|NAAP Mission Statement
To provide excellence in support services to activity professionals through education,
advocacy, technical assistance, promotion of standards, fostering of research,
and peer and industry relations.
Founded by Activity Professionals
for Activity Professionals...
NAAP is the only national group that represents
activity professionals in geriatric settings exclusively.
NAAP serves as a catalyst for both professional and
personal growth and has come to be recognized by
government officials as the voice of the activity
profession on national issues concerning long-term
care facilities, retirement living, assisted living, adult
day services, and senior citizen centers. NAAP is
nationwide in scope with a growing membership in
Canada and Bermuda.
The National Association of Activity Professionals
recognizes the following values:
The quality of life of the
client/resident/participant/patient served is the
primary reason for our services.
The strength of NAAP lies in the diversity of its
members. NAAP recognizes the rich cultural, and
educational backgrounds of its members and values
the variety of resources represented.
The strength of NAAP also lies in the development
and promotion of scientific research which further
defines and supports the activity profession.
NAAP values the development and maintenance of
coalitions with organizations whose mission is similar
to that of NAAP's for the purposes of advocacy,
research, education, and promotion of activity
services and activity professionals.
NAAP values members who become involved at the
state and national level to promote professional
standards as well as encourage employers to
recognize them as professionals.
NAAP affords Activity Professionals across the
country the opportunity to speak with a common
NAAP successfully worked with members of Congress
to secure a change in the nursing home reform title
of the 1987 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
(OBRA). Through our efforts, it became mandatory
that an activity program, directed by a qualified
professional, be provided in every nursing home that
receives Medicare and/or Medicaid funds.
NAAP was the only professional activity association
to participate in HCFA's workgroups that revised
OBRA's interpretive guidelines now in effect.
NAAP provides assistance at the state level to
promote certification of activity professionals,
working toward uniform professional standards for
Special Event Ideas for February
By Debbie R. Bera/ADC
NAAP Public Relations Trustee
When we think of February, of course we think of Valentine’s Day, love and friendships.
February has become most known for this holiday. Many Activity Professionals focus
programming on these themes during the month. I would like to share with you two very
successful activities that I have been coordinating for many years for my residents.
The first one I’d like to share with you is our Annual Sweetheart Dinner. This event is for our
married residents and their spouses. It does take significant planning and coordinating,
especially since census changes so rapidly for nursing homes now. I aim to have it right on
Valentine’s Day unless it falls on the weekend then we hold it either on Friday or Monday.
About a month prior to the event, I go through our resident roster identifying those residents
who have a spouse. This is ongoing right up to the event i.e. if a resident comes in the day
before the event and has a spouse; we include them in the event. This means you have to
plan for some extra “couples” when doing your initial planning. I then design beautiful
invitations (I subscribe to americangreetings.com.) that are sent out to each couple two
weeks before the event. They must RSVP a week prior to the event so food counts can get
in to the dietary department. Our dietary dept. plans a special meal at no charge to the
couples (this is not the same meal served to the other residents that day, but something you
might go out for with your significant other for Valentine’s Day.). I arrange to have The
Stevens Point Barbershoppers Quartet come in during the meal to do singing telegrams to
our guests and they present them with a Valentine card and a single long stemmed red
rose. (Yes, this is quite costly, but the PR you get out of this event is worth the money spent,
but more on that later.) As the guests arrive, we place them under a trellis archway that is
decorated for Valentine’s Day and take their “Sweetheart Picture”. I take two with the
Polaroid and two with the digital camera. We give them one of the Polaroids to keep that
day. We than escort them to their seats. Prior to the event, I make place cards for assigned
seating (decorated for Valentine’s Day of course) and do place settings. I consider each
couple and with whom I think they will strike up conversations with/have similar
backgrounds/interests. Many of our residents/spouses know other residents/spouses. I
also set the tables like you might find them in a high-end restaurant, with table clothes and
real floral arrangements that I arrange myself. (Prearranged flowers are more costly.) The
activity department and management serve as hosts/hostesses and serve the residents
and we feed any residents that need assistance also. All married residents are included
unless they are tube fed. This is one of our most raved about events of the year. As I
mentioned earlier it is very effective PR for your facility. We include the short-term Medicare
residents in this event and they go back out in the community and talk about how special
they felt. In fact, every year at least one Medicare resident returns home after they have
received the invitation but before the day of the event and they come back for the event! That
is how well received it is and how the word gets out in the community about the great things
that go on at our facility. The best part for me is how special they feel as a couple and it
always brings tears to many residents/spouses eyes. (Staff too!)
Of course the first event is exclusive to just married residents and you need to offer
something special during the month for all residents so they don’t feel left out. This leads
me to the second event I’d like to share with you. It also takes a lot of coordinating and
planning. It is our Annual King and Queen of Hearts Dance. This is done on the order of a
prom. You will need to find some group to take this on, as most activity departments don’t
have enough staff to carry the event out. We have a Junior High School who assists us.
They provide us with 25+ students to come in for the event. The school also pays for the
band that day. The dietary department provides punch and cookies. About a month prior to
the event the teachers/chaperones and I select the date of the event, we hold it either on a
Saturday or Sunday afternoon closest to Valentine’s Day. We hold it from 2:00 PM to 4:00
PM. I arrange for a Polka band per our residents preference. Two to three weeks prior to
the event I ask the unit staff to select one female resident and one male resident to serve on
the court. We have three units so we have three couples on the court. I then type up ballots
and put them in paychecks so the entire nursing home staff can vote for a King of Hearts
and a Queen of Hearts. Every resident on the ballot is on the court. The winners of King
and Queen are kept secret until it is announced the day of the event when we do the
coronation. The day of the event each lady on the court receives a pink carnation corsage
and each male on the court receives a red carnation boutonnière. (I order real ones from a
florist and have them delivered. They give me a discount, as they are familiar with the
event.) We hold the coronation at 2:30 PM where I announce the King and Queen. We have
a real King’s crown and Queen’s tiara and a scepter for the King and Queen too. (I ordered
them from Stumps, they are what schools order for prom courts.) The initial cost was about
$100 but they are used from year to year. I bought good quality, no cardboard that doesn’t
last. Of course the crowning always brings tears to the winners’ eyes, but every resident on
the court feels special for the day. We then have a dance for just the court and students are
paired up with them to escort them around the dance floor. This event has been done at our
facility for over 30 years by the same school, not the same students or teacher, but it has
been handed down as it was to me when I came to the facility. I have tweaked it and added
my own flair to it over the years, but the basic premise has not changed. The students
dance with all residents who are willing, even in the wheelchairs. We also utilize the
Valentine trellis for this event and they parade/dance through it throughout the afternoon.
Families are invited to this event. It is standing room only.
Staff knows to dress residents in their “Sunday Finery” for these events. For both events I
invite the local paper to do a story and/or picture. Sometimes they will do a story/picture on
one event, sometimes on both. Depends on what else is going on news wise that day.
These two special events give the residents something special to look forward to after the
holidays and during the long winter months. Our residents eagerly anticipate them both
every year. I hope you give one or both of them a try, if not this year then next year. Happy
The Activity Director's Office
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