BLISS #6 Caring for People with Dementia in Japan

3 Jul

Koichiro Shogaki is a teacher of The Validation technique, a method of communication with older adults experiencing dementia. An American social worker, Naomi Feil, created this method. You may have seen a famous video of her singing hymns to a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Shogaki is one of the first persons in Japan to be trained for it.

The Validation method focuses on empathy through understanding the feelings and the experiences of disoriented elderly. When they display troubling behaviors, our tendency is to try to change them. But Shougaki notes that it’s more important to try to understand the reasons behind such behaviors by putting ourselves in their shoes.  In a sense The Validation method challenges us, the caregivers, to change ourselves.

In Japan more than 4.6 million people are suffering from some form of dementia.  By 2025 one in five people will be over 65 years old, and nearly 7.3 million people are estimated to have dementia. So how to care for them is an important topic.

While the media and the medical community in Japan seem to focus on “prevention” and “cure” of dementia, Shogaki wants people to learn how to support those living with it.

“It’s not easy to use The Validation technique, because it takes time to change ourselves. But what’s important is to believe in yourself and keep practicing.”  Shogaki says.

You can listen to his interview here.

 

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5 Responses to “BLISS #6 Caring for People with Dementia in Japan”

  1. John Dougill July 4, 2018 at 3:27 pm #

    We all need validation, and it’s wonderful some professionals are learning how to give it!!

    • Yumi July 4, 2018 at 4:13 pm #

      Thank you, John!

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