Connecting Heart to Heart with Older Adults
What Does Validation Do?
When you can “step into the shoes” of another human being and “see through their eyes,” you can step into the world of disoriented very old people and understand the meaning of their sometimes bizarre behavior.
Validation theory explains that many (very) old disoriented people, who are often diagnosed as having Alzheimer type dementia, are in the final stage of life, trying to resolve unfinished issues in order to die in peace. Their final struggle is important and we, as caregivers, can help them. Using Validation techniques we offer disoriented older adults an opportunity to express what they wish to express whether it is verbal or non-verbal communication. Validation practitioners are caring, non-judgmental and open to the feelings that are expressed. When disoriented older adults can express the things that have often been suppressed for many years, the intensity of the feelings lessen, people communicate more and are less likely to withdraw into further stages of disorientation.
Validation practitioners are less stressed and frustrated, interactions are more rewarding and the everyday becomes easier. The basic attitude and techniques, drawn from many successful practices and research, can be used in their day-to-day lives.