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The Activity Director's Office
By Sandra Stimson ADC, CALA, CDP
Executive Director,
Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care
Music: "Peg of My Heart" furnished by Heart and Soul Music "Providing Quality Music for Nursing Homes"

Sandra Stimson has experience as a
corporate consultant, Corporate
Trainer and National Speaker. Her
experience is in long term care, as
Activity Director, Director of
Alzheimer's Units and Assistant
Administrator of a 550 bed long term
care county home.  She is
Co-founder of Pet Express Pet
Therapy Club, is a Life Replay
Specialist.  Sandra implements
dementia units nationwide.  Sandra
has written several books, Volunteer
Management Essentials for Long
Term Care and Pet Express Pet
Therapy Program. Sandra has been a
facilitator for Alzheimer's support
groups and is the Awards Chair for the
NJ Association of Activity
Professionals.  Sandra is the
Executive Director of
Council of Certified Dementia

Alternative Solutions in Long Term
Care offers resources for health care
professionals in many areas of
dementia care, care plans,
Snoezelen products, dementia
activity calendars, adult day care
calendars, sensory calendars,
reminisce videos for dementia,
activity books, and dates to
remember, party supplies,
resources and links.

Budgets are almost a dirty word in health care. We dread those budget reports and expense reports
and every month we pray that we did not exceed our budget. Here are some tips to help you stay within
your budget and a big industry secret!

Know your budget. Some of you work for companies with no cap on spending. Some of you are told
monthly what you can spend based on PPD and others have a set amount per month. Regardless of
your budget, here are some suggestions to help you manage the budget.

1. You should be keeping a daily expense log. This log, just like a check ledger begins with a total
amount you can spend. Each time you spend, enter into your ledger exactly what the funds were spent
for, date and the amount you spent.

2. Always turn in your receipts immediately. Otherwise the expense will show up on another month’s
expense report thus putting you over budget for a past month.

3. At the end of the year, complete a spreadsheet by category of expenses to see what you spent your
money on for the year. You may find that you need to expand your budget. You may find you have money
left over.

4. Plan in advance for those programs that are very expensive. Some of the items you might be able to
purchase the month before. You may not need to put the entire event in one month’s expense. For
example, you might plan an Elegant Dining event. Your decorations and invitations could be purchased
several months in advance. No one says that you have to purchase the entire events items in the same

5. Always get it in writing. If you want to spend for something expensive, get it in approved and in writing
from your administrator. Some times people forget.

6. Fund Raisers are another great way to get extra cash. There are many fund raising ideas and lots of
web sites out there. Quick ways are bagel sales, jewelry (vendor) sales, traveling book shows and of
course the good old one, Ottis Spunkmeyer Cookie Sales. Plan fundraisers events to be held
immediately after payday for a better response from staff. Advertise so that everyone knows you have a
fundraiser coming.

The Big Secret:

Secret # 1: Why are you paying retail full prices? All those catalogues you use, are marked up to full
retail prices. Often times doubled the cost. Or, if you are purchasing at stores, you are paying even
higher, as they purchased from whole sale suppliers. Now you can too! Often times you can negotiate
a discount with catalogue companies. You may need to speak to the account representative or
supervisor. If, you consistently order through them, they should meet your request for a discount. Some
companies may not give you a discount but instead may offer you free shipping. You could negotiate
both free shipping and a discount. They don’t want to loose your business to a competitor. But, you
have to ask because they will not offer it out right. Just ask, all they can say is NO. If you are with a large
company, they have a purchasing department and that department can negotiate a discount for you.

Secret # 2: Buy through catalogues that offer deep discounts. Purchase items when they are on sale.
Shop around. Years ago we did not have the kind of choices we have today. Stretch your budgets and
make your budget work for you.

Know where the job lots stores and the dollar stores are located in your community, as there are many
items you purchase at inflated prices that you can get for only a dollar or very cheap at the job lot stores.
(Did you know that many dollar stores will come to you?)

Secret # 3: Many directors and large companies are already purchasing from our party supply
catalogue and are seeing huge savings. If, you set up an account with us, we can offer 10% off the
catalogue price.

If, you are with a large company, we can offer even greater discounts. Cost compare. Look at some of
the common things you order on a monthly basis, party kits, decorations, tambourines, streamers,
maracas, Christmas and holiday supplies. We can offer these products at a cheaper price compared
to a lot of other vendors. A great example is Maracas. You currently pay aprox 12.00 for two maracas.
With our catalogue we can offer 24 maracas for under 12.00. That’s a huge savings.

We also accept purchase orders once you open an account with us.

We also have a wider selection instead of limited choices.

Visit our catalogue at

Or Contact us at 973 729 6601 for information on discounts prices we can offer for large companies or
long term care chains
Providing Internet Resources
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

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The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved