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By Jane Verity

Validation is a way of listening and communicating that helps us explore, accept and understand the person with dementia who returns to the past.  Carried out with empathy and love, this approach is positive and non-judgmental as you simply explore f what they are attempting to communicate.  You do not deny their reality and experiences, nor do you start to behave as if you were an active part of that reality.  It is simply helping to elicit what is on their mind and being the person to share the experience.

Through validation, you accept that the person with dementia who returns to the past is using ‘retreat’ as a survival mechanism.  When the person feels disregarded, or that they are losing their identity and control of their life, they  may withdraw to the past where they felt needed, useful, and loved.  They usually do this by recreating significant people, places, objects or situations. 

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Validation - Members Article - Jane Verity- Validation is a way of listening and communicating that helps us explore, accept and understand the person with dementia who returns to the past.  Carried out with empathy and love, this approach is positive and non-judgmental as you simply explore further into what they are attempting to communicate.