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CAREGIVING-ALZHEIMER’S/DEMENTIA

“The best results of caring for an individual with dementia stem from
staying in tune with the person. . . . This planner aids in doing just that.”
—Jamie Huff, QDCP, Community Outreach Coordinator,
Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County, TX

“This planner makes the concepts come alive in day-to-day
interactions. . . . We’re excited to put this resource in the hands
of the people who need it most—our front-line staff.”

More than 200 activities,
guiding principles, and
reflection questions

—Jean Summers, SVP ALF division Americare

T

he Best Friends™ Daily Planner shows
you how simple it is to be a Best Friend
to a person with dementia each and every day.
Organized around the Best Friends™ Dementia Bill
of Rights, this handy and practical tool provides
you with Best Friends guiding principles, activities,
and reflection questions to support your caregiving
each week.

✶ Guiding Principles: Learn how to

follow the Best Friends approach with these
reminders and tips

The Best Friends™ Daily
Planner can be used as an
individual resource or with
any of the many books in
the world-renowned Best
Friends™ product suite.
Developed by dementia care
experts Virginia Bell and
David Troxel, Best Friends™
is a sensitive and sensible
approach to dementia care
based on the essential elements of friendship: respect,
empathy, support, trust, and
humor.

“ Activities: Implement over 150 quick,
easy, and unconventional activities

 Reflection Questions: Record what works and what doesn’t—
both for you and your Best Friend
With ample space to record your thoughts and the reactions of the persons
with dementia you care for, this invaluable tool will guide you through the
year and provide a record of your caregiving experiences for years to come.
ISBN-13: 978-1-938870-30-9
ISBN-10: 1-938870-30-1

90000

healthpropress.com/bestfriends
healthpropress.com/aboutbestfriends

9 781938 870309

Daily
Planner
Virginia Bell
David Troxel

More than 200 activities,
guiding principles, and
reflection questions

Daily
Planner

In case of loss, please return to:

What is Best Friends™?
Best Friends is a method of care for people with dementia. This comprehensive
approach is grounded in the understanding that relationships are supremely important in dementia care and require the
essential elements of friendship: respect,
empathy, support, trust, and humor.

The Best Friends approach is completely
person-centered and flexible enough
to adapt to each person’s remaining
strengths and abilities. To read a complete overview of the Best Friends model
of care visit www.healthpropress.com/
Best-Friends-Overview.
Knack 
Defined as—the art of doing difficult
things with ease, the Knack represents
an attitude and set of skills that guarantee the success of the Best Friends™
approach. The elements of Knack central
to the Best Friends™ approach include:
•  Being well informed
• Having empathy
• Respecting the basic rights of the
person
• Maintaining caregiving integrity
• Employing finesse
• Knowing it is easier to get forgiveness
than to get permission
• Using common sense
• Communicating skillfully
• Maintaining optimism
• Setting realistic expectations
• Using humor
• Employing spontaneity
• Maintaining patience
• Developing flexibility
• Staying focused
• Being nonjudgmental
• Valuing the moment
• Maintaining self-confidence
• Using cueing tied to the Life Story
• Taking care of oneself
• Planning ahead
Life Story 
Also at the core of Best Friends™ is the
understanding that good dementia
care begins with acknowledgement of a

person’s life story. Because people with
dementia often can no longer tell us their
histories, care partners must become
their biographers, even if it means becoming a good detective. The more a care
partner knows about a person, the more
he or she can use the life story to improve
interactions and care, including
• Greeting the person and improving
recognition
• Introducing the person to others
• Reminiscing
• Improving communication through
clues and cues
• Designing appropriate activities
• Pointing out past accomplishments
• Helping to prevent challenging
behaviors
• Incorporating past daily rituals
• Broadening the caregiving network
and resources
Compassionate Speech 
The Best Friends™ philosophy of communication is grounded in a set of core
principles:
• Remember the basics of good
communication
• Understand the person’s desire to
communicate
• Make a good first impression
• Create an environment that facilitates
good communication
• Treat the person as an adult
• Maintain caregiving integrity
• Respond to emotional needs
• Remember the importance of
nonverbal communication
• Remember that behaviors communi cate a message
• Do not take the person too literally
• Employ good timing
• Use repetition to facilitate better
communication
• Do not argue or confront
• Screen out troubling messages or
news
• Speak using positive language
• Employ humor in communication
• Do most of the work

Dementia

Bill of
Rights
Every person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other
dementia deserves:
• To be informed of one’s diagnosis
• To have appropriate, ongoing medical care
• To be treated as an adult, listened to, and afforded respect
for one’s feelings and point of view
• To be with individuals who know one’s life story,
including cultural and spiritual traditions
• To experience meaningful engagement throughout
the day
• To live in a safe and stimulating environment
• To be outdoors on a regular basis
• To be free from psychotropic medications whenever
possible
• To have welcomed physical contact, including hugging,
caressing, and handholding
• To be an advocate for oneself and for others
• To be part of a local, global, or online community
• To have care partners well trained in dementia care

The Best Friends™ Dementia Bill of Rights by Virginia Bell & David Troxel. Copyright © 2013 Health Professions Press, Inc.

About This Planner

H

ave you been wondering how to ensure you are providing
the best dementia care? The Best Friends™ model of care
for people with dementia is a proven, strengths-based approach grounded in the understanding that loving relationships
are supremely important in dementia care. In this approach, caregivers are encouraged to treat the person with dementia as a Best
Friend by embracing the essential elements of friendship: respect,
empathy, support, trust, and humor. Best Friends also take the
time to learn the person with dementia’s Life Story and employ the
Knack, “the art of doing difficult things with ease,” in everyday interactions. If you’re new to the approach, look into the Best Friends
book series at www.healthpropress.com/bestfriends.
The Best Friends™ Daily Planner provides you with Best Friends
guiding principles, activities, and reflection questions to support your caregiving each week. With ample space to record your
thoughts and the reactions of the persons with dementia who you
care for, this invaluable tool will guide you through the year and
provide a record of your caregiving experiences for the years to
come. Filled with easy-to-implement activities and reminders of
the core tenets of the Best Friends™ model of care, this handy and
practical book shows you how simple it is to be a Best Friend to a
person with dementia each and every day.
And the best part is, The Best Friends™ Daily Planner is completely
customizable to meet your needs. Divided by months that highlight each of the 12 Best Friends Dementia Rights and labeled with
dates that aren’t day-of-the-week specific, the planner gives you the
flexibility to start at any point of the year!
We love to hear from our Best Friends. If you have an experience,
story, or activity that you would like to share, email bestfriends@
healthpropress.com and you could be in the next Best Friends
book!*
*Visit healthpropress.com/bestfriendsknack for complete details.
iii

Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles of Best Friends encourage you to honor
the person with dementia’s Life Story and always treat him as you
would a best friend, with respect, trust, and humor. Throughout
the year, this planner will include reminders and tips for following
the core tenets of this approach. Think about these Guiding Principles as you go about your day and try to incorporate them into
your everyday interactions with your Best Friend.
 

“ Activities
You will learn that activities are everywhere—from the short and
simple (e.g., make a funny face) to things that you might typically
see as chores (e.g., folding clothes). Best Friends teaches you that
“the art of activities is not in what is done, it is in the doing.” An
activity can be any opportunity that provides for social engagement
and interaction. Activities don’t need to be structured and lengthy.
The important thing is doing something together. Here you will find
over 150 quick, easy, and unconventional activities that will make
your Best Friend smile!
 

 Reflections

To truly become a Best Friend, you have to ask yourself, “How
would the confusing experiences of dementia make me feel?” Think
about the reflection question throughout your day and write down
your thoughts and feelings in the space provided. With the help of
these reflection questions, you can record what works and what
doesn’t—both for you and your Best Friend.
 

iv

January

Every person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
disease or other dementia deserves

To be informed of
one’s diagnosis

Bill of
Rights

COMSTOCK IMAGES/PHOTOS.COM

Dementia

COMSTOCK IMAGES/PHOTOS.COM

January
1

Remember
great inventions
Talk to your Best Friend about
the Titanic, the printing press,
the steam engine, Model Ts, the
telephone, televisions, etc.

“

2

3

Understand
that being a Best
Friend takes
flexibility, a
sense of humor,
finesse, and
empathy.

4

January
5

6

7

Read classic
short stories
Pick a short story that is
important to you or your Best
Friend. Share your love of the
story together.

“

January
8

How do you celebrate
spirituality with your
Best Friend?


9

10

11

January
12

13

14

Look at family
photos
Talk about the fashions
of the time.

“
15

Finish Bible
verses
Alternatively, read a philosophy
book or book of famous quotes.

“

January
16

Do not
argue,
confront,
or correct
your Best
Friend.

17

18

Evoke a memory
from the Life Story
of your Best Friend
Talk about pets or a notable
place your Best Friend
lived or visited.

“

19

January
20

21

22

23

Try out a new
shade of lipstick
Or try a new scarf, tie,
suspenders, or belt.

“

January
24

Fold clothes
together
Comment on the colors and
textures. Talk about changing
fashions.

“

25

26

27

Ask your
Best Friend
for her
opinion.

January
28

29

30

Ask simple
trivia questions
How many states are there?

“
31

Give a
hand massage

“