By: Fran Bulloff, VTI President
Like all non-profit organizations, the Validation Training Institute has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and challenged in many ways. Since our target population is disoriented older adults, many of them are in nursing homes or memory care long term facilities which sadly have had a disproportionate share of casualties due to the coronavirus. Even as other aspects of the economy are scheduled to reopen, care facilities are still on lockdown and not accepting visitors. Groups in the facilities are not able to convene. Isolation has a devastating effect on disoriented older adults. Our in-person training classes have also stopped for now, but we are offering support online and will be rolling out more online courses as well. All non-essential travel has ceased, causing cancellation of major conferences and professional gatherings for this year, another avenue Validation uses to join discussions. Of course VTI is also challenged by decreased income from Authorized Validation Organizations which cannot offer their usual courses. Our teachers are ready and eager to teach when it is safe to do so. Fortunately, we have lower institutional overhead expenses than most non-profits of our scope and we plan to avoid layoffs. Like everyone else, we are adapting and coping.
We see opportunities to explore even during this challenging time. The need for Validation is greater now than ever and we are poised to help. VTI has been offering online learning for six years and is equipped to offer new online courses and training without sacrificing the quality which we demand. Our research committee continues to develop collaborative and single projects to submit for approval. We are hopeful that we will receive funding to offer our Family Caregiver Course and Modular Learning Curriculum in 2020- 2021. Other funding proposals are in the pipeline. A partnership is in place for new and innovative online training for Activity Professionals, and we are seeking partners to offer our First Responders’ Workshop.
Take the time to look over our website and especially our COVID-19 Caregiver Tips web page. You will find Instructional Videos and Tips in 8 languages both on the website and on our YouTube channel. Watch for news on our website and social media about new courses and resources that we are developing in addition to what is currently available. I am grateful for the dedication of our exceptional staff and Board who continue to advance our mission to educate and train despite current obstacles.