December VAAP Voice

IInside this Issue

* District News

>>> SWVAAP  / Article from Mary Celestin-Gaither

>>> HRAPA  News – Article from Tina Guthrie ADC


*  VAAP Membership Renewal Information

*  2020 VAAP PRE-Conference information

*  OPPORTUNITY for DISTRICTS to contribute

Contributed by SWVAAP

Meaningful Activities

Regardless of age or ability, people want to feel what they do has purpose or value and it does not change when you become a senior. And this sense of purpose or value is beyond having access to adaptive technologies; it is met by being engaged in meaningful and purposeful activity or interactions. This month I will feature a new activity I implemented at Accordius Health at Roanoke.

Meet Deborah M. Harvey. She came to live with us at Accordius Health at Roanoke in July of 2019. She has been a model Resident from the start. She actively pursues and participates in every scheduled calendar activity. When she is not in recreational activities you can be sure to find her working hard in the therapy gym. Her therapist thinks very highly of her because of the hard work ethic she brought along in her therapy. Deborah did everything that was expected of her and went the extra mile. 

After retirement, Deborah thought her work was over but at Accordius Health at Roanoke, our Activities Department motto is “Continue to live, using your existing abilities to your fullest capacity. Live large each twenty-four hours at a time.”  So therefore, we drew on Deborah’s experience and activated her retired abilities.

The first month of her stay here at Accordius Health at Roanoke, I asked her to do the story time reading, she accepted with no hesitation. The quality of her service was so impeccable that her story time reading became part of the Calendar Schedule every week- “Story-time reading with Deborah.” The residents all listen attentively as she reads weekly. Her services were so effective that we asked her to assist us with our one to one activity.  Deborah, again with no hesitation accepted the challenge. For the past four months she has been assigned to read to two of our bed-bound residents every Monday and Tuesday afternoons.   She sacrifices her rest-time between lunch and the afternoon activity to meet another resident’s needs.  She provides comfort, laughter, friendship and companionship to peers who are unable to socialize with other residents because they are not able to get out of their rooms.

Due of the success and the Impact of Deborah’s service, the activities department has launched “Accordius Health at Roanoke, Peer Support Community”. After an extensive special assessment, I pair a voluntary resident who is mobile (by wheelchair, walker or self-ambulation) with a resident who is bed bound. I tap into whatever the two residents have in common and passionate about, allowing them to share their strengths, skills and abilities with their peers. The project is closely monitored weekly.

With appropriate supports and guidance, it is possible for older adults to experience a sense of accomplishment, meaning, and purpose through engagement in enjoyable and meaningful leisure-based activities, even when faced with declining physical and cognitive abilities. And these activities are important for health and well-being, for coping with stressors and challenges, for experiencing a sense of continuity or normalcy in the face of change, and for living a life of meaning. Deborah and the other residents who are engaged in “The Peer Support Community says they feel energized to do more to help their peer feel a sense of purpose as they do. In order to amplify these potential benefits of activity engagement for older adults living in long term care facilities, Activities Professional should not focus on a busy looking calendar rather focus on the way activities you provide can make a difference in the lives of your residents. Focus on helping your residents accomplish a sense of purpose and fulfillment in the lives.

Author -Mary Celestin-Gaither

NVAAP Update

We had a great turn out for our NVAAP meeting on October 17th. We were happy to see new members as well as returning members that had been away for a while.  Our own Vicky Surash, Gerontologist, presented a session, “The Many Different Dementias.”  As per usual when Vicky presents, it was informative, entertaining, and it gave some interesting insight and tips. Certificates for 2 hours of Continuing Education were given out to all in attendance.

NVAAP will not be meeting again until February due to the busy holiday season – this has always been our tradition. If you have any suggestions for educational sessions for the upcoming 2020 year, please contact Robin.

HRAPA President shares thoughts…

January is always a slower month. After all the holidays, January rolls around. With it being winter I always found that cooking is a big hit. It is fun, smells wonderful and they get to eat it. The challenge is finding what works for your population, as each is different.

The Long-Term Care and Rehab folks like to do as much as they can themselves. I found that they seem to enjoy something they can do independently. I have had them do individual pizzas with a variety of toppings of course they loved that. Decorating cookies also a big hit with all the sprinkles and candies we used. Also, to make it more beneficial we decorated lots of cookies and then the residents gave them out to the staff for a random act of kindness.

Memory Care can be more challenging baking has always been a success for me. Each resident can stir and put things in the bowl to mix it up. We than would talk about things they liked to bake or cook. With baking the smells are wonderful. Depending on their abilities can bake cupcakes, frost use sprinkles to decorate and of course eat them up.  

With Independent and Assisted Living they can do much more I had them make a cookbook with recipes of foods they use to cook at home and family recipes. We than put it all together giving each resident credit for the recipe had the cookbooks bound and sold them. The money went to a charity of the resident’s choice. We than took the cookbook and chose several recipes to cook and eat in a group.

Of course, each cooking activity will depend on what space and equipment available. Take January and make it a Cooking Month! There are so many ways to go with this and we would love to have you respond with what you have done, and photos would be great! Have fun all!

Tina Guthrie ADC/MC – HRAPA President, VAAP Vice President

VAAP Membership

Please type or print the VAAP Membership Application below and send it with a check or money order for $50.00 made payable to “VAAP” to: Jo Tice, CTRS, 8041 Fallbrooke Drive. North Chesterfield, VA 23235. Membership year runs January 1st to December 31st.  In order to be eligible to vote during an election year, dues must be postmarked by February 15.

Name:____________________________________ Previous Name Used:____________________

Position:_____________________________________E-mail(W)_________________________________ Facility:_______________________________________________________________________________   Facility Address:______________________________________________________________ City:______________________________ State: ___________ Zip:_______________

Home Address: _______________________________________________________________________ City:______________________________ State: ___________ Zip:_______________

E-mail(H)_______________________________Phone: (cell/home) (___)________________      

Phone: (W) (___)__________________       

New Member:______________ Renewal: ________ District: ___________

VAAP Tax#: 54-1381140

We accept VISA, DISCOVER, MASTERCARD Secure credit card payment through PAYPAL can be made on the VAAP website, under the membership tab. You do not need to have a PAYPAL account to pay online.

Do You Want Your Mail Sent To Your Home or Facility? __________________________

May VAAP include your name and address on lists that are made available to organizations or companies that may be of interest to you as an Activity Professional? Yes______ No______

Membership is granted to individuals.  Dues are non-transferable.

2020 VAAP Pre-Conference

SAVE THE DATE – TUESDAY, March 24, 2020

8:30 -9:00 – Registration  

9:00 AM -5:15 PM – Pre-Conference Workshop – 6 CE (separate fee – $125.00)

9:00 – 9:15 – Welcome, Tina Guthrie, ADC/MC

9:15 – 10:15 – Gardening, Tina Guthrie, ADC/MC -This session will give ideas on how to incorporate gardening into your activity schedule through a variety of ways – indoors, outdoors, as well as, one to ones. 

10:25 – 11:25 – GamesLaurie Hawkins, ADC – Be prepared to revisit your childhood! We will be playing a variety of games you know and love, on a GIANT scale that your clients/participants/residents will also enjoy! This is a full participation session!

11:35 – 12:35 – Men’s ActivitiesRobin Cooper, BA –  In this session, we will look constructively at what activities are currently being offered to the men in our programs – “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Working together, we will share “The Good” successful activities and offer suggestions for improvements for those that are “Bad and Ugly.”

12:45– 1:30 Box Lunch Provided

1:40 – 2:40 – Musical ActivitiesTricia Geary, BMT/ACC – This session will share ways to engage your residents and have fun with music.

2:50 – 3:50 – ReminiscingVicky Surash, MS, MS, ACC/EDU/MC, CADDCT, CDP – Do you have limited resources and planning time?  What if you could run the same program, just in a different way, across functioning levels? In this session, we will explore reminiscing with visuals (in this case cooking items and postcards) and discuss how to use this technique for many types of programs. 

4:00 – 5:00 – Intellectual Activities, Cindy Bradshaw, MS – The mind is an amazing tool, in fact one of the most amazing tool a person will ever have.  Based on the “Use it or Lose it” concept, this session will introduce right brain/left brain activities to use with your clients.  Participants will play the games themselves and express an understanding of how to share these ideas with others.

5:00 – 5:15 – Wrap-Up and Distribution of Certificates of AttendanceTina Guthrie, ADC/MC


The VAAP 2020 Conference is coming up fast. I would like to ask that all the districts contribute to a power point we would like to put together.

  1. Ask all of the activity professionals in your group to write on a piece of construction paper/poster board their best “piece of advice” to other activity professionals. Decorate if you want, and take a photo of the person along with their advice.
  2. Send the pictures to me, Tina Guthrie at
  3. These pictures will be used to put together a power point program that will be shown at the conference.

The reason for this project is people have so much knowledge that we do not share with one another. We think that there is such a wealth of advice that we can share with others in the activity field. Those of us who have been in the field for a while have a different perspective and although we have a lot to share so do the newer activity professionals. I know that several times I have asked for advice from other activity professionals and I love the advice I have received over the years. Please send along those photos with your best advice or two if you have extra you want to share.