Bringing it Home

Each week we will discuss a Validation technique, hoping to offer you specific skills you can use in your everyday relationship with people who have late on-set Alzheimer’s disease or as we prefer, malorientation or disorientation.

When I wake up late because my alarm didn’t go off; my kids are running late as well; my husband is busy and can’t help me; the lunches have to be made; I know I HAVE to stop and get gas on my way to work and that I Am Going To Be Late. I rush into the dementia care unit where I work irritated, filled with my own thoughts and feelings … and now I’m going to validate someone. No way.

Before I can focus on another human being, I have to clear myself of my own thoughts and feelings – if only for 15 minutes. I imagine myself opening a small locker with a key and putting my irritation, my anger, my haste into that locker and locking it. I pocket the key because I know I need to go back and get all that out once I’m finished with my work and have time to deal with it. But not now.

I close my eyes and breath deeply, from my belly, consciously relaxing my shoulders, my knees, my neck, where ever I am holding my tension. I use each inhalation to clear out the emotions. If there is tension that doesn’t want to let go – exaggerate the tension, make it tenser, tight as you can make it. Then take a breath and wash it away. Do this for 2 minutes. Open your eyes when you feel ready to focus on what is around you, on the person you want to validate.