Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, affects more than 5 million people in the U.S., a number growing as the population ages.

Using validation therapy in assisting individuals with Alzheimer’s disease will be discussed during a lunch and learn event sponsored by Alzheimer’s Texas.

The program will be 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, June 21, at St. Francis Episcopal Church, 5001 Hickory Road, Temple.

Steven Catoe, Positive Approach to Care and Validation Therapy trainer, will be teaching the Feil Validation Method.

Validation is a way of communication with and helping disoriented people. It is a practical way of communication that helps reduce stress, enhance dignity, and increase happiness, according to a release from Alzheimer’s Texas. Validation is built on an empathetic attitude and a holistic view of individuals.

When one can “step into the shoes” of another human being and “see through their eyes,” one can step in the world of disoriented people and understand the meaning of their behavior, the release said.

Naomi Feil is the developer of validation therapy. She grew up in the Montefiore Home for the Aged in Cleveland, Ohio, where her father was the administrator and her mother was the head of the Social Service Department. Feil received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Columbia University.

Some principles of the validation therapy are:

n All people are unique and must be treated as individuals.

n All people are valuable no matter how disoriented they are.

n There is a reason behind the behavior of disoriented “old-old” people. Old-old refers to someone who is 85 years old and older.

n Behavior in old-old age is not merely a function of anatomic changes in the brain, but reflect a combination of physical, social and psychological changes that take place over a lifespan.

n Old-old people cannot be forced to change their behaviors.

n Old-old people must be accepted nonjudgmentally.

n When more recent memory fails, older adults try to restore balance in their lives by retrieving earlier memories.

n Empathy builds trust, reduces anxiety and restores dignity.

Catoe spoke about enhancing communication with people with dementia in Salado during an Alzheimer’s Texas event a couple of years ago.

Communication is near impossible without understanding the best way to approach a person living with dementia, Catoe said.

It is estimated 350,000 people in Texas have Alzheimer’s disease, according to Alzheimer’s Texas. This number is projected to quadruple by 2030.

Eighty percent of care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease is provided in the home, usually by an aging spouse or an adult child. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease require increasingly comprehensive care for three to 20 years or more.

The class and a light lunch will be offered free of charge, but registration is required.

Reserve your spot by calling 512-241-0420, extension 10, or email VCardenas@TXAlz.org.