Inside this issue:

* District News

>>> SWVAAP  / Article from Jonathan Tate, ADC


>>> HRAPA  / Article from Tina Guthrie, ADC

>>> ARAAP / Article from Laurie Hawkins, ADC


>>> DISTRICT 16 / Frederickburg

*  2020 VAAP Conference information

Www.VAAPonline.org         VAAPBoard@gmail.com


A big reason food goes to waste at home is due to not knowing how old food is or if it is still good and safe to eat. The terminology used for food expiration can be inconsistent, misleading and confusing. Knowing how old leftovers are and how long they are good and safe to eat can also be a challenge.

Food Safety Basics
1.)  The FDA now supports the use of “best if used by” labeling on products. This is because companies are required to put dates on products, but it is not an exact science. If you drink milk the day after its “use by” date, you will probably be fine. Do what your grandparents did: use visual clues, smell and taste to help in your decision making.

2.)  Generally speaking, prepared meals, opened milk and juice, lunch meats, etc. have a seven-day refrigerated shelf-life once prepared or opened. That being said, there are many foods that last longer and some for much longer. Examples include cheeses, sauces, condiments, salad dressings, pickles, etc. You can find FDA guidelines for food shelf-life online…but, using your own senses, (including common), can be your biggest asset.

3)  Freezing and heating (to 165 degrees or higher) kills any harmful bacteria and ‘starts the clock over’. Use this to your advantage. For example, if you have ham that is going to expire, make ham and bean soup. If you have ground beef that you didn’t get around to cooking, freeze it. The soup now has a 7-day refrigerated shelf-life and the beef can now be thawed and cooked in the future. Be creative.

Additional Tips
1.)  Label your food! When you make a batch of taco meat, grilled chicken, potato salad, lasagna, etc., put a label on it when you store it that has the date it was prepared. Do this also for items that you are going to freeze. The next step is to label when certain items were opened. This can be the biggest way to take the guess-work out of deciding what is still good in addition to giving you the peace-of-mind to keep track of your food and safely consume it. (See the link below for labels.)

2.)  Organize your refrigerator and freezer. (If you are really into it, make an inventory list. This especially helps with the freezer.) Before making your grocery list, go through your refrigerator and freezer and note what needs to be used and make a plan.

3.)  Place items that need to be used in a visual spot. You have fruit or vegetables that are buried in refrigerator drawers, put them on a visible shelf in the fridge. Or, (as I do in my home when I know the kids are around), place washed and cut-up fruit on the counter and watch it disappear.

Jonathan Tate, ADC / Life Enrichment Manager & Volunteer Coordinator


We were so pleased Cindy Bradshaw, General Manager of the VAAP, visited us and shared updates about VAAP.  She then presented, “How to Get Residents to Attend Your Activities.”  NVAAP members received a Certificate of Attendance for 2 hours. I was great to see so many new faces and many returning ones.

Our October meeting was held on Thursday, 10/17/19, at 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at The Penino Building, Fairfax Government Center Parkway Fairfax, VA,  22035. The topic “The Many Types of Dementia” was presented by Vicky Surash, MS, MS, ACC/EDU/MC, DCS.  NVAAP members received a Certificate of Attendance for 2 hours.  

News 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. Simple I promise!

  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 tinagu3@hotmail.com
  3. these pictures will be used to put a power point program that will be shown at the conference.

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. The ones 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 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.

Hope to see you all at the 2020 conference!!    Tina Guthrie, HRAPA President

Bird Song – Executive Summary

Birdsong empowers older adults to independently navigate technology and access thousands of engagement experiences. Birdsong’s vast library of experiences include games, music, classic TV shows, travel content, spirituality content, lifelong learning academy, and so much more. With over 7,500 experiences to choose from, there is something for everyone.  In terms of pricing, Birdsong is the most affordable engagement technology platform in the senior living industry.


Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay partnered with Eastern Virginia Medical School and Virginia Wesleyan University to study (and measure empirically) the efficacy of in-room tablets as an engagement tool for residents with dementia and mild cognitive impairment. The research became known as The Birdsong study and lead to the creation of The Birdsong Tablet. The Birdsong study focused on measurable outcomes in physical health and quality of life for both residents and caregivers and produced dramatic improvements.  Refer to Image 1 to see study results.

Birdsong garnered national recognition as a program that helps maintain cognitive abilities and memory function for residents with dementia and cognitive decline by increasing their social interaction and engagement levels.


Older adults living in nursing centers are at a higher risk for social isolation, loneliness, unnecessary antipsychotic drug use, and disengagement.  When the industry is faced with challenges such as vast regulations, high staffing turnover, increased staff burnout and shortages, as well as growing financial constraints, solving these problems isn’t simple. Personal one-on-one engagement can help but it is time consuming for busy caregivers and can lead to added financial burdens for long-term care providers.  Technology can assist in filling this affordability gap and providing engagement to reap benefits efficiently with a person-centered approach.


SOur goal as providers is to take great care of our residents by providing a high quality of life and our actions should reflect this mission.  If we find ways to personalize interventions that address the resident’s purpose, we can improve our resident’s quality of life and reduce these illnesses.  The Birdsong program does this by addressing all dimensions of wellness without increasing staff burden. Apart from the significant findings in Image 1, we also found that the tablets were perceived as a valuable tool for redirecting aggressive behaviors and in delighting residents.  The tablets were easy to use and easy to prompt residents to use and residents  enjoyed between 10 to 25 hours of tablet usage on average each week.   It was FUN!


In-room engagement technology that is designed for older adults can cost-effectively improve quality of life and help our aging residents overcome social isolation, loneliness, and boredom.

(This article was contributed by Brenda Walker, ADC)


Members of ARAAP recently spent a weekend at Breaks Interstate Park, for their annual workshop/retreat. The group received 15 NCCAP approved hours during the wellness weekend.

The NCCAP Body of knowledge is designed to provide educational and learning events for professional wellness as well as ideas that can relate to our clientele. Our group rented a cabin, cooked over an open campfire, learned Geocaching, learned water/boat safety, kayaked, learned about local Elk population conservation, did a storytelling program, and discussed religious sacraments and reflections.

ARAAP is committed to providing their members with diverse ideas for use in their respective health care cultures as well as providing much needed personal wellness pursuits.

ARAAP is a small district, encompassing Lee, Scott, Dickenson, Wise, Washington, Smyth, Russell and Grayson counties.


The Richmond Area of Activity Professionals held their meeting Wednesday, September 18, 2019, at the Spring Arbor, hosted by long time member Lisa Mullens.  20 activity professionals attended this meeting, shared ideas, activity calendars and newsletters and networked with each other over breakfast.  This group of dedicated activity professionals have decided that they have missed their RAAP meetings and have a renewed determination to continue to have regular meetings, with their next meeting scheduled for November 2019.  Cindy Bradshaw attended the meeting to discuss the importance of becoming a VAAP member and supporting the state association and their mission. 

The next RAAP (Richmond Area) meeting will be held at Wednesday, November 13, 2019 from 8:00 – 9:00 am at St Mary’s Woods, 1257 Marywood Lane, Richmond, VA. Hosted by Roslyn Oliveri and Mariah Ingegni.  RSVP to  (804)741-8624 roslyn.oliveri@stmaryswoods.com mariah.ingegni@stmaryswoods.com.  A delicious breakfast will be served. Bring a suggestion of one event that was a big hit! Have any resource contact information with you too! We can have a discussion of reorganizing the Richmond Area Association of Activity Professionals. 

DISTRICT 16 / Fredericksburg

As some of you are aware, Cindy Bradshaw, VAAP GM and long term VAAP member, Margy Faloney were able to travel around to many of the facilities and meet the activity directors in person.  It was great to see all the “work homes” and be able to share with them our excitement about District 16 Activity Professionals organization as well as information about the VAAP.

During the visits, a lot of positive feedback was received, and many were excited for the upcoming meetings.  They also got a better idea of when everyone can meet.  The meetings will be held quarterly (October, January, April and July) at 4:30 pm at the Wegmans in downtown Fredericksburg, VA.

Their last meeting was held on Thursday, October 10th at 4:30 pm at Wegmans in the upstairs dining area above the food court.  About 8 people were in attendance and they brought a copy of their activity calendars to share, as well as a newsletter and many other activity ideas that they shared with each other.

Their next meeting will be Thursday, January 16, 2020 at the Food Court in Wegmans.

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.https://vaaponline.org/membership-form/


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


Artwork by Kelly Bradshaw Hoyle

 A HERO by definition is “a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities. A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal.

A brave person, champion, courageous, victor, winner, conqueror, survivor, lionheart, warrior, knight, are all listed as synonyms for the word “hero”. These typically apply to war heroes, first responders and other such remarkable individuals who risk their lives to save others.

There are also “Ordinary Heroes.” To many, an Ordinary Hero is an individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. People that may have dealt with hate, racial slurs, cancer or other diseases, inequality, ageism and the list goes on and on.  People that mustered their own “inner hero”, are survivors.  A hero can be an ordinary person in regular clothes possessing no special super powers like Batman, Wonder Woman and so forth, yet that have the characteristics to prevail in a time of need for themselves or others.  We celebrate the HEROES!

The 2020 VAAP conference hosted by the Hampton Roads District will be held at the Marriott in Newport News City Center, March 24-27, 2020.  The Marriott is located right in the middle of Newport News Town Center at 740 Town Center Drive, Newport News, VA 23606 Hotel: 757-873-9299, and has many restaurants within walking distance, and attractions just a few miles away such as Busch Gardens theme park, Historic Williamsburg / Jamestown and outlet stores.  (Room rates will be $124. +tax per night).

Registration rates: VAAP Member/$300, NON-VAAP Member $400.  The 3 day conference includes continuing education hours, networking opportunities, breakfast, lunch and much more.  While you do NOT have to be a member to attend, joining VAAP would offer a substantial discount. 

There will also be a PRE conference held on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.  This plans to be 6 different themed areas of programming to include: creative, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and community integration.  Each participant will have the ability to share their ideas as well as will interact with others to form a vast resource manel/tool to take back to their facility and be able to implement into their program.  We encourage Directors to send your Activity Assistants to the TUESDAY program, as they are often holding down the fort while the directors attend the three-day (Wed – Friday) event.

***specific times, session subjects and prices for each will be posted in upcoming communications.  Plan now to attend!!!