Validation Techniques for Dementia Care

The Family Guide to Improving Communication

By Vicki de Klerk-Rubin, R.N., M.B.A.

ISBN 978-1-932529-37-1
144 pages
5.5 x 8.25 papercover
© 2008

(6 customer reviews)


Written especially for family members and friends caring for people with dementia, this practical guidebook offers a solution to commonly faced communication and relationship difficulties. Developed by social worker Naomi Feil and widely practiced around the world, the Validation approach provides caring and empathetic techniques to support meaningful communication and interaction with people with memory impairments.

This hands-on resource gives family caregivers all the information and guidance they need to successfully implement proven Validation techniques and enjoy results benefits such as

  • reduced challenging behavior
  • improved communication
  • lower levels of stress and anxiety in both caregivers and older adults
  • more satisfying relationships

In addition to background information about dementia and the principles behind Validation, the book includes detailed, illustrated explanations of specific verbal and nonverbal communication techniques. Realistic case studies demonstrate the approach in action in many different relationships, including husband/wife, parent/child, and grandparent/grandchild.

Caregivers who adopt Validation will learn how to break through the silence and pain of withdrawal and interact with their loved on with greater respect and compassion. Start re-establishing connections and improving relationships today with Validation Techniques for Dementia Care.


Part I: Understand What Happens to the Disoriented Very Old

  • Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Disorientation: What’s in a Name?
  • When It Happens in Your Family
  • The Principles of Validation: Tools for Thinking
  • What Do the Behaviors of Disoriented Very Old Mean?
  • Resolution: The Tasks of Life’s Final Phase
  • Conclusion

Part II: How to Communicate with Your Disoriented Relative

  • Center
  • Observe
  • Find the Appropriate Distance
  • Find Empathy
  • Use Appropriate Verbal and Nonverbal Techniques
  • You, Too, Are a Person: Respect Your Own Limits, and Ask for Help

Part III: How Validation Works in Real-Life Family Situations

  • Preparing Yourself Mentally
  • Observation
  • Doris and Her Mother: Dealing with Repetition
  • John Allen and His Wife, Joan: When the Past Becomes the Present
  • Nancy and Her Mother: Entering Your Mother’s World
  • Mrs. Prachel and Her Mother: Respecting the Adult
  • Jill and Her Grandmother: Helping Young People Relate
  • Max and His “Waiting for Johnnie” Mother: Accepting Her the Way She Is
  • Emily and Her Husband, Samuel: Not Being Recognized
  • Helen and Her Sister, Meryl: Wanting to Go Home Now!
  • Sara and Her Mom: Lying and Play-Acting
  • Louise and Tom: Losing Your Husband

Appendix 1

  • Family Member Support Group
  • Programs Offered by the Validation Center at the Landesverein fur Innere Mission in der Pfalz E.V.
  • Family Caregiver Course in Validation
    In-Home Counseling: Austrian Model

Appendix 2

  • Summary of Validation for Family Caregivers (to be copied as a handy reference)

Appendix 3

  • Centering Exercises

Appendix 4

  • Validation and Alzheimer’s Disease Information Resources
  • Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Resources



Validation Techniques for Dementia Care: The Family Guide to Improving Communication (De Klerk Rubin Excerp… by Health Professions Press

Vicki de Klerk-RubinVicki de Klerk-Rubin, R.N., M.B.A., is a Validation Master Teacher and the Executive Director of the Validation Training Institute (VTI). As the daughter of Naomi Feil, she strives to continue the legacy her mother started by ensuring that the VTI remains strong and committed to spreading the method she developed with integrity, creativity, and love.

Ms. de Klerk-Rubin assisted in the development of Authorized Validation Organizations (AVOs) throughout the world. She is especially proud of her work with other Validation Teachers in developing the standardized curricula, the Quality Manual, and certification levels. More recently, she has focused on developing online Validation training as well as training for specific groups of people: Validation for Family Caregivers and Validation for First Responders. Each training is focused on the needs of the participant. Every online course follows strict quality standards for online pedagogy.

Ms. de Klerk-Rubin received her master’s degree in business administration from Fordham University (1983) and a nursing degree from Hogeschool Holland, Amsterdam (1997). She has published numerous articles on Validation in Dutch and British magazines and is co-author on revisions of Naomi Feil’s publications. Her book Validation Techniques for Dementia Care: The Family Guide to Improving Communication has been published in English (2008, Health Professions Press), German, Japanese, Swedish, and French. Her newest publication, Validation for First Responders (2019, VTI), is also available in German and French.

6 reviews for Validation Techniques for Dementia Care

  1. admin

    Validation Techniques for Dementia Care is a rare book, written with empathy for the caregiver … Bringing 20 years of experience as a Validation presenter, practitioner, and teacher, [the author] offers families step-by-step ways of communicating, with a multitude of examples and exercises.”
    Naomi Feil, M.S.W., A.C.S.W., L.I.S.W., B.C.D., Executive Director, Validation Training Institute, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio

  2. admin

    Validation Techniques for Dementia Care … uses a combination of narrative and step-by-step guidelines to help readers truly integrate Validation techniques into their interactions with loved ones … Reading this book will build mindfulness and empathy in caregivers, teaching them simple methods that can help them explore and support that emotional reality of aging persons and find relevance and meaning in their experiences.”
    Peter Whitehouse, M.D., Ph.D., and Danny George, M.Sc., authors of The Myth of Alzheimer’s: What You Aren’t Being Told About Today’s Most Dreaded Diagnosis

  3. admin

    “How I wish I’d had this book when I was caring for my parents, both suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Through trial and error, I eventually learned to just forget about logic and reason and used what I called ‘Go-With-The-Flow,’ never realizing I was using a Validation technique. How much easier it would have been and how much time and heartache it would have saved to have instructions on how to manage the myriad of odd behaviors that occur in those with dementia.”
    Jacqueline Marcell, author of Elder Rage and radio host of Coping With Caregiving

  4. admin

    “This book contains controversial, yet highly enlightening, concepts that will aid family members in their quest to communicate with and find meaning in their relationship with their loved ones.”
    John C. Colletti, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist; Certified Validation Teacher; President, Chapman Senior Care, Richmond, VA

  5. admin

    “This book gives family members, friends, and others the keys to unlock the doors to continued relationships and opportunities for positive interactions with loved ones. Ms. deKlerk-Rubin presents the principles of Validation, gives meaningful guidance in negotiating the role of caregiver, provides techniques and approaches that have been proven to be useful, and gives excellent examples in the form of stories to guide application. An important contribution to the caregiving literature.”
    Harvey L. Sterns, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Life-Span Development and Gerontology and Professor of Psychology, The University of Akron; Research Professor of Gerontology, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy

  6. admin

    “Vicki de Klerk-Rubin has penned a powerful complement to Naomi Feil’s earlier works.… Clear-cut examples from real life situations are offered as insights into effective verbal and nonverbal communication techniques to be used with someone who suffers from disorientation or dementia.… Readers are left with concrete methods and a sense of hope as they toil through very difficult times.”
    Sandy Ransom, R.N., M.S.H.P., Director, Texas Long Term Care Institute

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