Importance of Validating Person’s with Dementia

Vicky Pitner   -  

It just feels good to be validated. When your thoughts and emotions are validated or affirmed by others, especially by those you love and trust, there is a feeling of acceptance. All people need to feel understood, and when our feelings or thoughts are discounted, or we feel misunderstood, a sudden need to stand up for ourselves is a natural response and can cause conflict. No one likes to be invalidated.

People living with dementia are so often not validated for their feelings or ideas but rather corrected and often told how they should feel. Validation means more than just agreeing with someone about a feeling or idea; validation runs deeper and is an emotional connection with the person. Emotional validation involves expressing acceptance of another person’s emotional experience.

Validating someone’s feelings requires compassion and empathy and is not always easy. Have you ever tried to share a difficult day with someone, and rather than the person listening with compassion and concern, they responded by telling you how you could have handled it differently?  Or perhaps you recognize this characteristic in yourself?

The more you learn and practice strategies to understand your loved-one, you become their best treatment.  By using empathy, compassion, and patience, you are the key to keeping your loved-one engaged in life as long as possible.

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