Using The Validation Method in Alzheimer’s Care
The validation method encourages senior care providers to empathize and acknowledge the emotions underlying Alzheimer’s behavior instead or reorienting the senior back to reality. For instance, if a senior with Alzheimer’s disease says that her mother is coming to visit the caregiver does not reorient the senior to the reality that her mother passed away many years ago. Instead, the caregiver participates in the senior’s perception of reality and encourages positive recollections and emotions. In the above instance the caregiver might ask “are you looking forward to seeing your mother?”
Why You Should Practice The Validation Method
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease. As a result, reorientation will not cure the confusion caused by Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, reorientation often enhances confusion and produces negative emotions such as depression, anger, and loneliness. In contrast, validation is designed to enhance the senior’s quality of life by nurturing positive emotions and acknowledging feelings underlying dementia behaviors. Validation avoids challenging the senior’s comprehension of reality in favor of maintaining the senior’s self-esteem and dignity.
The Validation Method in Practice
A 93-year old woman with Alzheimer’s disease tells her caregiver that she is waiting for her children to come home from school. The caregiver responds by asking how many children she has to elicit positive recollections. By participating in the woman’s delusion the caregiver avoids challenging the woman’s understanding of reality which could enhance her confusion in favor of validating the woman’s understanding. The woman in turn is led down a conversational path that invites positive recollections and emotions which enhance her quality of life.