Connecting Heart to Heart
with People Living with Cognitive Change

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024 from 12-4pm EST


Naomi Feil, the founder of the Validation method, taught us to cross the street and accompany older adults instead of leading them, to use empathy to enter into their worlds rather than use reality orientation, to give them a safe place to express their needs and feelings rather than divert them.

For our 3rd World Congress, Validation Training Institute has once again teamed with Linked Senior to offer all people in the field of aging new perspectives, insight and practical ways to connect heart to heart with people living with cognitive change. The National Council of Dementia Minds also joins us, bringing the voices of persons living with dementia to the table. We’ll explore what PLD want from care-partners, what care-partners want or need and how we can transcend society’s ‘Tragedy narrative’ when it comes to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

What do people living with cognitive change want from care-partners?
Transcending the tragedy narrative from a societal perspective.
What do care-partners want/need when interacting with people living with dementia?

Participants who attend the live event can earn up to 3 CEU credits.


  • Participants will hear from people living with cognitive change and learn what they actually want from their care-partners.
  • Participants will gain insight into how society has turned ‘dementia’ into a tragedy and discover ways of shifting their perspective.
  • Participants will learn how to relieve difficult moments, de-escalate volatile situations and be able to express what their needs are in their interactions with PLD.
SESSION 1: 12-1:00PM EST

What do people living with cognitive change want from care partners?

The National Council of Dementia Minds will dive into the desires of individuals experiencing cognitive changes and their aspirations from their care partners. This unique narrative will be conveyed through the authentic voices and real-life experiences of those living with cognitive change. By sharing these personal stories, the presentation aims to shed light on the heartfelt perspectives and needs of these individuals, offering invaluable insights on communication, empathy, and purposeful living to better understand and support them in their journey.


  • Recognize the importance of care partner roles as revealed by firsthand experiences in the presentation.
  • Apply insights from lived experiences to enhance empathetic caregiving approaches for individuals with cognitive changes.
  • Understand the desires of individuals with cognitive changes through real-life stories,
Brenda Roberts


Steven Barbieri

Retired Former VP & District Manager at Wells Fargo Bank.
Currently living with CTE Dementia

Krissan Moss

Retired Registered Nurse, BSN. Biotech Industry Clinical Education Manager, Thought Leader Liaison, Clinical Specialist Territory Manager.
Currently living with Dementia with Lewy Bodies

Dona Denham

Retired Accountant.
Currently living with Lewy Body Dementia
BREAK: 1-1:30 PM EST

Charles de Vilmorin​

CEO and Co-Founder, Linked Senior

Vicki de Klerk-Rubin

Executive Director, Validation Training Institute

SESSION 2: 1:30-2:30PM EST

Living well by transcending the tragedy narrative

This discussion will explore how the tragedy narrative has been built into society over many years. Instead of focusing on losses, we need to focus more on strengths. All people are valuable, including those living with cognitive decline. There’s a wealth of wisdom to be gained.


  • Reach a more positive outlook regarding ‘dementia’.
  • Move from pity and frustration to understanding and empathy.
  • Gain insight into how society frames aging and dementia.

Rita Altman, R.N.

Moderator, Sr. Advisor, Memory Care and Program Services, Sunrise Senior Living

Michelle Memran

Documentary Filmmaker, Journalist, and Visual Artist

Larry Gardiner

Retired, Part Time Employee, University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht

Karin Eder

Head of Nursing Services, Häuser zum Leben, and Head Dementia Competence Team

BREAK: 2:30-3:00PM EST

Tribute to Naomi Feil (1932-2023)


What do care-partners want/need when interacting with people living with dementia?

This session will focus on the needs of the care-partner and finding new ways of connecting with PLD. Participants will be able to describe their challenges and these will be explored using role-plays by two Validation Teachers. Each improvised scene will be done first, using other methods and second, using Validation. These scenes will be broken down and explained by two experts in order to clearly show how and when participants can use Validation techniques in their interactions and also how the different approaches are seen by PLD.


  • Discover new ways of responding to situations they find difficult .
  • Gain insight into the power of empathy.
  • Recognize the differences between Validation and other methods.

Nancy Brown

Deputy Director of Communications, Validation Training Institute

Vicki de Klerk-Rubin​

Executive Director, Validation Training Institute

Rita Altman

Sr. Advisor, Memory Care and Program Services, Sunrise Senior Living

Dr. Joanna Fix

Former College Professor with a PhD in Psychology, living with young onset Alzheimer’s
4:00-4:45 PM EST

Post Conference Mixer/Happy Hour

Bryan Rife

Director of Quality Assurance, NCCAP


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