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Dementia patient caregivers can learn validation method at free Marble Falls program

STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO

Alzheimer's Texas education and consultant specialist Stephen Catoe will teach the Feil Validation Method to dementia patient caregivers in a free program Jan. 23. Courtesy photo

Alzheimer’s Texas education and consultant specialist Stephen Catoe will teach the Feil Validation Method to dementia patient caregivers in a free program Jan. 23. Courtesy photo

Caregivers of those living with dementia who want to improve communications with their loved ones are invited to a free Lunch and Learn sponsored by Alzheimer’s Texas.

The event is 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, at First United Methodist Church, 1101 Bluebonnet Drive in Marble Falls, and will be taught by the Stephen Catoe, the organization’s education and consultant specialist.

Since it includes a free lunch, people need to register in advance by contacting vcardenas@txalz.org or (512) 241-0420.

The seminar is primarily for caregivers, family members, and friends of people living with dementia, Catoe said.

Catoe will teach the Feil Validation Method, developed by social worker Namoi Feil, during the gathering. Born in Munich in 1932, Feil, who earned a master’s degree from Columbia University, created this method because of her dissatisfaction with traditional methods of working with the severely disoriented individuals who were her clients, according to reports.

The most important key to the method is active listening.

Catoe said people’s strongest memories are their oldest and are emotionally based.

People living with dementia usually state they want to go home. Instead of responding with “This is where you live,” Feil’s method encourages asking questions such as “Tell me about your home. What was it like?”

That type of questioning can encourage the person to reveal “something underneath” that explains why they’re uncomfortable or that they don’t understand why they’re living where they are.

Another common statement from someone living with dementia is that there’s a man under their bed. Instead of looking under the bed and saying no one is there, Feil’s method is to look under the bed and say, “I don’t see him. Are there times he’s not here?”

That encourages the individual to talk more in-depth, Catoe said.

He plans to go over each of the 15 techniques and the principles behind this method, he said.

“It provides you with tools, tools that people need to have,” he said. “These are tools in order to know someone’s emotions.”

Catoe, whose mother suffered from dementia, has earned numerous certificates and completed a number of training programs revolving around gerontology and aging-related studies.

Go to txalz.org for more information or to learn about other programs.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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