Late-Stage Dementia: How to Reach the “Unreachable”

I once told you the precious lesson my grandma taught me about dementia – namely, that we should never, ever consider someone with dementia “unreachable.” Even if the person has not spoken in years, there’s still a person in there, and that person can be reached on a very human level. Somehow, communication can occur.

No one knows this better than Naomi Feil, pioneer of validation therapy and the best dementia communicator I have ever seen. I had the honor of attending one of her workshops while in graduate school, which forever changed my view of people with dementia-related illnesses. Naomi taught me that by truly entering a person’s world without judgment or fear, we can break through the barriers that often keep us from meeting the emotional, spiritual, and social needs of those with dementia.

Watch this video to see how it’s done. Naomi uses touch, voice tone, eye contact, and music to connect with Gladys Wilson in a way that no one had been able to do in a very long time. Witnessing Gladys’ gradual awakening is stunning and beautiful at the same time. I need not say more about this video – when a master is at work, the best thing to do is to simply let it happen.

(c) Memory Bridge

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