Inside this issue:

* Notes from VAAP President, Betsy Jenkins, ADC

* District News

>>> SWVAAP  / Article from Mary Celestin-Gaither

>>> HRAPA  News – & Request to Districts…


>>> DISTRICT 16 / Fredericksburg

*  2020 VAAP  PRE-Conference information

From the VAAP President

From the VAAP President – Betsy Jenkins, ADC

The VAAP Board held its regular quarterly meeting on Monday, October 21, 2019 in Charlottesville.  Representatives from across the state took their time to attend the meeting.  We had several important items of business to discuss.

 VAAP contracted with Cindy Bradshaw, MS to help increase our membership and our communication with the members.  She has made great strides in both of these areas.  Unfortunately, our mass mailing list was a mess due to many issues. Facilities go in and out of business and change names constantly.   Activity Professionals change jobs frequently and new people come into the profession all the time.   This makes it a real challenge to keep our mailing list up to date.  Cindy got our list cleaned up and current.   The website is up with current information and Cindy has begun publishing our newsletter again.  I hope you have been enjoying this communication from VAAP.   If you have any ideas or information you would like to share with other Activity Professionals, please send it to someone on the board ( and we can include it in the VAAP Voice.  

Cindy has also visited several districts and provided educational sessions and updates about VAAP.  She plans to visit each district sometime in the coming year.  There are even some areas such as Fredericksburg where a new district may be formed.   The Board wants district meeting to be convenient for everyone.

Tina Guthrie, from the Hampton Roads District gave a report on the plans for this year’s conference.  “Ordinary Heroes” is the theme and the dates are March 25 – 27, 2020,  at the Marriot in Newport News, VA.   Please make plans to attend.   This year there will be a pre-conference on Tuesday, March 24th, with sessions that target Activity Assistants.  If you have suggestions for session topics for this year’s conference or next year’s, please pass those along to a board member.  We want to offer educational sessions that are important to you.  The 2021 conference will be held in the Roanoke area.  We are already looking at possible hotels.

A nominating Committee was formed for executive committee offices.   Robin Cooper will chair the committee.  The offices of President and Treasurer are up for election this year.  We really need some new people to come on to the Board and to run for offices.  I have retired from the field and am not able to run again.  Jo Tice has been Treasurer for many years and has asked to be replaced.  As those of us who have given many hours and years to VAAP begin to retire, it would be beneficial to VAAP to have professionals with fresh ideas to serve on the Board. 

VAAP is a very worthwhile organization. Keeping up to date on trends in our profession, benefit us as members, but also our residents as we continue to grow in our field.  If you have benefited from VAAP and you want to see it continue, we highly encourage you to volunteer some of your time to the organization.    Because it is getting more and more difficult to get away from our building to attend meetings, we are considering changing the meeting times to include some weekend dates.  We have also begun to have conference calls instead of face to face meetings.   Please let a board member know if you can and are willing to serve on the board or are interested in an office.

I know that you are entering your busiest time of the year.   The holiday season is fun and festive for most everyone, but Activity Professionals get a triple dose of the holiday cheer.  I hope you can carve out a little time for yourself and your family. Peace to you in the coming year.

HRAPA Update

The Hampton Roads Activity Professionals Association held their recent meeting at Our Lady of Prepupal Help in Virginia Beach, VA on Thursday, November 14, 2019 with Raul Permities hosting.  They met at 1pm for lunch meeting to follow.  Raul presented the educational program. At the meeting they discussed the upcoming VAAP conference, as well as passed around the sign-up sheet to host the 2020 HRAPA meetings next year. At the meeting it was also decided to go back to having monthly meetings to maintain closer contact and comradery with each other.  The January meeting will be the annual social and gift exchange, details to follow. Hope all can attend.  Tina Guthrie, ADC HRAPA President.

Request from HRAPA…


The VAAP 2020 Conference is coming up fast. I would like to ask that all of 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.

Judy Karpus, Long Standing HRAPA Member

District 16/Fredericksburg

Their next meeting will be Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 4:30pm above the Food Court in Wegmans.


The month of November is known as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. President Ronald Reagan made that designation in 1983 and it is something that is still recognized today. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, at that time there were less than two million people with the disease. Through the years that number has grown to more than five million.

 What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that leads to memory, thinking, and behavior problems. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases. It is also the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Although those ages 65 and older are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, there are thousands of others under the age of 65 who have early-onset Alzheimer’s

People who develop Alzheimer’s Disease become socially isolated because their ability to remember and to effectively communicate becomes limited. Their ability to maintain meaningful interactions with those around them becomes tasking due to short term memory loss. At times they may not have the ability to identify their families and relatives. In some instances, the people who develop this disease may accused others of stealing their belongings, in most cases their own family members. When family members are not educated of the effects of the disease, they don’t understand the effects of the disease, they feel offended of the accusation made against them by the person with the disease and they tend to stay away. Avoidance makes matters worse.  People with Alzheimer’s may seem that he/she has become mean and difficult to be around. However, this is the time when much social support is needed. They need the social support and orientation of others around them to sail through their new reality.

As Activity Professionals, we should be constantly providing education and support to the family members dealing with loved ones with altered behaviors, in addition to the care and activities provided to the People with Alzheimer’s.

If your facilities have a memory care unit, it is important to host a quarterly family support system through education on dealing with their loved ones new reality.

Here’s some suggested subject for your family support education:


  • Gloss over episodes of delusion, hallucinations and paranoia (chances are they will pass)
  • Use humor if possible (humor always releases stress and tension)
  • keep to routines
  • Turn the TV off or to none-violent shows (The voices may be confusing)
  • Cover mirrors (it may seem to them that there is strangers in the house)


  • Don’t try to convince the person he/she is wrong (you will lose the battle and the argument will be forgotten minutes after it occur)
  • Don’t get annoyed or angry at their confusion. (it will happen repeatedly so get used to it)
  • Don’t think the person is doing it to annoy you (Remove yourself from the picture frame)
  • Don’t scold (Cherish time spent with your loved ones, they need your support)
  • don’t rush them (rush + hast = aggressive behavior)

Author – Mary Celestin- Gaither


The Richmond Area of Activity Professionals held their recent meeting at St Mary Woods in Richmond, VA on Wednesday, November 13, 2019.  Thank you to Thanks to Roslyn and Mariah for hosting the meeting.

It was so good to exchange info, offer support and enjoy some quality time together!

VAAP Board member, Jo Tice mentioned the VAAP Conference coming in March 2020 in Newport News.

The Richmond Area of Activity Professionals (RAAP) next meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 8:00AM to 9:00AM Spring Arbor of Richmond 9991 Ridgefield Parkway Henrico, VA 23233 Host: Lisa Mullen Please RSVP: or (804) 754-8700 Sharing ideas and information. Supporting each other in the challenging and rewarding work we do. See you during National Activity Professionals Week! “Lighting the Way!”

Meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!

See you “next year”! – Lisa Mullen


MEMBERSHIP News  The VAAP Board approved the proposed By-Law Changes, which the membership in turn approved, which included changing the VAAP membership year back to a calendar year (Jan – Dec).  This means anyone joining the VAAP starting NOW, will also get the 2020 year included, IF paid by January 1, 2020.


See ALL District News, Upcoming Events, Blogs, Announcements and 2020 Conference information on the site

2020 VAAP PRE-Conference

8:30 -9:00 – Registration  

SAVE THE DATE – TUESDAY, March 24, 2020

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