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Long Term Care Newsletter
by Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care
"exceeding customer's expectations"

How do you really know if you are in compliance?  Every director needs this tool....Population and Calendar Analysis Tools

Activity Department Survey Compliance Tools
The Comprehensive Activity Department Audit Tool provides the Director or consultant a valuable tool to identify area's within the Activity Department that are not compliant. The Comprehensive tool includes, Audit Tool (24 pages), Explanations and Objectives Form.

Social Service for LTC Manual

Volunteer Policy and Procedure Manual

culture changeCare Plans for Culture Change™ Interdisciplinary and Resident-Directed


Resident Rights Prints

Sensory Enrichment Activity Calendar

Dementia Activity Calendar

Best Friends Book of Activities

Psychosocial Care Planning Almanac

Dementia Care Plan Dictionary

Staff Inservices

Innovations in Activities for the Elderly

Spiritual Care for Persons with Dementia

Therapeutic Interventions for the Person With Dementia

Giant Photo Crossword Puzzle Book



Word Search for Seniors



Memory Triggers: Remembering the 1940’s



Alzheimer's Disease DVD



The Care Planning Cookbook for Activities and Recreation

Nutritional Concerns and Recommendations for Alzheimer's and Dementia : A guide for long term care and Dementia Units

Creating Moments of Joy Book is an excellent tool to use for your communication in-service and provides excellent examples of what to say for repeated questions by your dementia clients. It shows how to enter their reality and live their truth and avoid catastrophic reactions when you try to use reality orientation vs. living their truth.

Wake Up which is an excellent sensory book for your low functioning clients.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge - Every Activity Director will want this book as part of their intergenerational programs! This is perhaps the most moving book you will ever read!

Activity Planning Work book for Dementia provides excellent activities for dementia.

Moth Balls in My Attic
Therapeutic Recreation professionals, Activity Planners, staff and volunteers use the book to stimulate memory recollection and life review.

Dietary Care Plans for Dementia Clients

Memory Lane DVD
Memory Lane’s family of products, from the creators of Baby Einstein® (now part of The Walt Disney Company) can transform caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s into a positive, uplifting experience on many levels

Grandfather's Memories To His Grandchild
Grandfather's Memories to His Grandchild is a beautiful record book that will be treasured for generations.

Validation Therapy Video -
Communicating with the Alzheimer's-type Population: The Validation® Method.

This practical documentary offers caregivers methods for communicating with disoriented very old people (probable Alzheimer's or related disorders).

Creating Successful Dementia Care Settings
Excellent set for long term care, assisted living, adult day care and home settings. Great practical advise.

Songs of Faith Compact disc

Remembering the 1940’s

Aerobics of the Mind

Social Services Survey-Made-Easy

See our site for F248 & 249 New Interpretive Guidelines

Resident Council Bingo

We get many calls on how to find Resident Council Bingo games. Please see our web site under Resident Council in-services for links to purchase the Bingo game.

Residents Rights Bingo Game
Created by Virginia Fraser

Alzheimer's Care Guide

20% off for CDP members for their subscription to Alzheimer’s Care Guide!
20% off for CDP members for subscription to Alzheimer’s Care Guide!

Are you certified as a Certified Dementia Practitioner? 

See seminars and schedules at www.nccdp.org The CDP certification is open to all Health Care Professionals including Activity Professionals, Social Workers, Nursing, CNA's, PT, OT, Speech, Pharmacist, Medical Directors, Administrators, Dementia Unit Managers, etc.

Free CEUs:

Did you know you can get free CEUs online through NCCDP and Alzheimer’s Care Guide Magazine? Click here.

CMS also has many CEUs.
See current programs as well as archived programs. You will need the ability to listen to the programs on your computer. Once you have completed the program, you will be able to print out your certificate right on your home or office computer.

Also go to www.care4elders.com for free Alzheimer’s care CEU.

NCCDP Alzheimer's and Dementia Staff Education Week

February 14th to the 21st. FREE DOWNLOADS Begins November 1
Tool Kit. The tool kit includes Power Point In-services including activity specific topics.This is available for free until March 1st 2010. See www.nccdp.org and click on yellow box.
Sign up for the newsletter at www.nccdp.org to be notified of upcoming 1 hour and 3 hour Webinar education series.

Attention Activity Associations and TR Associations

If you are interested in bringing new and innovative topics to your next meeting, please contact us for topics. Current topics of interest are

Developing Self Esteem Programs
Population and Calendar Analysis as a Q/A
Dementia Programs
Spirituality and Dementia Programs    


Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care
103 Valley View Trail
Sparta, N.J. 07871

URL: www.activitytherapy.com

Email: activitytherapy@aol.com


Thousands of party goods! See our full line of party accessories and novelties including lightropes & glow products, hats, maracas, decorating kits, paper goods, gifts and much more!
Click here for more details

Ocean luxury rental

Vacation Rental Ocean City MD
Gorgeous Town House Ocean Block
Sleeps 8
10% off for Activity Professionals !!!!
contact Sandra Stimson at activitytherapy@aol.com

Click here!

Special Link

National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners

NCCDP Lapel Pin
show your pride in being a certified Dementia Practitioner!
only $18.00



Sandra Stimson ADC CALA CDP CDCM
Executive Director

Lisa Reidinger CTRS LNHA CSW CDP
Executive Director

Winter 2009 Newsletter

www.activitytherapy.makesparties.com - 10% corporate discount
973 729 6601 Office 973 729 1560 Fax

"A meaningful activity enables the person with dementia to feel needed and useful by having a positive impact on other people's lives. The difference between a meaningful and meaningless activity can be very subtle and lies not in what we say or do but in how we engage the person."

From spark of life newsletter of Australia

In This Issue

Activity Directors Guidelines to Surviving the Holidays
 bullet Times They Are A Changing Activity Profession Tribute
 bullet Creating Together Journal
 bullet A Tribute to the Activity Profession Contest

Creating Together Journal

Creating Together Journal"Creating Together Journal is a fantastic publication that every Activity / Therapeutic Recreation Director working in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, Adult Day Care, CCRC's, Hospital's and Hospice settings should have. The magazine is seasonal and themed and can only be a huge benefit to the Activity Director when planning the monthly calendar.The magazine is well thought out, interesting and a real page turner. Creating Together Journal is filled with fresh ideas that are fantastic to utilize when working with the client diagnosed with dementia."

A Tribute to the Activity Profession Contest

Activity Professionals, volunteers, residents and long term care employees are asked to submit a poem or tribute about the Activity Profession to: Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care.  Deadline to SUBMIT is January 10th. All entries must be submitted via email to activitytherapy@aol.com  The winner will be notified by phone and email prior to January 21st.  This tribute is not about a specific person but rather about the Activity Department and Profession in general.  Please see the tributes submitted in past years to see past entries to inspire you or to view as examples. You are welcome to print past entries to place in your facility newsletter or bulletin boards.  The entries received this year will be judged and the winner will be named the Activity Profession Tribute winner. All entries will be posted on the web site. No entries will be returned. We do not correct spelling, so be sure to use spell check before submitting. The entry should be no longer than one page. We reserve the right to not post any entries that we deem not suitable for the web site. All entries must be an original tribute by the person making the entry. By submitting your entry you are giving permission to post on the Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care Web site and other publications. All entries must be original and by the author who is submitting the entry.

For more information go to www.activitytherapy.com/tributesubmit.htm.

Examples of past tributes can be found at http://activitytherapy.com/tribute2009.htm


Activity Professional Week - January 18 to 22, 2010

Give yourself the greatest gift of certification as a ADC or CTRS. For ADC please see the requirements for ADC or AAC at NCCAP. The ADC and AAC applications may be downloaded. You will need to find the MEPAP Class as part of the requirements to fulfill for certification. In NJ see www.activitytherapy.com for MEPAP class. Once on the NCCAP site, you can search for MEPAP instructors by state.

For CTRS, you will need a 4 college degree with a concentration in TR classes. Please see their web sites for information on college degree, internship requirements and test requirements. Please see NCTRC.

If you are a CTRS or ADC, AAC why not consider certification as a CDP (Certified Dementia Practitioner) at NCCDP ?

NAAP National Association for Activity Professionals http://www.thenaap.com/
NCCAP National Certification Council of Activity Professionals http://www.nccap.org/
ATRA American Therapeutic Recreation Association http://www.atra-online.com
NCTRC National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification http://www.nctrc.org/ctrsrenewal.htm

Make it a commitment to attend your state conference and your local activity meetings. See our site for locations of state activity associations and TR associations. Please call the listed contact and have your name and address added to the mailing list. You will than receive notification of upcoming meeting dates and times. 

Make the commitment to join the national associations. In many cases, the administrator will allow you to pay for this out of your budgets.  

Seek out activity and TR web sites. Look at their resources and links. When ever there is a free publication, be sure to sign up for these resources.  

Activity Directors Guidelines to Surviving the Holidays

Starting from November to January 1st, marks the busiest time of the year for the Activity Departments in Long Term Care. The list of things to get done seem to keep getting longer.  Why in the most joyous time of the year is it the most stressful for activity directors?

 Activity Directors are pulled in many directions during the holidays, from greeting drop in groups and individuals making donations, to arranging for events, office duties, running programs, staff call outs due to illness, etc. It is a crazy time of year.  Expectations are high and time demands increased. All add to stress. Stress can cause depression, low productivity, illness, disease, apathy and forgetfulness.
There is good stress and bad stress yet, all if it is still stress. The most common stressors during the holidays are finances, relationships, military commitments, health problems and physical demands (at work and home).  Add in to the mix unrealistic expectations either professionally for the holidays or personally. Sometimes the director wears many hats, mother, wife, Girl Scout leader, church volunteer, meals on wheels volunteer ,etc. At work, you may be in charge of other departments, from the dementia unit to committees. This can add to your stress.

Often times, the directors are depleted emotionally and unable to enjoy holidays with their families. We know the stress is coming. Why not plan and anticipate it. Don’t allow stress to overwhelm you or sneak up on you.  Make a list now of things that will stress you, money, responsibilities, management duties, survey during the holidays,  etc.
There are those who seem to handle stress very well. This type of individual has the following traits;

  • ‘They see life as a challenge, not as a threat or an unending series of hassles. Remember, every problem is an opportunity in disguise
  • They are committed to what they are doing. Having a mission or purpose in life - an overriding belief that what you are doing is right and meaningful - gives you tremendous staying power.
  • They have a sense of being in control of their life. Feeling in control, capable of handling whatever problems arise, frees a person from the distractions and depletion of energy experienced by someone who feels like a "victim." Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching

Here are some strategies to ensure you enjoy the holidays and get past the stress.

  • You’re the manager. Do not show anyone that you are frazzled. Otherwise you might convey you are not an effective manager.
  • Take care of yourself first.  Just like the announcement on planes, put the oxygen mask on your face first!  If you are not handling the daily demands and are not learning new strategies to cope, you are not doing anyone especially yourself any good. At the end of the day, you are left feeling depleted and discouraged. We can change that around, by making small changes and modifying our approach to all the tasks that have to be completed. BREATHE!
  • Don’t skip lunch or breaks. You need time to relax and regroup.
  • Keep a “ to-do” list and each day make a list of everything that has to be done. Check off what has been completed.
  • Prioritize your list. Anything that is not extremely urgent and important can wait till after the holidays.
  • Use a message pad to write down messages. That way you are not looking for a phone number on small pieces of paper.
  • Keep your desks clear and neat. Get a box and put all those catalogues and magazines in the box and deal with it after the holidays. Figure out why you have piles, but for now put it out of sight.
  • Stay very organized. Begin a Red folder for December and Orange for November and place everything in that folder related to the events planned.
  • Keep an envelope in your purse / wallet to hold receipts.
  • Plan your November and December calendars as early as possible. Shoot for the 20th of each month. Don’t wait till the end of the month to complete the calendars.
  • Stay focused on what has to get accomplished each day. Try to complete one task before going on to another.
  • Return calls at a specific time. Usually late in the day is better. Have the receptionist hold your calls and take messages or send to your voice mail.
  • Don’t take on more than you can handle, learn to say no.
  • Expect to fall short of perfect.
  • Book holiday entertainment as early as you can.
  • Take the time to meet with your staff on a daily basis and keep them in the loop on holiday preparations.  See what duties your staff can take care of. Involve your staff in the holiday planning.
  • Try not to eat the holiday cookies and cakes. Eat healthy during the next two months.
  • Take time to go on an outside walk, even if only for 5 minutes. You will come back refreshed and energized.
  • Go to the local activity meetings in your area. Hearing that others are overwhelmed can help.
  • Make it known you need help. If you are a perfectionist maybe you have given the impression in the past that you can do everything? But at what costs? Let staff and department heads know when you need help. But give everyone sufficient notice. Start by discussing now what you will need help with. Keep your administrator informed and that you need his / her support. You might be planning a huge elegant dining holiday dinner which will need all the departments’ involvement.  Put everything in writing and keep meeting about it and discussing and reminding.
  •  Send thank you notes to everyone who helped you during the holidays.
  • See if your staff would like to participate in a gift exchange with a 10.00 limit.  Not everyone in your department can afford to participate.  Keep the gifts simple from you, such as gift certificates for coffee, donuts, movies, candle, etc. Or have a holiday baked item exchange which is very economical.  Everyone can bring in a dozen baked items. You can purchase tins at the dollar store. Everyone in your department can sample all the baked goods.


  • Look at large corporations who have employee volunteer programs who can assist with decorations and setting up and taking down the holiday trees.
  • Place volunteer forms with the receptionist that will capture the name of organizations and individuals who drop off donations and provide holiday entertainment. The forms should capture the company name, contact person, phone number, address, email address and what service or donation was provided. In January send a Thank you note. You might be surprised at the number of individuals or companies who might come back to volunteer on a regular basis. Use prepared Thank You Cards so the only thing required is to enter the address on the envelope.
  • Utilize volunteers for as many tasks as you can. Advertise now that you need volunteers to assist with the holiday preparations. Think of all the tasks you need to accomplish from invitations, wrapping gifts, shopping, visiting residents, etc. Often times, if a perspective volunteer sees a specific task they can do, they will call you.
  • For some residents, the holidays are the saddest time of year. They are missing loved ones, their home and past life. Volunteers can spend time with these residents and add to the quality of their life. Have a prepared list of residents to visit and have them document their visits on a form you have created.

Staff: How can you decrease the stress for your staff?

  • Put up the staff schedule two months in advance.  Have the staff review and initial.
  • Be aware of staff burn out. They may be having the same stress you are feelings and emotions due to relationships, finances and work / home responsibilities. As their supervisor it is your responsibility to address that and if necessary get your HR department involved. Sometimes, just giving them time to vent, will help in the situation.  Encourage your staff to take their breaks and include short walks during their breaks as a stress reliever.  Be aware of signs of burnout. Involve your HR department if  you are aware of burnout.
  • Be sure to have the supplies they need and in working order.
  • Keep them aware of all issues that they are involved in on a daily basis and you will have an informed staff.
  • Don’t add to the stress. Do they need to know everything that is going on in the facility?
  • Print out articles on stress and share the strategies with your staff.
  • Keep the office neat and organized so that the office is a place to relax, regroup and calm down. If it is a shared office space, make it mandatory that desks are neat and supplies are put away daily by the staff. 
  • There is always that one person in your department you can count on, don’t keep overloading that person. Learn to delegate to others, encourage them to rise to the occasion, expect more from the other members of your team.
  • Play soft music.
  • Offer refreshments in the office, such as juice and coffee.
  • Compliment them often, acknowledge personal accomplishments and say Thank you frequently.

Don’t lose sight of why you took this job and the gratification you receive. You took this position for many reasons, career advancement, financial gains, a calling, emotional fulfillment or maybe all of the above.  

You are doing this job for the residents and they appreciate all that you do and see how hard you and your staff work.

  • Home strategies to survive the holidays.  Holidays are important to your family and they don’t really understand that you put up 14 trees and now you have to put up your own family tree.  Look at what you have planned for at home.
  • What are your expectations for the holidays? Do you really need a 10 course holiday dinner? Can some of your guests make a dish? Can some of your guests arrive early and help with the setting of the table? Do you have to foot the bill for the entire holiday dinner? Can you cook ahead and freeze part of it?
  • Limit the alcohol you provide to your guests or don’t have any at all if this has contributed to yet another disastrous holiday meal.
  • Don’t get sucked into a guilt trip. If the holiday dinner is just too much stress, suggest meeting at a restaurant. If you prefer to stay in your own home for Christmas, suggest getting together Christmas Eve. You have your own family now and if driving to the in-laws is just too stressful, suggest another day. Begin new traditions.
  • Give all family something to do, they want to feel useful. Don’t do it all yourself. When they offer to help, say “Yes.”
  • Have a backup plan. Have games and videos that your group may enjoy.
  • This year’s disaster may be next year’s funny story. Like using salt instead of sugar! It happens. Or you might have forgotten to turn the oven on for that huge turkey that needs 6 hours and oh yeah, you forgot to defrost it. .
  • In your home, put your decorations up for the holidays in advance. Otherwise, you may be too tired or emotionally disconnected to enjoy what you and your family love.
  • Can gifts be eliminated all together and just have a holiday dinner? Or can you set a limit such as 15 dollars per person and do a gift exchange and everyone pull one name instead of buying for 50 family members. Times are tough right now with the economy and job security out the window and our loved ones serving in the military.  
  • Does every package need to be gift wrapped? If yes, than let the stores who offer the service wrap your presents. Try using holiday gift bags? Does everything have to be perfect?
  • Can you use online services to order gifts from and gift cards make great gifts especially for teen agers.
  • Anticipate strategies now to deal with difficult family members. Decide now that you will not get sucked into yet another family argument. Try to change the topic if politics come up. This can only lead to disaster.
  • Decide to not answer a rude comment with one of your own. Some people, that’s all they know is how to insult and hurt others. You don’t have to be like that! Don’t get sucked in.
  • Say you’re sorry and mean it. The stress of hanging on to guilt, is well, stressful and in the end, only hurts you. You may not control someone else’s comments but you can control your reaction.
  • Try not to worry about things out of your control. Only deal with the task at hand.
  • Stay positive. If you feel yourself becoming negative, focus on the positive.
  • Adjust your attitude. You decide if you want to get upset, how upset and how long you will hang on to it. It s not about conflict and strife but about togetherness, love and peace.
  • Be kind to others. If you say something nice first, perhaps that will follow with a nice come back or comment as well.
  • Try to stick to your routines and keep the holidays in perspective.
  • Have an honest talk with your children about what you can afford. Ask them each for one thing they want, not a list. Keep lines of communication open. They feel stress to.
  • Plan your budget for the holidays and stick with it. Shop at discount stores and look for bargains. Shop in the very early morning, less people and the parking is available.
  • Be aware of your behavior and your body. These are signs of stress, stomach aches, tired or sluggish, headaches, irritable, mean, grumpy, and short tempered. Might mean you are over stressed. Generally symptoms of not getting enough restful sleep and can cause you to have difficulty concentrating. Rest as often as you can.  
  • Laugh often. If things have gotten way to stressful and serious, look for humor outlets. YouTube has fantastic opportunities to laugh. Watch the videos on Children laughing or dancing. Put into the search engines, funny Santa’s and see all the great pictures and comics.
  • Learn deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Purchase a mediation tape.
  • Massages are great as well as manicures and pedicures. All are very soothing and relaxing. Treat yourself. Don’t you deserve it?
  • In the car, don’t play the news. Put on relaxing music.
  • Get fresh air. Practice Yoga and deep breathing
  • Cut back on caffeine. Replace with water. Stay hydrated.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep. Turn off the TV and read a book in bed.
  • Take vitamins.
  • Play uplifting music that makes you feel good. And in the car crank it up, if this helps.
  • Eat nutritionally during the holidays. Resist temptation for all the deserts. Think about how you feel after the holidays. You don’t have to partake and eat everything that is offered. Stick to your diet. It’s ok to have a small portion but do you need second? Fats and sweets actually make you feel tired.
  • Take time for reflection. Slow down or you will miss the moments
  • If you have lost a loved one, join a support group and keep going through the holidays. The support groups bring great comfort from others who are going through the same thing. Or begin your own support group which is a rich and rewarding experience for the group facilitator.
  • Take a vacation week after January 1st! You deserve it.
  • Learn about emotional intelligence.
  • “Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to accurately identify and understand one’s own emotional reactions and those of others, and to regulate one’s emotions and to use them to make good decisions and act effectively”  Learning Matters.com
  • If you are alone for the holidays, volunteer in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. You will feel good and won’t be alone. The next time someone offers you an invitation, accept it. You choose how you want to spend the holidays and you choose to be miserable or happy.
  • Spend time with people who care about you and who you care about.
  • Treat yourself as an important guest and put money into savings for yourself or purchase that expensive gift you always wanted.  But Save Save Save
  • Write your thoughts down if feeling blue or seek professional help.

Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching
FREE ONLINE BOOK DOWNLOAD:  Dale Carnegie Secrets to Success. Excellent.
Emotional Intelligence
Activity Director Stress Reduction Tools
Job Satisfaction: Strategies to make work more gratifying.
Relatives visiting for the holidays: A survival Guide
Holiday Happiness and the Company You Keep
Holiday Stress Survival Kit
Self Growth
Improve Self Confidence and Self Esteem: Free 6 week course
Book: Why Make Yourself Crazy? 400 Strategies for a Stress Free Life. By G. Gaynor McTigue Book on Amazon

A Tribute to the Activity Profession!
Times They Are A Changing

by Sandra Stimson CALA ADC CDP
Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care www.activitytherapy.com
National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners www.nccdp.org

Times They Are A Changing.
I Stay Involved With My Association,
I’m Connected To The Activity Web Sites.
Times They Are A Changing and So Am I. 

Culture Change Is Finally Here.
It Brings All The Things We Already Knew.
I Wish I Had The Staff To Do It ALL, But That Won't Stop Me.
No One Will Break Me, I’ll Find A Way!

We Already Know To Involve The Community.
We Already Know The Importance Of The Children.
We Already Know The Impact Pets and Plants Have On Our Residents.
I Found The Way To Do These Programs!

I Wish They Would Increase Our Budgets!
I Will Find A Way For WII, Computers, Projectors, Swimming Programs,
Aviaries And Sensory Rooms.
And Of Course I Have To Have Those Gorgeous Fish Tanks and Flat Screen TV’s.
I’ll Find A Way!

If It Means More Fund Raisers,
I’ll Sell Those Balloons and Flowers, Raffle Those Tickets, Hold Craft Shows And Sell Candy and Bagels.
Because There Is A Way To Provide These Important Activities.
I'll Find A Way!

I'm Committed To Developing Special Programs That Are Implemented Every Day.
Hopefully The Administration Will Understand, One Person Can't Work The Weekends!
I Know They Are Getting It! Activities - Are Important Every Day, On Every Floor And On Every Unit. 
They Are Now Getting It, One Staff In The Day Rooms, Ain't Cutting It! 

But I'll Implement Spiritual Rooms, Room Bound Programs and Dementia Programs!
I’ll Make The Resident's Room Personalized And Home Like.
I’ll Look For Other Areas Of The Building That I Can Utilize.
I’ll Find A Way.

Ill Develop Gardens Because The Residents Need A Place To Breath, Relax and Reflect.
I’ll Make It Special, Intoxicating And Inviting.
Because They Deserve This And I Am Committed To Giving My Best To Accomplish This.
I’ll Find A Way, There Is A Way And United We Can Do This.

And I’ll Get To Those Activity Meetings And State Conferences.
I Commit To Doing This. To Stay Educated, Connected And Rejuvenated.
I Will Do This and Saying I’m Too Busy Is Not An Option!   
Because "I", "We" Deserve This. 

Because, Times They Are A Changing…Change Is Gonna Come!


For those interested in certification please see our web site for NJ MEPAP classed at www.Activitytherapy.com and click on seminars.



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