Validation Training Institute

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Maintaining Pedagogic Excellence in Family Carer Training Using Online Learning

Validation is a way of connecting and communicating with older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. While the method has been proven to be effective in numbers of studies, we investigated the effectiveness of our pedagogy.

Our Family Caregiver Course set out to change the way family members view their relatives as well as give them practical skills that enhance communication. We ran the course in 2019 with a group of family caregivers in Denver, Colorado, and the results from our pre and post surveys were significant and positive. We had reached our goals.

Then COVID hit. We needed to find a way to deliver the same quality training totally online. We turned to our advisor, a woman who has been working with online learning for over 30 years on a university level. Four intensive Zoom sessions replaced the 2 day in-person component of this training.

To our delight, pre and post surveys of this totally online iteration of the course were also significant and positive.  Course participants learned:

  • How to integrate centering that into a daily practice.
  • To take a breath and observe their relatives before saying anything, then get onto eye level finding a respectful distance and make eye contact.

Each person evaluated their voice tone to make sure they were always using a respectful, adult-to-adult tone.

Once these prerequisites were in place, they learned to explore using rephrasing and open questions. Other Validation techniques like singing and using anchored touch were also practiced.

Either online or in-person, the Family Caregiver Course gives relatives who are caring for their loved one either at home or in long-term care, new ways of viewing their relatives and practical communication skills.

For more information about this study please see the poster below.

For more information about the Family Caregiver Course, please click here.

For more information about Validation or VTI, visit our website.

By: Vicki de Klerk-Rubin, VTI Executive Director

The Validation Training Institute (VTI) is a non-profit organization that advances knowledge, values, education and research rooted in the Validation method. The objective is to nurture respect, dignity and well-being in the lives of older adults experiencing age-related cognitive decline and their caregivers. Our vision for the future is that every older adult experiencing age-related cognitive decline, and their caregiver, can feel the joy and love of meaningful communication.