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Is Validation Therapy Helpful for Aging Adults with Dementia?

Dementia is a complex condition, affecting each person in unique ways. Because of this, Bridgewater dementia care can include many different approaches to helping seniors maintain a high quality of life. One of these methods is called validation therapy. If your elderly loved one needs help managing dementia and you are seeking an alternative way to keep him or her comfortable, validation therapy may help.

What Is the “Reality” of Dementia?

Seniors with dementia operate in a different world than the rest of us. Concepts of time and location are fluid and often nonsequential, and memories can become jumbled or nonexistent from day to day or even moment to moment. Attempts to reason with and make your loved one view and experience the world in the same way you do can end in frustration for both you and your loved one.

What Is Validation Therapy?

Validation therapy is a technique that focuses on accepting the beliefs and perceptions of the senior with dementia and using nonconfrontational conversation to provide gentle redirection. For example, instead of trying to convince your elderly mother that her mother is deceased, acknowledge she must really miss her mother, ask her what her mother was like, and share your own memories of your grandmother. This can help your loved one process her feelings of loneliness in a way she can understand.

What Are Some of the Benefits?

Constant correction and being told “no” can make a senior with dementia feel belittled and devalued. Validation therapy allows you to essentially agree with your loved one and steer him or her toward the desired behavior without him or her realizing what is happening. This nonconfrontational approach helps your loved one maintain a sense of dignity and self-worth.

Is Validation Therapy the Same as Lying?

Some family caregivers in Bridgewater don’t agree with validation therapy because they feel it promotes lying. For example, the technique suggests you accept being called by the wrong name instead of correcting your loved one. Though this can be difficult for caregivers, proponents of the therapy point out it does not advocate lying, but simply acknowledges and respects the fact the senior with dementia resides in a different reality from the rest of us. 

Validation therapy is just one approach to dementia care. To learn about other ways to help your loved one remain happy and healthy while managing the condition, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer an activities-based program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia and provides seniors with the opportunity to engage with others in an enjoyable way. For more information on elderly care Bridgewater families trust, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a complimentary consultation.