Validation at the Bus Stop

An example of Validation practiced by President Steve Jones while serving as Administrator in Chillicothe:
Miss T. suffered from advanced Parkinson’s Disease and seemed confused at times. She was sitting in a wheelchair at the nurses station on a hot summer day when I walked by. She reached out, tugged on my suit coat and demanded, “Take me outside.”

If The Baptist Home practiced Reality Therapy, I would have scolded her by telling her she was safe, that it was hot outside, and reminded her she was at The Baptist Home. Likely she would have become more depressed, confused and agitated. Eventually this would have required more medication to keep her comfortable.

Instead, I wheeled her through the doors and asked her where she wanted to go. “To catch the bus!” she said without hesitation and pointed to an area near the circle drive. Upon arrival, I backed her wheelchair up to the curb and sat down beside her.

“Miss T, where are you going on the bus?”
“I am going to St. Louis.”
“What are you going to do in St. Louis?”
“School is about ready to start, and every year at this time I travel to St. Louis to buy school supplies and clothes for my nieces and nephews.”

Miss T. explained, in addition to school supplies she would buy each child a special gift which she would wrap on the ride home. She relived the joy of giving the items to her sister’s family, her face growing animated as she became more relaxed with each memory.

“Miss T, I bet you loved your sister’s family and enjoyed bringing happiness into their lives.”
“Yep, those were the good ‘ole days.” She paused, and after a moment of silence said, “I don’t think the bus is coming.”
“No, I don’t think it is, either.”
“You better take me back inside…it’s getting hot out here.”

And so, at her request, I returned her inside near the nurses’ station where she could enjoy the view of the outdoors. Only this time she smiled, recalling her memories of the “good ‘ole days.”

2017-10-03T22:52:43+00:00