Best Friends Institute

Best Friends Institute

The Best Friends™ Approach Institute for Master Trainer Certification

May 23-24, 2017
New Orleans, LA



BFAI 2016 Group Photo

Master Trainers from the 2016 Institute in Nashville, TN

The Best Friends™ Approach Institute is your path to becoming a Certified Best Friends™ Master Trainer, please review our Guidelines here.

For more information, please email

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:  Nurses, Social Workers, Long Term Care Administrators, Adult Day Care and Activity Specialists, Care Professionals, Marketing and Outreach Professionals, Executive Directors, and Aging Consultants.

WHAT:  A two-day relationship-centered dementia care Master Training in the Best Friends™ Approach to Dementia Care.  This training will teach you how to train others in the Best Friends™ approach (Note: Registrants must have prior knowledge of the Best Friends™ approach)

WHERE: Sheraton New Orleans Hotel500 Canal Street. New Orleans, LA 70130 

WHEN:   May 23-24, 2017

FEES: $1,575 per person   *NOTE: Only complete applications (registration forms and pretests) are considered.  Register early – Spaces fill up quickly and registration is limited!

YOUR INSTRUCTORS: David Troxel, M.P.H, the internationally acclaimed co-author of The Best Friends™ Approach to Dementia Careand Expert Trainers Tonya Cox, M.S.W. and Cynthia Lilly, M.S.W.

Special Hotel Rates apply! Click on Starwood Sheraton New Orleans Reservations for reservation rates applicable through May 8, 2017

Read the Policies and Procedures for the 2017 Institute for helpful details (Hotel, Transportation, Deadlines and Cancellation Policies) 

Apply Today! The registration process begins here. 


BFAI 2015 class

2015 Institute group photo;Vancouver, WA/Portland, OR

BFAI14 Group Photo

  2014 Institute group photo; Baltimore, MD


2013 Institute group photo; Orlando, FL


Expert Leaders—world class instructors

bellVirginia Bell, M.S.W., is a recognized pioneer in dementia care.  Awarded Robert Wood Johnson funding to establish one of the first dementia-specific adult day programs, she went on to create Best Friends™ with David Troxel.  Bell speaks internationally on Best Friends™ and is Program Consultant for the Greater Kentucky/Southern Indiana Alzheimer’s Association chapter.




David Troxel, M.P.H., a consultant on dementia for the long-term care industry and an accomplished trainer, has co-authored 5 books with Virginia Bell. Troxel is known worldwide for his writings and teaching in the fields of Alzheimer’s care, staff development, training, and culture change in long-term care.




Tonya M. Cox, M.S.W.,Director of Home and Community Based Services at Christian Care Communities, Inc., began developing activities for persons with memory loss in 1995. Cox teaches and presents on activity programming and caring for persons with dementia, she is a co-author of 2 Best Friends™ books.




Cindy LillyCynthia K. Lilly, M.S.W., is a recognized dementia/memory care consultant, trainer, educator, and speaker, who has advocated and promoted the Best Friends™ approach to dementia care throughout a career spanning more than 30 years. During her 8-year tenure with Atria Senior Living, she was instrumental in the conception, design, and implementation of the Dementia Care Program, which has received national and international recognition for creative programming.



About Best Friends™

Best Friends uses respect, empathy, support, trust, and humor as the building blocks of this evidence-based approach to Alzheimer’s care. Caregivers around the world agree that this uplifting method brings meaningful change to individuals with dementia and for their families and the staff caring for them. Endorsed by experts in Alzheimer’s care, described in journals in the field, and used by prestigious corporations, programs adopting Best Friends™ know they are introducing high-quality service. Become certified as a Master Trainer for your program and create a culture-changing community of Best Friends™ care!

Who will benefit from this seminar:
Supervisors, managers, administrators, and direct care staff from adult day centers, assisted living communities, nursing home facilities, in-home programs, and other long-term care settings as well as dementia training consultants, family caregiver program managers, community relations coordinators, and client care coordinators.

Master Trainer Certification Details

Master Trainer certification is conferred on professionals who successfully complete their training at The Best Friends™ Approach Institute. Join our group at the next Institute and you will:

  • Complete training with the Best Friends™ Expert Leaders
  • Become versed in teaching the Best Friends™ Approach to others
  • Leave with exercises and games for staff education, easily implementable training techniques, tips for staff retention, and creative resources to distinguish your memory care program
  • Be able to download PowerPoint slides and other training materials for replication and use in the Master Trainer’s location (available following training and final certification)
  • Obtain a Best Friends™ branded flash drive to hold files
  • Receive training materials and handouts formatted in a binder for attendees to keep and re-use
  • Gain access to web-based updates and other information about Best Friends™ from the Expert Leaders and HPP
  • Study with like-minded colleagues in a professional learning environment
  • Take home your choice of a Best Friends™ book autographed for you by the Expert Leaders
  • Receive discounts on Best Friends™ products and other special offers throughout the year
  • Receive your certification (thereafter renewable annually) as a Best Friends™ Master Trainer

 Privileges of Master Trainer achievement include:

  • A license for the trainer, with personal certificate, to train as a Master Trainer for his/her employer
  • A license for the employing organization to use other Best Friends™ name, logo, and other materials
  • The designation of Best Friends™ Environment for the employing organization
  • The knowledge to train staff, including concentrated training in adult learning principles and the core tenets of the Best Friends philosophy
  • The option for eligible Master Trainers (e.g., those who are self-employed) to qualify to conduct income-generating introductory trainings on the Best Friends™ Approach model. Contact for more information.


“The Best Friends method is an innovative, sensitive, and unique approach that can greatly improve the quality of life for patients with the most devastating disease known to man.”
—William R. Markesbery, M.D., Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky.