Try to position yourself at or slightly below your loved one’s eye level. This less-dominant stance shows respect and supports dignity.
If a loved one tells a story you don’t believe occurred, avoid correcting them or treating them like a child. Never argue or ask, “Don’t you remember?” If you need to redirect the conversation, ask, “Did you ever?” or, “Tell me about a time when …”
Ask questions about extremes. For example: “What was the best thing about that day?” “What was the worst thing about that job?” Responding to these questions helps your loved one express feelings more fully.
Avoid asking “why,” which may make your loved one feel defensive. Connect more effectively by using “who,” “what,” “when,” “where”
When all else fails to spark good, healthy communication, try a simple “Tell me about it.” You’ll be showing empathy and preserving your loved one’s dignity.
Latoya Brown, Reminiscence Coordinator at Sunrise Senior Living, discusses how using Validation Therapy greatly benefits her residents with memory loss and shares her experience using this method.
Learn more about Validation Therapy and how it was developed.