“The Person Comes First”

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023 from 12-4pm EST


When Naomi Feil developed the Validation method, she put the older adult in the middle. She said, “We need to cross the street and meet them where they are now.” As care partners, we need to step into their shoes and find empathy. Through empathy, we find connection and communication. That was in the early 1980s and those concepts have become the backbone of ‘person-centered care’ today. This conference will explore the various ways Feil’s concepts have inspired others to develop new ways of connecting and communicating with older adults living with cognitive change. This event will help care partners in every setting create a tool chest filled with ways of preventing withdrawal and develop strategies to also care for themselves to prevent burn-out.


  • Participants will explore what it means to ‘live life fully’ in very old age – with and without cognitive change.
  • Participants will experience 2 exercises that they can use in the future to practice good self-care.
  • Participants will learn about methods that enhance connection and communication with older adults living with cognitive change, that are based in person-centered care.


Supporting Older Adults Living with Cognitive Change to “Live Life to the Full”

This session will focus on what it means to ‘live life to the full’ even when living with cognitive change. Sometimes feeling sad or angry is important. Sometimes expressing those feelings to caregivers relieves emotional pressure. Sometimes releasing traumas experienced in the past leads to peace. How can we support this fulfilling of the older person’s current needs?


  • Participants will gain insight into what is possible for people living with cognitive change.
  • Participants will be able to explain why emotional and behavioral expressions are part of ‘living life to the full.’
  • Participants will be able to outline how to reevaluate the role of the caregiver.

Naomi Feil

Founder of the Validation method

Myra Garcia

Alzheimer’s Association National Early-Stage Advisor

Moderator: Vicki de Klerk Rubin

Executive Director
Validation Training Institute
BREAK: 1-1:30 PM EST
SESSION 2: 1:30-2:30 PM EST

Caregivers - Care for Yourselves

Caring for others can sometimes be draining. To be able to be with others in a compassionate way, caregivers need to replenish their own resources and to be able to care for themselves. This workshop will focus on what (self-)compassion is; ways of developing yourself compassion skills; and will give the participants the opportunity to experience self-compassion in two exercises. Caregivers shouldn’t only give care to others, they should receive it as well, or give it to themselves.


  • Participants will gain an understanding of what self-compassion is.
  • Participants will learn some tools to help them start to give themselves self-compassion.
  • Participants will participate in two exercises that expand their repertoire of coping methods.

Hende Bauer

Mindfulness Trainer and Psychologist, Centrum voor Mindfulness, Compassie en Psychotherapie in the Netherlands

Moderator: Penny Cook

Chief Culture Officer, Center for Innovation
BREAK: 2:30-3:00PM EST

Charles de Vilmorin

CEO and Co-Founder, Linked Senior

SESSION 3: 3:00-4:00PM EST

Person-Centered Care Methods Rooted in Empathy

Person-centered care, rooted in empathy, enables care partners and care providers to understand the unique needs of individuals experiencing changes in cognitive ability. This session explores ways to create a validating atmosphere that promotes well-being.


  • Participants will discover how engagement in meaningful activities through the Montessori approach applies to the person-centered care model to make residents’ lives more meaningful.
  • Participants will learn about the seven domains of well-being and transformational approaches to care.
  • Participants will learn ways to reduce the use of antipsychotics by understanding some root causes of distress and how to create an environment of well-being.

Dr. Al Power

 Schlegel Chair in Aging and Dementia Innovation, Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

Dr. Cameron Camp

Director of Research and Development, Center for Applied Research in Dementia

Moderator: Rita Altman, R.N.

Sr. Advisor, Memory Care and Program Services, Sunrise Senior Living
4:00-4:45 PM EST

Post Conference Mixer/Happy Hour

Bryan Rife

Director of Quality Assurance, NCCAP


Media Partner: