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Activity Directors - A Very Different Thanksgiving this Year! - NAPT Certification Classes Start Nov 3rd, Now Enrolling - Activitydirector.org

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There is a good chance that your facility will be hosting a very different Thanksgiving this year. Perhaps visitation is completely out the window all together. This means your residents are going to be feeling incredibly lonely this year. We all are, really. By now, we are all pretty well versed in utilizing online video conferencing platforms to reach out and make connections and Thanksgiving is likely going to test your endurance if this is the only means of connecting your residents with their families. If Zoom Thanksgiving is on your schedule this year, I have found some tips that you can provide to your resident's families to help make the idea of a virtual meal less intimidating and more exciting and structured.

A couple of tips from
ConnecticutChildrens.Org are,
"Try a new twist on a pot luck. Since you’ll all be dining as separate households, a traditional pot luck is out the window. But you can still ask every person to “bring” something to contribute – like a brief toast or favorite family photo to share virtually...
Try a gratitude bowl. Have all the households in your extended family start this process a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Each day, each person writes something they’re grateful for on a slip of paper and adds it to their household bowl. During your Thanksgiving virtual event, take turns reading aloud."

This adds some tradition to the meal and helps keep things flowing. Aside from the conversation topics, the experience can be tied together using shared visceral experiences.
Real Simple suggests,
"Coordinate your menus- Work with the hosts of each household to plan at least a few similar dishes on each family’s menu, so you can all enjoy the same appetizers, your family’s secret stuffing recipe, or a slice of apple pie for dessert. Try to coordinate the same dinnertime, so you can “sit down” to dinner together...
Create a decorating scheme- Look for ways to make it feel like you’re all in the same space. Order the same flowers from sites like The Bouqs Co. or UrbanStems so you can all enjoy the same centerpiece. If you really want to get matchy-matchy, you can rent the same table settings from sites like Social Studies, which rent out fun tablescapes (including napkins and centerpieces)—you simply return them the day after your party (so you’ll have less clean-up, too)."

While it may not be feasible for most all of us to order fancy flower or plate settings, I love the idea of having the resident’s family members drop off a special family dish that all members will be eating as well. A plate setting from the family collection might be able to be provided. Perhaps everyone could swap pictures of their settings to see who took it to the next level. This will give everyone the extra motivation needed to decorate with the same pizazz for a table of four as they did previously for a table of 25.

A good way to wrap up the festivities comes by way of a suggestion from
"Organize an ornament exchange.- When Santa's sleigh appears at the end of the Macy's Parade, the festive holiday season officially begins. For those who celebrate Christmas, invite each Thanksgiving guest to bring an ornament to exchange to kick-off the holidays and keep the joy going through December."

Plan ahead and stay in close communication with staff members, residents and family members. It is going to take a substantial amount of extra work on your part to make this holiday season as special as it can be. Reach out for help. Family members are sitting at home, ready and willing to pitch in however they can. Thank you for all of your hard work making the lives of those you serve special. What you do matters very, very much.

Some would argue that pit is the perfect Thanksgiving food and I would be hard pressed to throw up much of an argument. Pie is consumed on Thanksgiving like cake at parties. The Thanksgiving table can often be seen decorated with decadent chocolate, banana, and coconut cream pies, traditional chess and buttermilk pies, all centered around the classic pecan and pumpkin pies. The good news about this, is that you can create a Pie Cart that looks as fancy as a window in a Parisian bakery with relative ease. The secret is the presentation. Visit your local grocery store and purchase as many pies as you think you will need to serve your residents. I recommend buying a a small circular cut out and and stamping out as many circular pie portion as you can get per pie. This will allow you to fit a sampling of pies on a smaller plate for your residents, while also stretching how far your pie goes and setting it up for the toppings that will make it reminiscent of homemade.

How to Make Store-Bought Pies Better
10 Ways to Jazz Up Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Pecan Pie and More

Written by Stephanie Gallagher
Source: The Spruce Eats

Have to make a pie for a holiday or special occasion and don't have time? No problem. Here's how to take a store-bought pie and doctor it up to make it look and taste homemade.

Start with a good-quality store-bought pie. Even supermarket bakeries have great pies these days. Try to look for one that doesn't have a frozen crust. That too-perfect, cookie-cutter imprinted crimping is a dead giveaway that the pie isn't homemade. Then, all you have to do is get creative with toppings.

Maple Whipped Cream
This topping is perfect for pumpkin pies and apple pies, but also works with any kind of spiced dessert.

Pour 2 cups of cold heavy cream into a chilled glass or stainless steel bowl (it has to be heavy cream; half and half or light cream won't have enough fat in it to whip properly). Beat with an electric mixer or wire whisk until it is almost the consistency of whipped cream. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup. Continue beating until the mixture becomes the consistency of whipped cream. Spoon over the pie and dust with ground cinnamon.

Cinnamon Spice Whipped Cream
Stir 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves into store-bought whipped cream. Spoon over pumpkin pie, apple pie or pecan pie.

Caramel Sauce
Drizzle a good-quality store-bought caramel sauce over apple pie.

Chocolate Sauce
Drizzle store-bought or homemade chocolate sauce over pumpkin pie, pecan pie or apple pie.

Candied Pecans
Sprinkle candied pecans over apple pie or pumpkin pie.

Toasted Caramel Walnuts
Spread 1 cup of chopped walnuts onto a jellyroll pan or a cookie sheet that has sides. Toast in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring several times, until golden brown. Watch the nuts carefully! They can burn easily.

Bring 1 cup of pure maple syrup to boil over medium heat. Let the syrup boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, 1/3 cup cream, the walnuts, and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

Coconut-Pecan Topping
Mix 6 tablespoons melted butter with 1/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut and 1/4 cup half-and-half. Sprinkle over pumpkin or chocolate pie and broil for 3 minutes until golden.

Sour Cream Topping
Whisk together 1 1/2 cups sour cream and 2 tablespoons sugar until smooth. Spoon over pumpkin pie, and bake for 5 minutes at 350 F.

Chocolate Cookie Topping
Spread store-bought or homemade whipped cream over pumpkin pie, pecan pie or chocolate pudding pie. Sprinkle with crushed chocolate sandwich cookies.

Chopped Peanuts and Caramel Sauce
Stir 2 tablespoons chopped salted peanuts into 1 cup store-bought caramel sauce. Spoon over apple pie or pumpkin pie.

The following is a form for your residents to fill out prior to Thanksgiving so that it can be shared with their family members. This helps keep your resident and their lives intertwined with the lives of their descendants. Family member's could also use the responses as clues to help them make this year more special for them. All members could even fill out this questionnaire and the answers could be discussed over Zoom or copies could be mailed. Incorporating smaller traditions and activities will help fill all the gaps created by the quarantine. This Thanksgiving may not be the same as before,but it can still be a memorable one.
Print Form
Vintage Westclox Ad Circa Thanksgiving 1942
Enroll Now
Activity Directors Network was founded in 1996 on the idea that we could help create elderly care that dramatically improved the lives of those we all serve. We envision facilities that feel like homes and that celebrate our resident’s individuality and allows them to live with dignity, purpose and joy. We believe the exchange of education and wisdom between the most talented teachers and passionate students is the way to make an impact. Each and every single one of you are the revolution that is changing everything. Thanks for being a part of The Network.
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  • both post support for the NAAPCC Credentialing Center
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     Thank you for correcting the information that was released. I recently took the test for certification with NAAPCC and it was a very comprehensive and thorough test. It was not a simple easy test to get you certified. You had to know the information in order to complete and pass. I would recommend this avenue to anyone especially if finances are a struggle for MEPAP I & II. I did purchase the book for long-term care seventh edition and without that I would have struggled.
    Connie Gangwish, AP-BC Colorado
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    Celeste is awesome!! Anytime i have a question she gets right back with me and she is very informative. At first I didn't know if i was going to like the new course just for the fact my MEPAP course was the own pace and I work Full time plus have 3 kids. But i am loving it! It is very structured and with due dates I feel like i am holding myself more accountable for completed assignments sooner than later. It has actually been a beneficial change for me.. Thanks so much!!!
    L Williams reprinted with permission

    To: Activity Directors Network
    Good Evening I wanted to let you know that I had completed mepap 1 and had only a couple weeks left of mepap 2 so I had looked at path 2 and have taken the activities test and passed so just sending in the application. I wanted to thank you for giving all your time to us even while Kathy was ill. It didn't go unnoticed, you was a great support and helpful at ideas or even different ways of changing thoughts to positive while feeling defeated. Thank You Stacey Passa AP-BC
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