News, tips and wisdom from the creators of the Best Friends™ Approach

Greetings from Virginia and David!

In our first-ever email newsletter, we're very excited to introduce A Dignified Life: Revised and Expanded, published just a couple weeks ago!  The new edition incorporates all that we have learned from people with dementia, their families, and professionals in the 10 years since we wrote the first Dignified Life.

Virginia: I’m excited that families have a book focused on their issues. Professionals know the person after they have been diagnosed. Families have a long history with the person and carry a lot of baggage.  I run into families all the time who say “but he used to…”   “she was….”  Making that transition is hard, and we’ve dealt with that in the book.

David:  I’m excited about replacing the term care giver with care partner. The new term conveys our understanding that our loved ones have a role to play in the relationship, too. As partners in care, we can bring out the best in our loved ones when we understand how to communicate and relate to them using the Best Friends™ Approach.

Virginia: Many of us have been concerned about the widespread use of psychtropic drugs. The new book offers ways to deal with challenging behavior and cut down on the use of drugs. So often, there is a better way to communicate and relate to a person to make them feel like a whole person so they don’t have to be on psychotropic drugs.

David:  Since no new dementia medications have appeared, we are learning that the treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease is socialization and the environment we create. To help families travel this journey, we offer a bigger focus on activities, on how to help people in early and late stages, and how to make caregiving less of a burden and more of a partnership.

Virginia: In the last 10 years, spirituality has come out of the closet. One of our deepest spiritual needs is the need to be known and to connect not only on a human level but also with something greater than ourselves. Persons with dementia have a great fear of being forgotten. In the book we talk about how important it is to call the person by the preferred name, to draw upon and bring forward things in a person’s life that have had meaning to them. We certainly have updated our concept of spirituality, in keeping with what has happened.

We hope you’ll be as enthusiastic as we are about the new edition. (Learn more about the book or place an order here.) The Best Friends™ Approach continues to be a positive, easy-to-learn strategy.  We hope that families who read and embrace this book will say that the Best Friends™ Approach has really made an enormous difference to them.

Sharing tips and stories relating to persons with dementia will be an ongoing focus of our future newsletters. Please share this newsletter with others who might be interested in the Best Friends™ Approach. If you have a question, comment, or idea you'd like to see covered in a newsletter, please write us at

Thanks for all you do as a Best Friend to loved ones with dementia.

David Troxel and Virginia Bell 

Share your "knack" stories and inspire someone else!

Real stories from real people are the backbone of The Best Friends Approach and A Dignified Life. Now a new book on “Knack” needs your contributions. How has the Best Friends™ Approach touched a person in your care and made life a little better, a little easier, for a moment? Whether you are a family care partner or a professional, your success stories and "aha" moments are sought for a collection of stories illustrating "the Knack" for effective, dignified relations with persons with dementia. If selected, your story and your name will be included in the new book.  (Your submission may also be used in publications, training, or advertising materials about the BF approach.) Click here for instructions on how to submit your story.


... to the 42 participants of this year’s Best Friends™ Approach Institute, held June 3-4 in  Louisville, Kentucky. Two days of intense training with Virginia Bell and Tonya Cox prepped participants to receive Master Trainer certification. Now they can train colleagues and create a culture-changing community of Best Friends™ care in their own facility. We hope to see you at next year’s Institute in Orlanda, Florida. Find details or register here.

Copyright © 2012, Virginia Bell and David Troxel. All rights reserved.
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