Pathways to the Past
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.
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

Sandra Stimson

National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners announces a new certification for
Dementia Unit Managers, Certified Dementia Care Manager CDCM. The new certification is
for Dementia Unit Managers / Supervisors / Directors who provide direct supervision to a
dementia unit / special care unit.

One of the requirements to qualify for CDCM is to complete a two  - day CDCM training with
the NCCDP. The first day, the training consists of 8 - hour Train the Trainer Alzheimer's’s
dementia comprehensive curriculum.  The 2nd day the seminar consists of Best Practices
for dementia units, policy and procedures for dementia units and job description
recommendation for Dementia Unit Managers.

Golden Living Corporation recently certified over 100 dementia unit managers.  “The
Certified Dementia Care Manager (CDCM) certification is considered the highest standard of
Alzheimer's’s and dementia care within the health care industry. The program is designed to
strengthen the supervisory responsibilities within these specialized units, while also
enhancing the use of new methods, theories and tools related to Alzheimer's’s dementia
Care practices.  The impact of this advanced training is significant because of the number of
lives our staff members impact on a daily basis.” Ed McMahon National Director of
Alzheimer's’s Care and Quality of Life for Golden Living.

Across America, the states have different regulations for dementia units for nursing homes
and assisted living. Some states may have no regulations that address dementia units,
especially in the case of assisted living, There are no federal regulations governing
dementia units, as all state and federal regulations apply to all residents regardless of the
special unit they may reside on.  For the states that do have regulations specific for
dementia units, those states may or may not require dementia unit managers.  Where it is
required, there is great range in requirements. Some states require that the dementia
manager only be a high school graduate with one year health care experience. While
another state may have extensive regulations and qualifications such as college degree and
several years supervisory experience.  

With in the health care corporations there is also a wide range in qualifications and
responsibilities.  Some corporations require a dementia unit manager to provide extensive
supervisory responsibilities while others may only want the manager involved with the activity
program. Some corporations have full time dementia unit managers. Others may have a
department manager who also provides oversight for the dementia unit.

Many managers report very little training to prepare them for the role of dementia unit
manager. As this is a relatively new field, there is very little information tailored specifically to
the Dementia Unit Manager job function. The dementia unit has unique concerns and
dementia unit managers do not have a network in which to seek advice and best practice
information from.   

Because of this, the NCCDP set forth the recommended standards, qualifications and
certification  in long term care for dementia managers and has developed a course and
certification tailored specifically for Dementia Unit Managers.
The course includes: Power point disk comprehensive Alzheimer's’s / dementia curriculum,
master hand out notebook, tests, text books, DVD, dementia unit policy and procedures,
dementia unit Best Practices and job description for Dementia Unit Managers.  Upon
completion of the two day course the dementia unit manager will be an approved NCCDP
Alzheimer's’s dementia trainer, Certified Dementia Practitioner and Certified Dementia Care

The requirements for the dementia care manager to pursue certification are:

        Completion of the two - day NCCDP CDCM Seminar.
        A Bachelors degree from a 4 year accredited college / university or LPN / RN.
        1 Year supervisory experience in health care setting.
        1 Year providing training or in-services in a health care setting.
        3 Years experience working in a health care setting.
        Current license or certification in a health care profession.
        Qualify for Certified Dementia Practitioner and meet the requirements of the NCCDP.
        Qualify for Train the Trainer and meet the requirements of NCCDP.
        Qualify for CDCM and meet the requirements of NCCDP.

NCCDP began sending out evaluations to all applicants.  NCCDP asked many questions on
the evaluations to determine the quality of the seminar and materials provided.  If you did
not receive an evaluation and would like to tell the NCCDP of your experience, please visit
the web site at  The feed back has been
overwhelmingly positive with fantastic scores and excellent comments.  Please see the
testimonial page for a sampling of the excellent comments coming in from around the

Great dementia links:


Vintage Classic Collection


See great downloads for running group programs at

Famous Couples activity

Almost Home

Barton House Resident Craft Projects