This week I discovered Validation Therapy, which seeks to engage meaningfully with people who have advanced dementia. A key principle of the therapy is that each individual’s opinions are:
“acknowledged, respected, heard, and (regardless whether or not the listener actually agrees with the content), they are being treated with genuine respect as a legitimate expression of their feelings, rather than marginalized or dismissed.” (Wikipedia)
In practice this can be an incredibly powerful way to connect with and help people. Naomi Feil’s work with Gladys Wilson - who hadn’t spoken a word in over four years at the time the validation therapy took place - is a particularly moving example.
Sweet memories last forever, even if you can’t see them.