By Sandra Stimson ADC, CALA, CDP Executive Director,
Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care

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
National Council of Certified
Dementia Practitioners  

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
resources and links.
Sandra Stimson
Each Norman Rockwell print is
paired with a national standards of
Resident Rights and is
illustrated by a picture depicting
the "Resident Right."

click here to purchase resident
rights prints
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

Copyright 2004-Present
The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved

The Activity Director

Many facilities have volunteers but most do not assist on the Dementia Units. Some times it’s
because of the stigma associated with the dementia unit. The dementia units perhaps are
the one area of the community that needs the most help. We recommend that you reach out
to your current volunteers and explain ways they can volunteer on the dementia unit. When
recruiting new volunteers, it is recommended that you advertise the many ways volunteers
can assist on the dementia unit. Some suggestions are, Friendly Visitor, Walking buddy,
Reminisce Volunteer, sing a longs, spirituality, crafts and cooking volunteer, horticulture
volunteer. Volunteers can also assist in the dining programs with either passing trays, tray
set up and sitting with residents who need queuing to eat.

Volunteers should receive extensive training in Dementia, just like the front line staff. The
volunteers need to know how to respond to difficult behaviors, repetitive questions, breaking
down tasks, communication, etc. All volunteers should be introduced to any resident with a
history or potential for elopement and the interventions in place should be explained to the
volunteer. However, the volunteer should never be shown the resident’s chart.

One great resource is a book called Best Friends and it’s available through the National
Alzheimer’s Association web site

We recommend this newsletter at as they have a wealth of
information, free resources and products for dementia. In the last newsletter they wrote
about toxic plants and toxic aroma therapy that are used in sensory rooms. We recommend
that every facility read their latest issues on these topics.

Upcoming Seminars:

For upcoming seminars please see and go to the calendar. The calendar is
updated daily by the NCCDP approved instructors who are now nationwide. You can view
the complete list of instructors at the web site and click on Instructors.

Show Your Support for Education:

For those facilities that support dementia education of their front line staff are welcome to
post their support by adding their facility name to our home page. Simply email us the name
of the facility and the web site to

Please feel free to post this newsletter on your web site or email it to a colleague.

Best wishes,


We encourage all Activity and Recreation Professionals to join their local, state and national
organizations. You can contact your national organizations to find the name and location of
your local meetings. You do not have to be a manager or hold certifications to attend the
meetings. Additionally, almost all state organizations hold a yearly convention that is open to
all staff. If you have not attended the conventions and would like to go in 2006, be sure to let
your supervisor know of your interest. Most Directors will encourage their staff to attend if
they express a desire to do so.

Links to national associations of
interest to Activity Directors:




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Activity Director
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This site is moderated by
Robert & Linda Lucas, Owners of
The Activity Director website.