Did you remember to validate?

I saw this sign at a parking garage and had to chuckle because validation means something different to me than to most everyone at the parking garage.

Validation is a concept developed by Naomi Feil.  It is a way of working with individuals with dementia that preserves their dignity and humanity.  It is more about exploring and expressing emotions than finding truths and reality.

The principles of validation are:

1.  All old people are worthwhile.

2. Demented individuals need to be accepted for who they are and we should not try to change them.

3.  Listening with empathy builds trust, reduces anxiety, and restores dignity.

4.  Painful feelings that are expressed and validated diminish over time, while those that are ignored or suppressed will gain in strength.

5.  There is reason behind the behavior of demented individuals.

6.  All behavior is communication of an unmet need.  These needs can include the need to: resolve unfinished issues in life, restore a sense of equilibrium, make sense out of an unbearable reality, have recognition, be useful/productive, be loved, feel like they belong, feel safe, have reduced pain/discomfort, be listened to/respected, and express their feelings.

7.  Movements and gestures are used when verbal skills and memory fail.

8.  Demented individuals use symbols in the present to represent people/things from their past.

9.  Demented individuals live on several levels of awareness – often at the same time.

10.  When the senses fail, demented individuals use their inner senses/mind’s eye.

11.  Early, well-established emotional memories can be triggered by current stimuli that are linked to past experiences.

If you want to learn more about validation, here is the official site:


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