Every client at Arthur’s Residential Care has different frustrations, and our staff works to make sure each client feels validated in the parts of their life they now find difficult. Keturah Rothermel, the housing manager at Arthur’s on Alta Vista, has over seven years’ experience providing care for people with a wide range of emotional and physical frustrations. One of the ways she does this is through using the tips that Arthur’s gives to staff as they train in memory care.
Here is a story told through Keturah’s eyes about the successful use of the memory care tip ‘Validate, Redirect, and Relocate.’
To Feel Heard
The power of validation is incredible and highly under-utilized. Showing a client you understand their frustration by expressing frustration alongside them goes such a long way. This is a learned technique, because our natural tendency is to try to calm the clients down by reassuring them. However, that is not what they always need! Sometimes they just need to get mad, and to feel heard.
A few weeks ago, one of my clients was having a rough night. A staff was talking with her and all of a sudden she shouted out: “I can’t do anything anymore! I can’t read! I can’t write!” She then proceeded to burst into tears. Staff tried to comfort her by offering to read to her or to help her write a letter, but that only seemed to make the matter worse. This went on for about five minutes, until staff put ‘Validate’ into action.
The Client Slowly Calmed Down
After the client had complained again about not being able to do anything, the staff responded: “I am so sorry that happened to you. That must be so frustrating!” The client slowly calmed down once she realized that the staff was in agreement with her about her frustration. Staff then took the opportunity to ‘Redirect’ her with putting on make-up, an activity she loves. No matter what time of day, sometimes all a girl needs for a pick-me-up is a little pampering! This distracted the client and she was soon all smiles. ‘Relocate’ wasn’t even needed.