Best Friends Institute

Best Friends Institute

The Best Friends™ Approach Institute
for Master Trainer Certification
May 8–9  |  Chicago, IL

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

For more information, email


2017 BFAI Group Photo

2017 Best Friends Institute. New Orleans, LA.


The Best Friends™ Institute is a two-day course to become a Master Trainer in the relationship-centered Best Friends™ Approach to Dementia Care. This training will teach you how to train others in the Best Friends™ Approach.

Registrants of the Best Friends™ Institute must have prior knowledge of the Best Friends™ approach. If you are new to Best Friends, see our Introductory Training options.



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


Aloft Chicago O’Hare
9700 Balmoral Avenue
Rosemont, IL 60018

Special Hotel Rates apply!  Click here for reservation rates applicable through April 21, 2018.


May 8–9, 2018


Early Bird: $1,260 per person until January 31, 2018

Standard Registration (beginning February 1, 2018): $1,575 per person

Register early – Spaces fill up quickly and registration is limited!

*NOTE: Only complete applications (registration forms and pretests) are considered.


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.

truxelDavid 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.



To begin registration, fill out the online Application form. Deadline to register is April 20, 2018.

Master Trainer Certification is a multi-step process. You must attend and complete the Best Friends™ Institute to be certified as a licensed trainer able to train staff members at your caregiving community. Once your application is received, you will be immediately redirected to the online pre-test, which tests your knowledge of the contents of the book and the understanding of the concepts. Because the Best Friends™ Institute is a master-level training, attendees are required to be familiar with the Best Friends™ philosophy and must score 80% or above on the pre-test.

Applicants who pass the pre-test will receive confirmation and an invoice for the registration fee. Payment is due within 10 days of invoice date or by April 20, 2018, whichever comes first. Registration will not be complete until payment has been received. Your place at the Institute is not reserved until all steps of the registration are completed. All registrations will be confirmed by email.

It is recommended that you not make non-refundable airline reservations until you have received your confirmation notice.


An Early Bird rate of $1,260 per person is available for any application received by 11:59pm on January 31, 2018. Beginning February 1, 2018, registration will be at the standard rate of $1,575 per person.

Space is limited at Master Trainer Institutes. Apply early.



Aloft Chicago O’Hare
9700 Balmoral Avenue
Rosemont, IL 60018
(847) 671-4444

A limited number of rooms at the Aloft Chicago O’Hare have been reserved at a discounted rate for May 6–9, which are available on a first come, first served basis until April 21, 2018. For the discount hotel room rate and information, and to make your reservations, use only the custom reservation link:

The rate is $169/night for a single/double room with two queen or one king bed (including complimentary high-speed Internet access) and does not include applicable
state and local taxes, surcharges, parking, or other incidental fees. The discounted rate is also applicable for 3 days prior to and 3 days after these dates based on availability and made through the link. Reservations made after April 21, 2018, are subject to availability and the prevailing commercial rates.

Aloft Chicago O’Hare is a smoke-free facility. All Aloft policies prevail.


The Aloft Chicago O’Hare is located 5 minutes from the nearby O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The hotel provides complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle services. Attendees are responsible for their travel and accommodations costs.


Should you be unable to attend the Institute after registering, you must notify HPP no later than April 20, 2018, via mail, fax, or email in order to receive a 75% credit (or refund if already paid in full). Applicants registered for attendance who need to cancel on or before April 20, 2018 remain responsible for 25% of the registration fee to cover costs associated with pre-test administration and materials preparation; if not already pre-paid, applicants will be invoiced for this processing fee. Registrants who cancel after April 20, 2018, or are no-shows will be held responsible for the full amount of their registration fee.

Although no credits or refunds will be available after April 20, 2018, organizations may choose to send qualified substitutes, pending HPP approval and space permitting. Substitutes must:

  1. Submit a completed application to HPP, and
  2. Complete and pass the qualifying pre-test, and
  3. Receive approval from HPP for attendance at least 5 business days in advance of the Institute

Health Professions Press reserves the right to cancel the training and will inform registrants by March 12, 2018. In such event, full refunds of the registration fee will be issued; HPP will not refund for expenses above the cost of registration.


For full details, please see our full 2018 Institute Policies and Procedures.


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!

The Best Friends Approach developers and authors, Virginia Bell and David Troxel

World-Renowned Developers and Authors 

Virginia 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 five 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.

“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