Episode 144 – Unstoppable Validator with Vicki de Klerk-Rubin
Our guest this week is Vicki de Klerk-Rubin. She is the director of the Validation Training Institute and a certified Validation master teacher. What is “Validation” and the “Validation method”? Listen in to see.
Validation as Vicki and her mother developed and refined the concept is a better way to interact with and help people with diminishing cognitive skills. Our discussions are far ranging and relevant to anyone with a senior in their family who is having greater difficulties in relating to you.
I believe this episode is extremely important for all of us to experience. Not only do the techniques Vicki discusses help with persons with cognitive challenges, but her processes can help anyone who wishes to do a better job of communicating with others.
About the Guest:
Vicki de Klerk-Rubin is the Executive Director of the Validation Training Institute and a certified Validation Master Teacher. She is the author of Validation Techniques for Dementia Care and Validation for First Responders. Together with her mother Naomi Feil, the founder of the Validation method, she co-authored the revisions of Validation: The Feil Method and The Validation Breakthrough. Ms. de Klerk-Rubin holds a BFA from Boston University, an MBA from Fordham University, and is a Dutch-trained registered nurse. Since 1989, Ms de Klerk-Rubin has given Validation workshops, lectures and training programs in Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. She has also worked in long-term care in Amsterdam, leading Validation groups and training staff.
Ways to connect with Vicki:
VTI Site: https://vfvalidation.org/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM9PIB1v5YWqlwkraX7rh1Q
Vicki LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vicki-de-klerk-4966348/
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:20
Well, hi, once again, it is Mike Hingson, your host for unstoppable mindset. Today we get to interview Vicki de Klerk Rubin, although I’ve been calling her Vicki declerck. She is the director of the validation Institute. And I’m not going to say more about that, because that’s really kind of her job along with everything else that she gets to do. I met Vicki, what now a little over a month ago, and she went to spend time with children in Rhode Island, although she’s over in the Netherlands. So Vicki, you haven’t had mostly to put up with all of our crazy weather out here in California or was much of the crazy weather that the East has had have. You
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 02:02
know, we’ve had our own crazy weather here in the Netherlands.
Michael Hingson ** 02:05
There you go. Well, welcome to unstoppable mindset. We’re glad to have you here.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 02:11
And I’m glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Michael Hingson ** 02:15
So what kind of crazy weather
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 02:19
it’s very, very cold, and then very, very warm, and tons of rain, which I suppose is fairly normal for the Netherlands at this time of year. Which is why we have such beautiful flowers here.
Michael Hingson ** 02:35
Well, as long as the dikes continue to hold or somebody has a finger to put in the dikes, then we’re okay. Yes,
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 02:41
we are all times you know, the Dutch send water experts around the world to help people deal with flooding.
Michael Hingson ** 02:52
And, and I’ve heard stories of that I don’t know a lot about although I’ve heard a couple of stories of ways that they have helped. I think there was something on 60 minutes here a few years ago about some of the things that the ducks had been doing to help with some of the flooding somewhere. And of course, it’s a whole fascinating process to deal with all that and out here. We have just had so much rain and snow in California. There are places here in California up in the Sierras where we’ve already had over 670 inches of snow, just this year. Yeah, so that’s like, over 55 feet of snow. It’s crazy. And then we got a little bit more snow this week.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 03:39
Oh my goodness. Yeah, we’re moving right into springtime here. All the daffodils are up and tulips are, you know, just everywhere, every color. It’s quite spectacular. Wow. Well, that is a nice time of year to be here.
Michael Hingson ** 04:00
I’m jealous. I think it was 40 degrees Fahrenheit this morning for a low? No, I’m sorry, it was 34 degrees Fahrenheit for a low. And now we’re all the way up to 44.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 04:12
Spring is a common spring is
Michael Hingson ** 04:15
eventually. Well tell me a little bit about you. Maybe sort of your early history and a younger Vicki and all that and kind of got to where you are on some of those things.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 04:27
Oh my goodness. Well, I was born in New York City. And I’ll skip all the early youth stuff and jump straight to university. My first university was Boston University, where I got a bachelor of fine arts. And then I went off to New York City to work in theatre, Off Broadway and Broadway theater and on the administrative side and then I I’m I did an MBA and a night school because I felt I needed that. And then I met this handsome Dutch guy. And in 1986, I just dropped everything my career, my apartment, packed my bags and my everything and move to Amsterdam. And I’ve been overseas since then really, we got married, we have two children. He is just finishing up his job as a diplomat for the Dutch state department. And so we’ve moved around quite a bit. All over the place, Vienna twice Jordan, in the Middle East, we even had a posting to the wilds of New York City. Which was quite, it was strange, I have to tell you going back after so many years abroad, and it felt like a posting. So and that now we’re here in The Hague, and that feels very comfortable. And workwise. As a young mother, I was doing all sorts of different volunteer stuff. And then my mother, who is Naomi file, and she founded the validation method, which is a way of communicating with very old people, or even not so old people, people who have some form of cognitive decline. And she developed this method in the 60s and the 70s. And then wrote about it in 1982, started the validation Training Institute in 1982. And I guess it was 1989. I was living in Vienna, I had to list small children, and she said, Can you help me revise my book, it’s a little disorganized. And I said, Sure, that was a nice activity for me. So I got all her reference material, went through the book, revised it put in all the citations and the footnotes. And at the end of that process, it felt to me like I really understood the validation method. And I was asked to speak in some nursing home. And I said, Sure, I can talk about the validation method. So I went in. And at the end of my little our theme, song and dance, there was a very experienced nurse sitting in the front. And she had her arms crossed on her chest and leaned back and gave me this look. And she said, Well, that’s all very nice and good. But what do you do when Mr. Smith spits at you? And I had to stop. Because I didn’t know. And I went running back to the book, and realized, I really knew nothing. I had no practical experience. I it was all book knowledge. And validation is a practical method that was developed through trial and error. And my mom’s practice in in working with older adults in a nursing home. So what I did was I started volunteering at a nursing home, and building up my practice. And then I went back to school and became a registered nurse to give myself some background, and I felt more secure with that knowledge. And in 2014, when my mom was, gosh, she was reaching 85 At that point, and she really didn’t well at I guess at that point. She didn’t want to keep doing the job of the executive director. And I had been taking bits and pieces of it from her to lighten her load over a decade. So it was at that point that I became the Executive Director of the validation Training Institute. And since that time, I’ve been well you’ll appreciate appreciate this on Trying to professionalize it to the extent that I can retire. So that means building up enough of a financial position and marketing and all that business stuff. So that I can be free to do the fun stuff like, teach, or build curricula, things that I really love to do. Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 10:30
that’s always the way of it that all too often, the business side of something gets in the way of doing what we really want to do, which is, as you said, to do the fun stuff to really have an active role in helping people even though the business part of it is really something that’s necessary, inactive, but it is kind of important, I think, for most of us to want to get to the, to the real nitty gritty of doing some of the stuff rather than just doing the business part of it. I understand that feeling well.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 11:03
Hmm. Yeah, we’re getting there slowly, but surely. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 11:10
so tell me a little bit about the validation method, what it is, what are some of its basic principles? Hmm. And then I’m also curious to find out if Mr. Smith or any of his colleagues ever did spit at you. But that that’s another question.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 11:28
I have never been spit at. Actually, I’ve never been bitten or hid. And I attribute that to the effectiveness of the validation method. And also knowing my limits. The basic concepts of the validation method are we acknowledge that all older adults with cognitive decline, will really every human being on this planet is unique and worthwhile. And that we should not try to change them. It’s very important to recognize that people who are living with cognitive decline they are as they are, and they can’t fix it. And the more we tried to change them, the more difficult the relationship becomes. So in validation, we’d go to their side of the street. That’s was one of the things my mom said all the time that we have to cross the street to them, we can’t expect them to come to us. So that means if an older adult who is missing, being a mom, and her children are all grown up, but she really misses that identity piece. And so as a very old woman living in perhaps a memory care community, and she goes wandering through the halls at three o’clock saying, I have to go pick up the children now that we, the validating caregiver doesn’t say to this woman, now, Mrs. Declare, you know, your children are all grown now. That’s reality orientation. And it does not speak to the basic human need of this woman whose need is to have identity to be a mom to be a good mom. And so we don’t lie and say all you know what, someone else is picking up the kids today. I will know that that’s a lie, because this is another principle of validation. All well, I don’t want to use all or never or any of those extremes. Older adults who are living with cognitive decline on some level, really know what the truth is. It’s just that that truths does not help them in that moment. And so it’s easier to go to a personal reality that does fulfill the needs of the moment. So what the validation, validating caregiver would say in such a circumstances oh, what time did you always pick up your children? We don’t lie in pretend this is not an acting class. And the woman might say, Oh, 330, they get out, and I always am there. And then I might say, always, my goodness, what a great mom, you were, was there ever a time when you couldn’t when something happened? And then the old lady might say, well, there was this one time, I got held up by so much traffic, and I was late, and the kids were panicked. And I just, oh, it was a horrible thing. And then I can just be with her in that memory of that moment and say, What a scary thing. And then she can let it go, she can express it. This is another important validation principle, that painful emotions, when they are expressed to somebody who’s really listening. Those feelings will lessen. But emotions that are pressed under and not expressed, will get bigger. And that’s basic young, actually.
Michael Hingson ** 16:17
Yeah, what’s what’s really going on is she’s got a or whoever has a memory. And the memory is I always pick up the children at 330. And she doesn’t know how to deal with the fact that she can’t do that anymore. And that, and probably, as you said, on some level for most people, they know the kids are grown, they know that they can’t pick them up. But that’s still where she is. And that’s what I hear you saying is that you have to approach them where they are, and help them deal with that memory and move to the point of saying, yeah, it is a memory. And they may never, they may never told knowledge,
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 17:03
and that’s okay, our goal is not to change them. But to accept them the way they are. Yeah. It’s a basic human need. Identity is a basic human need. Everyone has, no matter whether you’re oriented or disoriented, or, or have seen impairment or a mobility impairment, everybody’s needs to be accepted the way they are.
Michael Hingson ** 17:36
Right, just we just don’t do that. We are so far away from accepting people where they are. And the problem is, we view people in ways like, oh, this person is impaired, they don’t see so they’re impaired or they don’t hear or whatever. And impaired is such a horrible concept. Because the reality is, people who see have their own impairment and their biggest impairment is they’re locked into seeing. And when something happens where that eyesight doesn’t work for them, they don’t know what to do with it. And I mentioned that because we invented the electric light bulb, which really takes away most of the challenges of not being able to see, but we don’t collectively as a society recognize that that disability still exists. And we haven’t progressed to the point of recognizing that disability doesn’t really mean lack of ability at all. And we oftentimes, it seems to me try to get people pigeon holed into one of these things where in one way or another, they’re not as good as we are. And it’s hard to get people out of that.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 18:52
My mom says when, when cognition goes, intuition grows. And what you were just talking about reminded me of that statement, when we’re so busy thinking and remembering and and using our brain in that way, we often lose sight of intuition. And our gut. Yeah, whereas people who have lost some cognitive ability it’s easier for them to flow with into something that can often be poetic. Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 19:53
people are are beautiful creatures and every single person is a beautiful creature. And as I tell Many people, when we talk about coming on the podcast, everyone has a story to tell. And it’s important that we hear more of these stories. Several years ago, I was approached by some people at the 911 Memorial Institute in it well Museum, because they’re collecting oral histories of the events surrounding September 11, from the standpoint of people who were there. And we, I was in in New York, actually in 2020. And we did an interview and actually ended up only being the first half of the interview. And the second half we just did yesterday. And it just made me realize all the more the importance of everyone telling their own stories, and us being open enough to hear those because it, it shows so much that we all can learn from listening to each other. And we just don’t do nearly enough of that.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 21:01
So I’m listening extremely carefully right now. And if you don’t mind, a little using, that is a segue. listening and observing, are two of the most important. I don’t want to call it a technique, but it’s certainly a prerequisite to validating you we have to really take in the other person with everything we have, so that we can respond to not just the words, but what’s underneath the words.
Michael Hingson ** 21:47
How do we teach people how to do that?
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 21:51
Ah, I spend a lot of time doing that actually. I start by saying, the first thing you need to do is to learn to center yourself, clear away your thoughts and feelings, create an open space within yourself, so that you can take in another person. And that’s often the hardest part. Just people getting people to stop and breathe. Then there’s the observing and listening to the other to the person you want to validate. And what do you see? And how do you feel? What What can you feel when you take in that other person. And then there’s calibrating where you adjust yourself to match the other person. And that’s a process of moving into empathy. I guess what we’re talking about is how do you break down and teach people how to have empathy. And by empathy and validation, we mean, we go to the feelings of the other person, we don’t judge it, we don’t pretend or act it. We, for that moment, share the emotion that the other person is feeling. Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 23:42
and what I hear you saying on one level is you have to drop your own prejudices, you have to start really taking a major step back. And as you said, looking at people where they are, and really turning yourself into a sponge or an open book, and start at the beginning with each person that you interact with.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 24:09
The hardest validation I’ve ever had to do. I was working in an Austrian nursing home and there was an ex Nazi. And I come from a German Jewish family. So that was a kind of a loaded situation. And I was thinking, how am I ever going to have empathy with this Nazi because he was very open about it and still, you know, it’s a shame that Hitler’s gone. And when I went in there, I too did a lot of centering exercise. I did a lot of observation and Then I moved in to find a space between us that was comfortable for him. You have to answer validate or remove your own need for closeness or distance, you have to find that that boundary of the other person’s space. And when I would shook his hand and said hello, he said something about his guys, his buddies, and I realized, haha, now I’ve got a connection point. Everybody wants to be part of a group, you don’t want to be isolated and pushed out. So we had a marvelous talk actually about how important it is to have buddies and friends and people you can count on. Because I feel bad as well. So it’s about finding those connections, those basic human needs that we all share. And then you can find the empathy with almost anybody. And that’s what we teach when we teach the validation method. And that’s just the first part then there are techniques, verbal techniques to use when the client expresses themselves verbally. And there are nonverbal techniques that you can use when the person has stopped communicating verbally. And we can still communicate with somebody, even when they’re not communicating verbally. When they’re pounding, for instance, or pacing, or just Num, num, num, num, num, num. You see that sometimes in memory care units. So we’ve got techniques where we can reach in, and we don’t expect them to start talking. We don’t expect people in wheelchairs to start walking. We just it’s about connection, and communicating on a very human emotional level. Anybody can learn it, anybody I’ve taught geriatricians doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, and just plain carers, family members can work with this method. home caregivers, really, even the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker can use elements of validation method just within the community.
Michael Hingson ** 28:07
You were, you’re talking about the the the individual who is a Nazi? Do people want to use the validation method to change someone? And I and I gather from what they’re saying is that that’s not what the purpose of it is. So I can just see people asking that question
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 28:27
you would never ever use, you can’t use the validation method to change somebody. Yeah, that’s not its purpose.
Michael Hingson ** 28:38
And that was my point. And I wanted to make sure that was really clear. It’s about establishing empathy. It’s about establishing Well, what some people might say is rapport. But it is all about empathy, to be able to have a discussion and it’s the validation method isn’t to change. It’s to relate and establish a joint comfort zone, at least in part,
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 29:05
to connect with another human being. So that there’s trust and to communicate on whatever level the other person wants to communicate whether verbally or non verbally at that moment.
Michael Hingson ** 29:29
So when let’s say you utilize the validation method to establish a connection and an lines of communications with someone who benefits
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 29:44
Well, both of us do, actually, the older adult benefits because they can express what’s on their heart or mind and feel accepted self worth goes up. Because I’m there not to judge, I’m just there to be with them wherever they’re at. And for me, it fills me with joy. You know, to connect with another human being, on a very deep level, for me brings joy. And I think for many hair partners, whether you’re a professional or not professional, that’s where you get your giggles is making those connections and feeling like I really, I really help somebody today.
Michael Hingson ** 30:43
And then you go back and you discover, ah, it helped me too,
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 30:48
Michael Hingson ** 30:51
And I think that’s an extremely important part of it. Because the whole issue of who benefits everybody benefits, if you’re able to communicate, we live in this world, word seems to be so hard to have conversations so hard to communicate, and establish connections. And when we really understand what establishing a good connection is, and we do it, that’s just great for everyone.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 31:17
Agreed. Agree. And I’ll also say when I’ll use the validation method, because that’s, you know, what we’re talking about when an entire institution, and whether you call it a nursing home, or a memory care community, whatever the word is, when most of your people are working with validation, at least at a basic level, the entire feeling of the place changes, suddenly, people are not rushing around. There’s not, there’s no screaming, there’s there’s just, it feels more like a home. It was it’s fun, I’ve had the pleasure of being in several communities where validation was truly integrated from top to bottom. And it’s totally different than when you walk into a different kind of organization. So administrators benefit, the receptionist behind the front desk benefits. And as well as all the staff and the residents. How,
Michael Hingson ** 32:49
how widely accepted is the whole concept of utilizing the validation method today.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 32:58
It’s really, up and down throughout the world. We have got training centers in 14 different countries. I would say, funny enough, in the United States, we are less well known than say in Germany, Austria, where it’s actually taught in nursing school. It’s part of what students get when they learn gerontology, I had certainly integrated into most training in France.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 33:41
But the US is a big, and there are a lot of competitive methods out there. So we have to slowly get more and more recognition. And I think that’s, that’s happening.
Michael Hingson ** 34:02
Is it also a situation where people tend to be more self centered, and they don’t want to look beyond their own prejudices a lot. And I asked that question, because I spoke with someone on the podcast several weeks ago. And we were talking about how disabilities are handled around the country around the world. And one of the things that he said was that in many places, it’s pretty overt or, yeah, absolutely overt and front up upfront about how people feel about people with disabilities. And in the United States. We pay lip service to what’s supposed to be the right thing, but when it really comes down to it, we still in very subtle ways, haven’t changed. And so I wonder if this is another one of those kinds of incidents. is where we’re dealing with a lot of self centeredness. And people don’t want to allow their barriers, much less working with others and helping those to get their barriers to be broken down, to get back to really conversing and communicating.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 35:20
Well, I had about a million thoughts as you’re talking. So I’m not quite sure which one to start with.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 35:33
I, you know, I live in the Netherlands. I happen to be disabled, and mobility wise, I walk with crutches. So I can speak to this issue from that perspective. And I have to tell you, the United States in general, is way ahead than most countries in Europe when it comes to disability access, at least for mobility issues at, I think, also a sight and hearing. And that’s because you have an incredible lobby, that has been pushing through laws and making it required. And we don’t have that here in the Netherlands. So I have to say, it’s, it’s harder here. Yet, um, may I continue when I’m, on the other hand, when I’m in the United States, it may be easy access onto buses, and trams and all that stuff. But people have a tendency to be overly patronizing,
Michael Hingson ** 36:59
solicitous, and so on. Yeah. Yeah.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 37:01
I know. They mean, well, but it just feels overly Oh, please don’t stand Oh, and you shouldn’t climb the stairs. Oh, you shouldn’t? Oh, take care. And here in the Netherlands, they don’t even notice. They’ll trip over my crutch in before they actually see it. So is that better? Is that? Yeah, I don’t know.
Michael Hingson ** 37:28
Yeah. It’s hard to make a qualitative decision about that. But I hear what you’re saying. Yeah. I, luckily, ironically, here in the US, for example, it took, well, some people who happen to be blind wanting to take the LSAT to to become lawyers. And there were challenges because the organizations they were working with and the Bar Association, wouldn’t let them use their assistive technologies to be able to read the tests and so on. And it took going to the Supreme Court, to get the Bar Association to be compelled to adhere to equal access really means equal access, not the way you define it, but you eat, you need to let people use what they’re familiar with to be able to function and take the LSAT. And that was one of the things that flashed through my mind, which is why I asked the question what you were going to say,
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 38:32
Hmm, I think in the case of people who have cognitive issues, it’s very easy for the rest of the world to put them down. Put them off to the side. I mean, when you think of nursing homes, in the old days, they were always outside of the cities, somewhere in the countryside where nobody had to see them. And people were patronized like crazy people were, well, they were treated really badly and in often locked up. Most memory care units are locked units. And that’s just a prison. And the thinking behind that is oh, they don’t know what’s good for them. And that’s very painful. i In some places, a nursing home it feels and looks and smells like a prison. And that’s just not a way one should treat older adults. It’s, it’s brutal. But that’s changing. And I must say I have to give honor to my mom, because she was the one who fought for decades against this medicalization of aging, against trying to change them. I mean, she is the one, she’s the godmother of person centered care. And when people really get it and do that, you can’t lock the front door, you have to find other ways to provide safety, or to really discuss what how important is safety? Or self determination? Because it’s usually those two things that are being weighed. Do you know what I mean by do?
Michael Hingson ** 40:54
I understand what you’re saying. And I appreciate it, it goes back to all too often we think we’re better than or we think we have the answers. And we don’t know, we’ve we’ve never really taken the time to learn, we’re sticking to our prejudices and our old ways of thinking. And so the result is that we think we know what we don’t know.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 41:24
Well, and maybe we do know, in some cases, you know, if an old lady leaves the facility and crosses the street and doesn’t look, she can get hit by a bus. We know that that’s but locking her up, takes away her self determination. So what’s more important for life? Or to be able to make choices? Health versus set self worth and identity and and agency in your own life? And I don’t have an answer for that. I think, you know, every child should have that discussion with their parent as the parent gets older. And to say, all right, oh, how do you want to deal with I am worried about your health, or I am worried that you’re gonna fall or you know, I don’t think you should be driving be and I am frightened, there’s going to be an accident.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 42:54
And to have discussions about that, not just tell the kids. That’s the key, isn’t it? So to speak. Yeah. Yeah. Worse,
Michael Hingson ** 43:11
what are some things that you could teach, or examples you could give for people who are listening to this now, of techniques that they can bring into their own lives and what they do?
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 43:26
Well, I’ll give you the most important one of all and that is centering. So if you would put your feet on the ground and sit in a somewhat relaxed position and take in a breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. And as you breathe in through your nose, feel where the breath expands in your torso, follow that breath
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 44:16
and as you breathe, clear away your thoughts and feelings and just be with the breath.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 44:35
Take two or three extra breaths
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 44:45
and start to listen to the sounds surround you. You can move your shoulders. If you had your eyes closed, you can come back and open your eyes So that is a very short exercise, one of a dozen that we can use to find our center and get open. And I think that’s the most important. Sometimes it’s just taking the breath. If the listener already has a mindfulness practice or a meditative practice, great, the US that if you do Tai Chi, or one of the martial arts, I’m sure you’re familiar with taking that breath and clearing it out. Because you have to be in that ready position. And when you go into communication, with an older adult, you have to be in the ready position, not to fight. But to connect. And the second technique that I’ll give you is super simple. And that is Ask, Don’t Tell. We try to when the other person is verbal, meaning they they can communicate with words, it’s a great idea to ask open questions. Who, what, where, when, and how, and really try to avoid why. Because when somebody has cognitive decline, the Y can be too difficult. And it’s not the important thing. Actually, the Y is often our curiosity at play. Well, why did you do that? Why did he do that?
Michael Hingson ** 47:07
That person may not even know. Right? Right, can or can’t verbalize it.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 47:14
Right? Or it’s just not important. The why is not important to that person. But you know what happened? And when? Or how many or? Those are great questions to ask. So those are two techniques. And don’t do the second without first doing the first, make sure that you center first. And then.
Michael Hingson ** 47:44
And I would also submit that, well, both of those techniques, but especially the second, because the first is something that we should do. But the second also, there’s something that we can do within ourselves. I have been a great advocate for a long time, about taking time at the end of the day to look at our own life experiences that day. What worked, what didn’t work? Why didn’t it work? And what worked? Might there be ways that we could make it better. And something that I, I talk about, and I didn’t used to do, I used to use the term when I talk about doing speeches, and I will always record them and then go back and listen to them. And I’ve said I’m my own worst critic. And I’ve learned that’s a horrible thing to say. Because it is such a negative concept as opposed to saying, I’m my own best teacher. And by listening, I can teach myself what to do better, but keep it in a positive sense. But again, at the end of the day, just look at everything and the things that didn’t go well. Okay. What do I do so that that doesn’t happen again, and teach myself something positive? It is something that we just don’t do we always say we don’t have time. I’m too busy. I can’t do that we Yeah, you can. If it’s gonna make you 150% Better why wouldn’t you want to do that?
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 49:16
Yeah. One of the things I’m working on these days is integrating meditation into every day. And I’m not talking about deep our long sitting cross legged on the ground because a I cannot get onto the ground and be I don’t have the time or the concentration to be honest to to do it for more than say 15 minutes. But I am now giving myself the the A breath to sit somewhere in the middle of the day when I feel it’s time for a transition. And sometimes it’s one minute, sometimes it’s three minutes, sometimes it’s 15 minutes, just to get quiet. And it feels like a gift. Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 50:27
it is so worth doing. And I am sure you would agree you benefit so much from doing that.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 50:36
Yeah, yes, yes, I do. And for me, it’s helpful when I feel scattered in my head, and I’ve got too much to do and this and that new Yeah. Okay. All right. Drop it down to lightspeed. Because when I am feeling scattered in my head, I waste time. I, when you can’t focus, you can’t work as efficiently or effectively. So if I can find that concentration again, then I work so much better. I cross everything off my list. And that feels
Michael Hingson ** 51:22
excellent. It goes back to recentering. Hmm, that’s right. So in addition to learning to be a little bit more meditative, or learning to center yourself during the day, what other kinds of things are you working on now?
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 51:39
Well, the most exciting thing, at least for me, is I’m developing an online course, if validation for physicians. And I am, I wrote it with two physicians, their input was critical, because I can write something gorgeous, that I think is great. But if the physicians are not going to take it, or be interested, then I’ve done it for nothing. So they were very integral in helping me shape the curriculum. And I have a curriculum pedagogic expert who helped me refine it. And now I’m working on putting it together. And I’m hoping that will be done and ready for beta testing in the summer. Wonderful fun. So that’s the creative work, I really love. Working going to hopefully speed starting to what when I say worker course that is our first level of certification. And it takes about nine months for somebody to become certified in the validation method. So it’s a long process, but we I think we’re going to be starting two courses, possibly a third towards the end of this year, and that’s quite exciting.
Michael Hingson ** 53:15
Have you developed any other courses for people who want to learn the validation method?
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 53:21
Absolutely. Well, we started with the certification courses. Level one is the worker that teaches you how to competently validate individual individuals, then level two is about validation group work. That is validating people, the four to eight disoriented people using group techniques, law, level three is presenter. And that’s where you start learning how to present validation to others, whether it’s a workshop or if you want to become a validation teacher, that’s the next step. And to become a teacher, you need to co teach a level one course. And once you become a teacher, if you have done all the courses and worked in validation for five years, you can apply for Level Five certification. So it’s all these people are extremely experienced and have integrated it into their bones. We have tons of other trainings, because not everybody wants these long, complicated certification courses. So we’ve got very simple online courses that look at an overview validation, that’s good for pretty much anybody. We’ve got skill building blocks, which is super, for anybody who’s working hands on with people who have different forms of dementia, we’ve got a special course for activity professionals, family caregivers, because family members are special, they, it’s really harder to validate your mom or your dad, or your husband or your wife, or your sister. Because there’s it’s a complicated relationship. So we developed a whole training for families. And we have a family, we’ve got a special course for first responders, police, fire paramedic, with publication to go with it a workbook
Michael Hingson ** 56:04
full of people want to learn more about you or about any of this and explore taking courses and so on, how do they do that?
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 56:13
Go to our website, hopefully, it’s very clear. It’s V F validation.org. O R G. And I’m sure Michael, you’ll put it down. We somewhere where people can just click the button. And we’ve really made an effort to provide training at the level that people want it. Because just like in validation, where we go to the needs of the older adult. One of my guiding principles in this company has been, we need to serve the needs of our audience of our community. And that is everybody in the world, anybody who has aging parents, or grandparents, or meets older people in the community, or works with them in any professional way. Well, validation can be helpful
Michael Hingson ** 57:25
when you and I met in an interesting way. And that is we were introduced by a colleague, Sheldon Lewis and accessiBe because he said that you were interested in accessibility and websites and so on. And we’re glad of that. And that led to this, that we had a chance to really come on and spend an hour talking with you. And I hope that people will reach out, and that we’re able to help enhance what you’re doing. By giving you this opportunity to talk about validation and helping us to gain I hope a little bit better understanding of things that we can do.
Vicki de Klerk Rubin ** 58:02
Well, thank you so much for guiding this interview in such a comfortable way.
Michael Hingson ** 58:08
Well, we try. Needless to say, but I would again, encourage everyone encourage you who are listening, please reach out and learn about what Vicki is doing. And learn about this method because we will all find it useful to do. I also want to hear from you. I’d love to know what you think about our episode today. Please feel free to email me Michaelhi at accessiBe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to our podcast page www dot Michael Hingson H i n g s o n.com/podcast. And we are also putting this up on YouTube. And we’re doing our best to make sure as many people know about it as possible. So you can help by giving us a five star rating wherever you’re listening or watching this. Especially if you’re on Apple and iTunes, please give us a five star rating to help people realize how valuable this is and that you like what we’re doing. So again, thank you for doing that in advance. I hope to hear from you and Vicki, I want to thank you one more time for being with us today. And helping to show people that in reality there are things that we can learn to do to help make us more unstoppable than we ever thought we weren’t. Thank you.
**Michael Hingson ** 59:33
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.