HPP Trainings

The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care

Training and Certification

Best Friends logo

People with dementia deserve the best care.

What people experiencing memory loss need most of all is someone dedicated to helping them feel safe, secure, and valued—at all stages of the disease. Adopting the internationally acclaimed Best Friends™ approach helps professional and family care providers gain the skills and confidence needed for this critical role.

HPP’s premier training program is built around the world-renowned Best Friends™ approach to dementia care. The virtual trainings offered range from introductory training to advanced, including Master Trainer certification. The Master Trainer program is designed to produce a qualified on-site staff member who can provide ongoing training, coaching, support, inspiration, and programming advice for every level of staff at that location.

Do you want a training just for you and your staff? Best Friends trainings can be customized to meet the needs of your organization!

About Best Friends™

The person-centered Best Friends™ approach is grounded in the understanding that relationships are supremely important in dementia care and should reflect the essential elements of friendship: respect, empathy, support, trust, and humor. This approach promotes the dignity and individual rights of people with memory loss through knowing the history and preferences of each person, communicating skillfully, and providing a supportive environment.

Why it Works

Using the Best Friends approach improves every aspect of care—from activities to personal care. It gives confidence to staff and makes elders feel safe, secure, and valued. Applying a friendship model, staff develop skills to communicate better and build the self-esteem of their residents. Behaviors are minimized, activities improve, mealtimes and personal care run smoother, and overall quality excels. Everyone wins: residents, families, staff, providers, and owners.

Visit our Best Friends page to learn more!

Training Options

Choose from three interactive Best Friends training options!

Introductory Training

New to Best Friends? Our introductory training will get you familiar with the approach! This virtual training program introduces the core elements of this life-affirming approach in 2 hours of interactive learning. A great training option for staff new to dementia care!

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Master Trainer Certification

In this 12-hour virtual training, participants become Best Friends™ Certified Master Trainers (BF-CMT) and learn how to lead an organization in implementing Best Friends practices. 9 CEUs are available, plus Master Trainers have access to the Best Friends Portal with exclusive training resources available for download!

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Customized Training

Do you want a training just for you and your staff? Does your organization want training on a specific topic? We can work with you to customize a training to fit your needs! Offered both virtually and in-person, a qualified Best Friends trainer can provide the custom training you’re looking for. Choose one of our featured topics or tell us your needs!

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Meet the Trainers!

All trainings are conducted by Best Friends Expert Leaders

David TroxelDavid Troxel, M.P.H.

Based in northern California, David Troxel is nationally and internationally known for his expertise in the fields of dementia & long-term care. He has co-authored (with Virginia Bell) six influential books, including his newest book, The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care, Second Edition, and written numerous articles relating to dementia care and staff development and training.

He is a writer, trainer, and long-term care consultant who has spoken at over 500 conferences including keynote presentations at various U.S., Canadian, and international conferences. He served for a decade as the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara (California) Alzheimer’s Association (1994-2004). He also helped support his mother, Dorothy, in her 10-year journey living with Alzheimer’s disease.

David’s areas of expertise include best care practices for persons with dementia, caregiver support, staff training, and long-term care program development.

More information about David’s work can be found on his website at www.bestfriendsapproach.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bestfriendsapproach. 

Tonya CoxTonya M. Cox, M.S.W., L.N.H.A

With a long history of supporting Best Friends™ approaches in dementia care, Tonya Cox currently ensures that training and implementation of Best Friends™ practices are maintained across all care settings for the regional Kentucky-based operator Christian Care Communities in her role as Vice President of Operations. She notably blended the Best Friends approach into a Green House® site as the former Executive Director for The Homeplace at Midway. And before that was Director of Community Based Services for Christian Care, which included overseeing the original Best Friends™ Adult Day Center in Lexington, Kentucky. For more than 15 years Tonya has been developing programs and services for persons with dementia and their caregivers, including working on national curriculum development for professional caregivers in various care settings and serving as Vice President for Mission and Service for the Greater Kentucky/Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Tonya presents locally and nationally on activity programming and dementia care. She is a co-author on two of the Best Friends™ books (The Best Friends Book of Alzheimer’s Activities, Volume One and Volume Two) and contributed to The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care, Second Edition, with Virginia Bell and David Troxel. She has served as co-chair of the Kentucky Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Council and is a practicum supervisor for both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work. Tonya is also Adjunct Professor at Midway University in their Health Care Administration Program.

Wendy SchragWendy Schrag, RN-BC

Board certified in Geriatrics and educated in nursing, behavioral science, and long-term care management, Wendy Schrag is highly qualified for her longtime work with people living with dementia. She is Senior Clinical Operations Manager for Touchmark, a provider of multi-level senior housing that includes dedicated memory care on its 15 campuses across 10 northwestern states plus Canada. Certified as a Master Trainer since 2013, Wendy was instrumental in designing and implementing programs to train Touchmark staff in the Best Friends approach. Progressing from Memory Care Manager for just one community to Memory Care Support Manager for the entire organization, she provided guidance and education on person-centered care and Best Friends™ practices to nurses and other care staff at all Touchmark communities before assuming her current responsibilities.

Wendy also gives informational presentations to the public on issues relating to dementia and is trained as an Alzheimer’s Association Support Group Facilitator, working with families who are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other age-related dementia.

Best Friends Products

Learn more about Best Friends with our suite of products!

NEW from Best Friends!

The Best Friends™ Staff
Learning to Deliver Exceptional Dementia Care
Second Edition

Staff members are key to excellent person-centered dementia care, and outstanding memory care programs can only be created with staff education and training that builds empathy, understanding, and skills. This second edition of The Best Friends Staff is a comprehensive guide to unlocking unparalleled quality of life for individuals with memory loss while nurturing the well-being of the dedicated staff providing care.


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