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memory support March 22, 2017

Validation therapy: a compassionate approach to memory support

By: Country Meadows | Uncategorized

Dementia is a condition that impairs a person’s mental function and personality, interfering with the ability to interact with others and engage in daily living activities.  Symptoms may begin with forgetting names of family members and placing items in strange places, but as it progresses dementia’s effects can be much worse and even threaten a person’s personal safety.

Many caregivers try to understand the experience that people living with dementia feel in order to connect with them and add quality to their lives. The Validation Method is a particularly effective approach that professional and family caregivers can use to enter the perceived reality of those with memory loss rather than force them to accept the world as it really is.

Using the Validation Method, Country Meadows staff can reduce the anxiety of residents with dementia and increase their comfort with social interactions. In fact, Country Meadows Retirement Communities became the first Authorized Validation Organization in the United States 16 years ago. All co-workers with our Connections Memory Support Services team must become certified as Validation Associates.

With Validation, our staff listens with empathy and gently asks questions to help residents with memory loss express their concerns and frustrations. For instance, a resident with dementia might be worried that her husband hasn’t come home from work, forgetting that he died years earlier. A caregiver might ask her questions about her husband’s job or what she likes to cook for dinner, in order to ease her fears. This serves to “validate” the resident’s perceptions as well as reduce her anxiety about them.

We encourage family members to use Validation as well and suggest they communicate using open-ended questions. These are questions that ask who, what, when, where, why or how and can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Conversations like these allow people with dementia to feel that they are being heard and respected. This can reduce their anxieties and worries and prompt them to interact with others again.

We use Validation as part of our Connections Memory Support Services, with the goal of keeping residents engaged and comfortable through socialization and activities. Our care is provided within either a secure neighborhood or a personal care or assisted living home. We provide the Connections Club for residents with mild cognitive loss to alleviate their feelings of frustration and anxiety. For seniors with more serious memory loss, we offer the Connections Neighborhood with secure entrances and exits and added assistance with daily personal care needs.

Our memory care support services also include intellectual stimulation with brain fitness activities, customized exercise programs and My Life Story projects to build meaningful bonds and connections. In addition, Country Meadows co-workers are always alert to changes in memory and cognitive ability, which could lead to adjustments to residents’ care, supervision and personalized support plans.

If you’re searching for memory care support in a Pennsylvania or Maryland retirement community, we hope you will consider one of our senior living communities. Many families that thought they needed to find a nursing home for loved ones with dementia have discovered their needs could be capably and compassionately met by our Connections memory care services.

Please contact us to schedule a visit to meet our staff, learn more about our Connections program or tour any of our retirement homes. We have 10 retirement communities in Pennsylvania as well as a Frederick, Maryland retirement home, offering senior independent living communities, as well as assisted living and personal care homes, where residents live full lives in a family-oriented, caring environment.

Country Meadows

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