At National Church Residences, our vision is to advance better living for all seniors, enabling them to remain home for life. Through this blog, our goal is to allow you to see the heart and soul of who we are as an organization. We will do this by sharing the National Church Residences way with you, inviting you into our stories and providing resources that educate caregivers, enabling seniors to enjoy their lives.
In this section, you can find stories about our residents, our volunteers, and our mission. The residents of National Church Residences have incredible stories to share. From war veterans to pillars of the community, to the formerly homeless, sharing the stories of our people will allow you to get to know who we are.
Here you’ll also meet our wonderful volunteers. Our volunteers make up the fabric of our organization and are an integral part of all we do.
Sharing stories of our mission invites you to connect with what we do. Our mission drives everything we seek to accomplish as an organization, and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Health and Wellness
In Health and Wellness, we want to engage senior citizens. Here we will provide solutions to common healthcare issues to help seniors find the answers they need.
With the number of seniors rapidly increasing, many adult children are caregivers to their aging parents. Here you’ll find information and resources to help care for your special senior and keep them home, engaged, happy, and healthy.
Look for a new blog post every week. Don’t miss a post. Subscribe and get blog posts directly in your inbox. In the meantime, feel free to read previous posts.
We want you to be a part of the National Church Residences mission. Feel free to leave a comment, suggest a topic, ask a question, or send an email to email@example.com. We’re excited to share National Church Residences with you!
By LANCE CRANMERlcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org
Before it even opened its doors, the vision for Panola Gardens was a community where housing and health care services came together under one roof. But to make that vision a reality, National Church Residences needed to find the right person.
“When the state agency awarded the important tax credits to National Church Residences to build Panola Gardens, they took a leap of faith that we would commit to an enriched service environment for our residents once we built the building,” said Michelle Norris, National Church Residences’ Executive Vice President of External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives. “That vision does not come to fruition without dedication and leadership of someone on the ground once the building opened.”
The organization found that leadership in Sharon Dawson Reid, Panola Gardens’ Care Coordinator.
“Sharon is an exceptional Service Coordinator,” said Terry Allton, National Church Residences Senior Vice President of Home and Community Services. “We are blessed to have her leading this effort!”
Sharon has been a member of the staff at Panola Gardens since the facility opened its doors in March 2015.
“As a Care Coordinator what I really do is work with the residents’ mind, body and soul,” Sharon said. “It’s a person-centered approach. It’s service coordination with care coordination laid on top of it.”
Using the concept of layering the two approaches has worked well for Sharon, especially when it comes to making partnerships and getting much-needed grants to fund projects.
“I have applied for several grants through Horizon Housing Foundation and they have been most kind to Panola Gardens,” she said, noting that over $16,500 has been awarded to her building. “They provide a lot of these classes for the residents that are free because of the type of grant that I applied for. I composed the grant and layered it with what I wanted to bring to the residents.”
Sharon found funding for Tai Chi classes which provide both mental relaxation and physical exercise.
She also brought in live musicians who provide entertainment, and also a form of music therapy.
“The way I proposed that grant is that (the music) stimulated the mind. They talk about the songs and who the musician was and where they were when they remember that song,” she said. “I’m always layering. It’s multifaceted.”
Other projects Sharon secured grant money for include art classes, live plays, free dental clinics, on-site physical therapists and chiropractors, and regular visits from a registered nurse to do health screenings and personal coaching for chronic diseases and medication questions.
“Built into those grants as well, even though they’re giving us all that money, I like to ask for even more money,” she said. “I have been given a lot of gift cards randomly given to residents for participating in at least one of these services. The residents are taking their time to come.”
As part of her job requirements Sharon hosts at least two educational wellness events per month. She is also required to plan at least 12 socialization events per year – but last year she held 91 of them.
“It engages their mind. Their thinking. It gets them walking. Gets them moving,” she said. “Every time a resident is in front of me I’m giving them something that is person centered. Something for the mind, body and soul. I go overboard trying to make sure these residents are well-rounded.”
Recently, she brought in retired NBA great Terry Cummings to speak to the residents.
“The focus of his speech was hope. It leaned on the spiritual side. Where the residents are in their lives. It is so this vulnerable population does not feel lost,” Sharon said. “It helps them transition through that period, if they are a widow or widower, or if they’re transitioning from a single dwelling or from living with family. Aging is a part of life and there’s a productive way to age.”
By LANCE CRANMERlcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org
COLUMBUS – When Dale and Glinna Fretwell arrived at First Community Village in September 2014, Dale was in bad shape.
“He got a blood infection in Florida,” Glinna recalled. “He was in bed for so long, he just lost his muscle strength. When he left the hospital we went to a rehab center. We were just very unhappy there.”
Natives of Virginia, the Fretwells had retired to Florida many years before. But now, with Dale’s illness, the difficulty of being on their own – and in a facility that did not meet their needs – made life particularly hard.
One of their daughters suggested that they consider moving into a community closer to where she lived in Columbus.
“There were four or five places that she visited,” Glinna said. “She has two little boys that came with her and she would ask them what they thought of each place. They told her First Community Village was their favorite. She asked them why. They said because they had candy at the front desk. It’s the little things that are important.”
In addition to the candy, First Community Village had the support services the facility in Florida was lacking.
“We put (Dale) on a plane in Tampa and we brought him straight here,” Glinna said, sitting just outside the physical therapy rooms at First Community Village. “The difference here is night and day. We hadn’t been here 30 minutes when a physical therapist came in and gave him an evaluation.”
“We offer a wellness assessment and we look at each new member holistically and determine their individual needs,” said Jackie Metro, the Director of Wellness at First Community Village. “We work specifically on whatever their needs for improvement are and work to get them to their optimal level of fitness.”
Dale spent about three months in physical therapy before he was able to get back on his feet and move into the manor home the Fretwells purchased.
“This place practically saved my husband’s life,” Glinna said. “He is so thankful for the good healthcare that we have had here.”
First Community Village has always had a wellness program, but in early 2016 National Church Residences enhanced what it had to offer.
“We expanded the program,” said Sarah Dalton Ortlieb, National Church Residences Vice President of Rehab Services. “We wanted to do wellness from all the domains, not just physical, but intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational and environmental. We wanted to have more comprehensive wellness opportunities for the residents there.”
“I am able to tailor their care and make it appropriate to what they need,” Jackie said. “I like to think of it as a nice cycle. There is always a place for each resident.”
For residents who need the most care there is physical therapy. For those who need less, there are group exercise classes and activities.
“You can go from physical therapy and graduate into a group exercise,” Jackie said.
Between five-to-eight classes are offered each weekday at First Community Village, ranging from aqua aerobics in the pool, balance classes, tai chi, yoga, dance, range of motion classes and classes specifically for those with Parkinson’s disease.
“We are regulars at the gym. We use it three days a week,” said Glinna. “And we love the pool. We use it three days a week. It has kept us walking, literally. My husband has had both knees replaces and I had knee surgery, too.”
Jackie said that since the expanded services became available, she has seen a 45 percent increase in the number of physical therapy visits and a 35 percent boost in the number of participants who come to the fitness center.
“We love it here,” Glinna said. “They care for you and go out of their way to make sure you are as comfortable as you can get.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation has awarded a Healthy Aging Initiative grant in the amount of $254,209 to National Church Residences to help the organization expand the Home for Life program to residents of Columbus’ Near East Side.
“The project is a combination of strategies,” said Jeff Wolf, National Church Residences Senior Vice President of Philanthropy and Mission Impact. “It expands the reach of our Home for Life model to seniors who live outside of our affordable housing properties, while the model itself is an innovation designed to help seniors in the community age in place.”
The Healthy Aging Initiative grant, administered over a two-year span, will touch the lives of nearly 700 at-risk Franklin County seniors. According to Wolf, “The grant is significant beyond its financial investment. A partnership with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation provides an opportunity to launch innovative solutions that encourage community collaboration and the development of replicable programming.”
“The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation is proud to partner with National Church Residences to share the Home for Life program with residents of Columbus’ Near East Side,” said Susan Beaudry, Director of Programs at the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. “This innovative program has great potential to provide older, vulnerable adults with the care and support needed to remain in their homes and communities of their choice.”
National Church Residences’ Home for Life program is an outcomes-focused service model, using evidence-based assessments and evaluation tools to identify an individual’s needs and risk factors. By engaging those we serve where they live, Home for Life can identify and overcome social determinant factors that impact an individual’s ability to best manage their chronic diseases, leading to higher satisfaction and engagement, better health and cost savings.
“The objective is to improve access to care and self-management skills of older vulnerable populations by giving them the tools to understand and manage their own care, allowing them to remain in their homes as they age,” said Wolf.
This program will bring the Home for Life model to seniors on Columbus’ Near East Side who do not reside in a National Church Residences facility. The focus is on an area that surrounds the Champion Intergenerational Enrichment and Education Center, at 240 N. Champion Ave.
COLUMBUS – Margaret could quickly crochet hats. Barbara spent her free time making shawls.
Before long, their passion and skill with needles and thread began to spread around the National Church Residences Center for Senior Health on Livingston Avenue.
“It was one winter when we had all the clients together in one room. One lady did hats. One did blankets,” said DeVonne Tucker, a volunteer at in the Center for Senior Health’s Adult Day program. “I knew how to crochet, so some of the things that these two ladies were doing I learned.”
Eventually, several other clients joined in and the casual knitting group became an every-Thursday activity.
Roughly 18 months later, the small-but-dedicated group of seniors pooled together all of the items they made and donated them to be given as gifts to National Church Residences hospice patients.
“This was really unique for the folks at our Adult Day centers to share their time and talents in such a lovely way to brighten someone else’s day,” said Deana Thatcher, National Church Residences Hospice Director. “When someone is in hospice care, anything that can brighten their day is so wonderful. Hospice is based around improving the quality of life for our patients. When they get a gift they weren’t expecting, it brightens their day. And it brightens the day of those who care for them just to see them happy.”
For many years now the seniors at Center for Senior Health Livingston have found ways to participate in charitable programs to benefit their community.
“We started this huge civic engagement program here,” said Terri Napletana, the Site Manager at CSHL. “We let clients pick out organizations they want to donate to. Then we do fundraisers.”
At first they assembled care packages to give to the formerly homeless and disabled military veterans who were moving in next door at National Church Residences Commons at Livingston. Later they raised money to purchase winter coats for the children at a nearby church.
Then came the idea of crocheting hats and blankets.
“My sister was going through chemotherapy and someone gave her a shawl to use while she was getting her treatments,” Terri said. “She said it was a lifesaver.”
DeVonne and Terri organized the group that met every week to make the hats and blankets.
“Some people couldn’t crochet, so DeVonne came up with little dogs that people could make,” Terri said. “In the beginning we would sell the dogs to get money to buy more yarn.”
After a year-and-a-half of work, on June 2 the group donated 11 sets of hats and shawls, eight adult hats, three children’s hats and two lap blankets to the National Church Residences hospice team with a small ceremony at the Livingston center.
“The whole idea of the civic engagement is there,” Terri said. “We want to give back. They love to give back.”
By LANCE CRANMERlcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org
COLUMBUS — A little over a year ago, National Church Residences Lincoln Village needed a helping hand.
The staff turnover rate at the assisted living facility on Columbus’ west side was unexpectedly high and overall moral was heading in the wrong direction.
At the time, Sally Grote was serving as the Assistant Executive Director at National Church Residences Chillicothe campus. But when the organization’s leadership reached out to her to lend a hand at Lincoln Village in April 2015, she was up for the new challenge.
“It’s hard to talk about how it was before, because I wasn’t here,” Sally admits. “We had to work hard to get the right staff in the right positions. It took some time.”
Sally spent two months lending a hand at Lincoln Village. Then in June, she was officially named the facility’s new Executive Director.
“I was definitely worried (about the new challenge), but just personally, I have a certain standard of how I expect things to be,” Sally said. “It’s definitely getting better. There were days where I didn’t want to leave at the end of the day. But now we have the right staff and the right procedures in place.”
After nearly one year on the job, Sally got some exciting news. According to information gathered from organization-wide surveys, staff satisfaction at Lincoln Village had increased by 24 percent in one year – the largest increase by any community in the National Church Residences family.
“We have a really strong leadership team. We worked really hard to establish relationships with everybody here, especially the staff,” Sally said. “We tried to work with the staff to find out what they’re seeing. We’re all together trying to provide quality care for these residents.”
Sally said that embracing National Church Residences President and CEO Mark Rickett’s concept of “shared leadership” has been a key to success.
“Nobody is trying to figure this out alone. We’re doing this as a team,” she said. “Our staff has owned their positions and responsibilities. We foster a learning environment. We’re trying to make our staff successful.”
Sally added that the addition of Lynette Garcia as the new Director of Nursing at Lincoln Village has also been a great help.
“We both started at the same time,” she said. “We had a lot of new staff. Maybe five employees were here before. There was a lot of turnover and we did a lot of trying to find the right people for our open positions.”
In 2016, Sally is happy to report that staff turnover at Lincoln Village is officially at zero percent.
“We have one person leaving in June, but she’s retiring,” Sally said. “We have a pretty good culture here now. It’s family-oriented and is a place where relationships matter. We’re building and growing together. We don’t have all the answers, but we seek to find them.”
Sally credits having a successful first year as an Executive Director to what she learned working for four years under the direction of Chillicothe Executive Director Karen Steinbrook.
“Working under her I learned so much. She’s an amazing woman,” Sally said. “I learned so much about this organization from the Chillicothe campus. It was a great place to learn about all things senior. They really have it all there.”
“Sally is a wonderful person and leader,” Karen added. “She soaked up information like a sponge. I truly liked working with Sally, and I was sure that she would not last long as an assistant.”
GREELEY, Colorado – Bonnie Dietz and her friends often gather in the lounge at Birchwood Apartments to play cards.
One afternoon nearly three months ago, Jane Schwarz, the building’s National Church Residences Service Coordinator, stopped by the group to check in.
“The lounge is right outside of Jane’s office,” Bonnie said. “She came out and talked to me for a minute and she said, ‘when you get finished with your card game, I want to talk to you.’”
Jane had a question for Bonnie that, at the time, seemed odd. However, it turned out to be a question that may have saved Bonnie’s life.
“Out of the blue she said, ‘have you seen a urologist?’” Bonnie said. “I thought, what’s going on? I have had a bit of kidney problems along with my diabetes. I didn’t know Jane was interested in this. I knew she knew about it. But I puzzled over it for a while. I thought it must just be something she needs to know.”
What Jane was doing was utilizing Care Guide, National Church Residences’ innovative program designed to create better long-term health care outcomes for our residents.
“Sometimes I pull up Care Guide and just look at what I wrote last quarter and I ask residents if they’re still going through the same things. I ask them, ‘are you still doing this or that?’ Or ‘are you still on the same amounts of this medication?’ Or just, ‘how are you feeling?’” Jane said. “Then sometimes they start telling you more about other things.”
Because of Jane’s question, Bonnie decided it might be time for a visit to her primary care physician for a check-up.
“It did instigate me to call and make an appointment,” Bonnie said. “I went in to see him on Feb. 1. He said my diabetes is fine and my blood pressure is fine. They took some lab work. Then he called the next day and said get over to the nephrology clinic because you’ve got some problems.”
Bonnie went to see the nephrologist – a doctor that specializes in kidney care – and found out some shocking news.
“I went over there and they tested my kidneys,” she said. “They said I was down to 30 percent of my function. Anything below that and you have to start thinking about dialysis.”
Shortly after hearing this diagnosis, Bonnie made an appointment with Jane to help her figure out Colorado’s Food Tax Rebate paperwork.
“I thought I was in trouble. She said, ‘first, I want to talk to you,’” Jane said. “She asked me why I had asked her about kidney disease. I explained that it was one of the chronic conditions that we follow up on in Care Guide.”
“I didn’t know that the Service Coordinator did that,” Bonnie said. “She was so tickled that her question had spurred me to go and see the doctor.”
Bonnie’s primary care physician gave her some recommendations on how to help strengthen her kidneys and avoid having to start dialysis.
Bonnie, who is 83 years old, has lived in a few different senior citizen apartment complexes.
“I was a cook in hospitals and nursing homes when I lived in Kansas,” she said. “Before that we were farmers. We had a farm and raised a family here (in Colorado).”
After her husband of 33 years passed away, Bonnie chose to move into an apartment. It wasn’t until she arrived at Birchwood Apartments, however, that she was introduced to a Service Coordinator.
“It’s really helpful,” she said. “There’s so much paperwork and things anymore that she can help me with. I don’t have a car and have to find transportation. It really is a help to have her here. She provides workshops during the week for different things. Right now there’s a living healthy workshop that comes once a week and we go attend that. It’s a real help.”
Jane said that as a National Church Residences Service Coordinator, it was exciting to see the work she does pay off in such a direct way.
“Sometimes it’s hard to see an action when you’re helping somebody because you don’t see the reaction,” she said. “In this case I did and I saw it come full-circle. It was exciting for me to see that take shape.”
Birchwood Apartments is a 173-resident senior apartment complex that has a Service Coordination contract with National Church Residences. Jane said that when Care Guide was first introduced, residents initially had some questions. But today they full embrace the positive impact it has had on their overall health.
“Just having the discussions with them prompts them to think about their health and more forward and talk to their doctor about it,” Jane said. “Bonnie is really good about advocating for herself and she took some action.”
(Dr. William Wulf, CEO of Central Ohio Primary Care, and Mark Ricketts, President and CEO of National Church Residences, sign a joint venture to provide primary care physician services for National Church Residences’ central Ohio facilities earlier this month at First Community Village in Upper Arlington.)
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The nation’s largest independent primary care group and the nation’s largest non-profit provider of affordable senior housing have officially joined forces to offer a one-of-a-kind health care partnership.
Central Ohio Primary Care Physicians (COPC) signed an agreement earlier this month to provide primary care services in coordination with National Church Residences’ continuum of senior health care services, aimed at helping seniors in Central Ohio avoid unnecessary admissions and readmissions to hospitals or nursing facilities.
“In National Church Residences we have found a partner that puts the patient at the center of every decision,” said Dr. J. William Wulf, M.D., the CEO of COPC. “Over the last three years we have worked together on multiple initiatives and felt that it was time to formalize our relationship in a joint venture.”
The partnership will focus on National Church Residences “Home for Life” program that allows seniors to live healthier lives in their own homes, reducing the need to enter nursing facilities.
“National Church Residences and COPC are jointly making a commitment in central Ohio to help seniors remain at home,” said Mark Ricketts, President and CEO of National Church Residences. “You might even say National Church Residences’ commitment to high quality and reliable ‘At Home Health Care,’ ‘At Home Assistance’ and ‘At Home Hospice Care’ is a senior’s partner at home for life!”
“True population health will require physicians to partner with organizations that can deliver services to the most frail in our care,” Dr. Wulf added. “This will include care for our high risk patients at home and in non-hospital facilities. National Church Residences is an organization focused on providing the level of care needed to improve quality and lower cost.”
In the agreement, National Church Residences will proactively identify at-risk individuals through the organization’s revolutionary Care Guide assessment system to provide person-centered care planning that tracks interventions and outcomes. COPC will provide primary care and other diagnostic services to help manage a patient’s health both before and after the need for higher levels of care.
“This joint venture with COPC is unique and exciting,” said Ricketts. “While many senior living organizations in the United States have offered primary care services on campus, few have taken the step of partnering with primary care physicians serving residents in the community.”
(Dr. John Weigand, National Church Residences Chief Medical Officer, Mark Ricketts, National Church Residences President and CEO, and Dr. William Wulf, CEO of Central Ohio Primary Care, celebrate the signing of a joint venture between the two organizations.)
By LANCE CRANMERlcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org
DUBLIN, Ohio — Offering health care options inside senior apartment homes facilities is an attractive amenity when looking for a retirement community.
Sometimes, though, having a health care provider on-site can not only enrich lives, but save them as well.
Julie Sofranko is the Care Coordinator at National Church Residences Avondale, a senior apartment homes community in Dublin, Ohio, that offers access to skilled nursing, rehabilitative therapies and a full range of Home and Community Services.
For Julie, a registered nurse with a background in public health, knowing her residents and providing them general health care services is her daily responsibility.
“(Avondale) is a unique property,” she said. “I’m hoping we continue to expand health care services here. I really believe it is what’s going to keep people healthy.”
As part of her job at Avondale, Julie conducts several wellness sessions and health screenings for her residents to help them stay on top of their own personal wellbeing.
“With the seniors it’s blood pressure and hypertension, heart disease, lung disease … anybody who identifies these disorders, we’re giving them information to try to help them understand what’s going on with their bodies. We are giving them enough knowledge and education that they want to step up and take personal responsibility,” she said. “When we do wellness sessions here, they all show up. I’ll have 40 or 50 people in a room when we do wellness instruction and education. That’s half my population.”
During these health education programs, Julie is frequently joined by Chris Brown, a Nurse Liaison with National Church Residences Home and Community Services.
“Julie and I focus many of our monthly wellness and educational programs around the promotion of wellness as well as chronic disease management in order to help keep these residents as healthy as possible,” Chris said. “Having a nurse on-site is a wonderful benefit for Avondale residents.”
Earlier this summer, an interaction Julie and Chris had with a resident during one of these sessions helped save the resident’s life.
“I have a resident that is 79-years-old. I was leading an activity session and she just didn’t look right. I said, ‘You look tired today.’ I looked at her and saw her ankles were swollen,” Julie said. “She said, ‘I’ve gained 30 pounds and I can’t figure out how I did it. My belly and ankles are swollen, I’m very tired and I can’t breathe.’”
Julie and Chris quickly ran some tests on the resident and found some serious problems.
“When we checked her oxygen saturation it was very low,” Chris said. “Both Julie and I recognized these signs as possible congestive heart failure.”
Normal blood saturation is 95-to-100. Tests showed that the resident’s was dangerously low at 81.
Paramedics were called and the resident was admitted into the hospital, where she stayed for several days.
“She went right into intensive care from the ER,” Julie said. “They told her if she had gone to sleep that night, she would not have woken up.”
Now, weeks later, the resident is back home at Avondale and her condition is being monitored regularly.
“She is home now, doing well and her congestive heart failure is being controlled with medication and lifestyle changes,” said Chris. “Julie will continue to monitor this resident through Care Guide, and we will hopefully prevent future hospitalizations through education and early recognition of symptoms.”
Multiple National Church Residences sites in Ohio and Florida offer on-site health care at senior apartment homes facilities, with an eye on expansion into other markets in the future.
“That little incident was evidence of how important it is to have health care present so you can identify concerns right away and get them addressed,” Julie said. “We saved her life that day.”
(Cranmer is the Media/Public Relations Specialist for National Church Residences. Do you have a great story to tell? Contact Lance at firstname.lastname@example.org)
There have been years of trial and error as we look retrospectively at the practice of caring for an individual with Dementia. Reality orientation, redirection, and restraint are no longer the most effective methods of caregiving for people with Dementia.
Research is still in its infancy. Evidence-based, best practices of care are being identified, providing support for families and caregivers. One such practice is Validation, developed by Naomi Feil, M.S.W., A.C.S.W. Validation theory explains that many very old disoriented people, who are often diagnosed as having Alzheimer type dementia, are in the final stage of life trying to resolve unfinished issues in order to die in peace. Their final struggle is important and we, as caregivers and family, can help them.
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 into the world of disoriented very old people and understand the meaning of their sometimes bizarre behavior.
Validation is a theory that very old people struggle to resolve unfinished life issues before death. Their behavior is age-specific.
Validation techniques offer disoriented elderly an opportunity to express what they wish to express whether it is verbal or non-verbal communication. Validation practitioners are caring, non-judgmental and open to the feelings that are expressed. When unresolved feelings are suppressed for many years, they grow more powerful. When we listen with empathy for these expressions, the intensity of emotion lessens and the person with dementia communicates more freely and is less likely to withdraw further.
Based on the collaboration with health care providers and with family members the resulting findings need to emphasized and translated into best practices for healthcare environments, home, hospital, adult day care, assisted living and long-term care.
Family caregivers of people with dementia carry the weight on their shoulders, and often developing stress, poor health, and financial strain as a result. While many caregivers want to “live in the moment” and hope that they will not have to face the challenges posed by the dementia progression, most ultimately will. Therefore, we believe that these family caregivers of persons with dementia deserve the same level of anticipatory guidance to ensure that they are prepared for each new transition. Using the Validation theory as a framework for the development and implementation of clinical and educational approaches, we can play a pivotal role in the health and well-being of persons with dementia and their family.
The Principles of Validation Therapy are that:
1. All people are unique and must be treated as individuals.
2. All people are valuable, no matter how disoriented they are.
3. There is a reason behind the behavior of disoriented old-old people.
4. Behavior in old-old age is not merely a function of anatomic changes in the brain but reflects a combination of physical, social and psychological changes that take place over the lifespan.
5. Old-old people cannot be forced to change their behaviors. Behaviors can be changed only if the person wants to change them.
6. Old-old people must be accepted nonjudgmentally.
7. Particular life tasks are associated with each stage of life. Failure to complete a task at the appropriate stage of life may lead to psychological problems.
8. When more recent memory fails, older adults try to restore balance, in their lives by retrieving earlier memories. When eyesight fails, they use the mind’s eye to see. When hearing goes, they listen to sounds from the past.
9. Painful feelings that are expressed, acknowledged, and Validated by a trusted listener will diminish. Painful feelings that are ignored or suppressed will gain strength.
10. Empathy builds trust, reduces anxiety, and restores dignity.
Linda Roehrenbeck, BSN MBA, is the executive director of National Church Residences Mill Run, and a Certified Validation Worker. Linda provides in-house guidance, support and small group presentations in the practice of Validation.