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by Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC, CTRS, Executive Director of DH Special Services
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Executive Director
DH Special Services
About Debbie

Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC,
CTRS, is the Executive
Director of DH Special
Services. She is a Certified
Activity Consultant on State
and National level, with over
twenty-seven years of
experience in providing direct
care and consultation to long
term care, medical day care,
assisted living, and ICF/MR
facilities throughout New
Jersey, New York, Maryland,
and Pennsylvania. She is an
experienced trainer and
workshop presenter,
conducting a variety of
seminars throughout the
Tri-State area for the Activity
Professional, Administrator,
and allied healthcare
professional. Debbie Hommel
is an active member of Activity
Professional Associations on
State and National levels. She
is ACC certified through the
NCCAP. She is a founding
member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals'
Association, serving terms as
Vice President and President.
She received the Weidner
Lifetime Achievement Award
in 1994 and the Monmouth &
Ocean County Activity
Professionals Life
Achievement Award in 1999.
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What I learned at
the 2nd Annual NCCAP Symposium
by Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS

On the first weekend in June, I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd Annual
Symposium for the National Certification Council of Activity Professionals in Erlanger,
Kentucky.  This symposium is designed for activity professionals, consultants and
educators.  The educational sessions focused on teaching concepts and techniques,
and methods to engage the adult student.  This was not your typical activity convention
focusing on programming issues.  As a MEPAP instructor, I found the symposium very
stimulating, validating, inspiring and educational.  Being able to meet other MEPAP
instructors and consultants from across the country was fun and professionally
exciting.  The following article includes key concepts from the symposium that I found
  -There has been increased discussion amongst activity professionals regarding the
changing needs of the new generation of Baby Boomers entering our long term care
facilities.  Chuck Underwood, founder of The Generational Imperative, spoke on the
topic of five living generations within the United States.  His presentation clearly outlined
the diverse needs of each generation and the values underlying the development of
generational attitudes.  He focused on the specific needs of the Baby Boomer and
confirmed that the traditional programming approaches currently practiced in long term
care will certainly not meet the needs of this newest aging generation.  The Baby
Boomers will re-define aging, live life on their own terms and demand more from health
care communities.  My favorite quote from Mr. Underwood’s presentation was “Aging is
mandatory.  Growing old is optional.”  Mr. Underwood wrote a book on understanding
the needs of each generation which can be found on his site or through Amazon.   
  -Carmen Bowman, a previous activity professional and state surveyor in Colorado, is
now a consultant for her own company (  Creating home
in our care facilities rather than home-like settings, through the quality of life
regulations, was the topic of her presentation.  Changing language in our care
communities was a source of active discussion.  Some of the terms we use daily such
as “transport” residents to programs or “toilet” residents de-humanizes the care
relationship.  The intent is for the care community to alter their language and hopefully
changes in attitudes will follow.  A great article on the topic can be found on the Pioneer
Network web site.
  -Part of the NCCAP Symposium was presenting Best Practice Awards to outstanding
programs across the country.  Many submissions were entered and three were
chosen.  Kudos to Gloria Hoffner who created a Science for Seniors program (perfect
for the approaching Baby Boomer generation); Bryan Rife who creates “Moments” for
his residents (which can be seen his Facebook page); and Laurie Kloepper who has
involved her residents in the annual county fair for the past 18 years.  The winning
programs were shared via PowerPoint, video and demonstrations.  You may look at
these programs and say they are rather typical, like arranging for a “steak dinner” for
someone who just wanted a steak.   But, it is the eye for detail and the contribution to
overall quality of life, not only for the resident but all those who were involved in the
process, that make these programs stand out.  Think about some of the amazing
things you do on a daily basis and turn that into next year’s “Best Practice”.  
  -NCCAP had their annual business meeting at the Symposium.  The exciting part is
the meeting was recorded and is now posted on You Tube so everyone can view the
proceedings.  NCCAP will be posting the links on their site soon.  
If you are a friend of the Official NCCAP page on Facebook, the links are already posted
  -There were several committee meetings at the Symposium.  Over 25 NCCAP state
representatives met at the Symposium to discuss the status of NCCAP certification in
their state.  Some states, like NJ, have embraced the MEPAP course and have NCCAP
certification defined in state regulations.  West Virginia has recently been successful in
having the State government write the MEPAP course into their regs while other states
are working with local legislators in this direction.  The meeting enabled state
representatives to meet personally and discuss future goals which include increased
support through sharing promotional materials and increasing information sharing
within the NCCAP newsletter and amongst the representatives themselves.
  -Another meeting discussed the final development of the national exam that will be
implemented as a part of the NCCAP certification process.  A number of MEPAP
instructors have submitted their trst questions for a huge data base of questions.  
Current committee work is focusing on coordinating each test question with each core
competency in the MEPAP course, as well as defining a reference source for the
It was beyond exciting to be a part of this symposium.  As a member of the NCCAP
Board, a certified MEPAP instructor and also a presenter at the Symposium, I was there
for five days and those five days were a whirlwind of activities and events.   The future for
NCCAP is strong and bright.  This October begins the 25th anniversary year for NCCAP
and we have many events and celebrations planned.    Plans are already underway for
the 3rd Annual NCCAP Symposium in the same location on June 2nd – 4th, 2011.  I
know I will be there – will you?

-A special guest at the symposium was Flat Granny.  Flat Granny is a project of the
Activity Department of Greenewood Manor in Xenia, Ohio.  Flat Granny has been
traveling to long term care communities and other locations throughout the United
States. You can see the summary of her travels and photos on Flat Granny's Blog.   
//   Flat Granny also has a page on Facebook.  Flat Granny
stopped by the Symposium between her travels and was photographed  at the NCCAP
State Rep meeting and some other events throughout the Symposium.