Village At Tampa Palms, our professional team of caregivers are adept at using validation therapy with our residents. If you are seeking a comfortable and well-equipped senior living community for yourself or a loved one, we invite you to visit our senior living community at Discovery Village At Tampa Palms. Schedule a tour at our beautiful grounds today.