Naomi Feil, born in Munich in 1932, grew up in the Montefiore Home for the Aged in Cleveland, Ohio where her father was administrator and her mother was head of Social Services. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University, Naomi began working with the elderly. Between 1963 and 1980, Mrs. Feil developed Validation as a response to her dissatisfaction with traditional methods of working with severely disoriented elderly people.

Validation is a method of communicating with and helping disoriented old people. It is a practical way of communicating that helps reduce stress, enhance dignity and promote happiness. Validation is built on an empathetic approach and holistic view of individuals where you ‘step into their shoes’ and ‘see through their eyes’ to understand the meaning of their often bizarre behaviors. This method allows seniors the opportunity to express, both verbal and non-verbal, their feelings and needs, often having been suppressed for years.

Feil founded the Validation Training Institute (VTI) in 1983 and, as Executive Director of VTI, has traveled the world, including Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, France, Belgium, Italy, Great Britain, Austria, and most recently in China on behalf of Meridian Senior Living, to share her experience and Validation method with people from all walks of life. VTI, a U.S.-based, not-for-profit organization with a professional Board of Directors, has progressively developed certification levels, training programs, and formed a network of national and regional Validation organizations to disseminate information, train interested individuals, and maintain ‘the spirit of Validation.’