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Tressa Nese and Helen Diskevich
Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence


Nursing Home Toolkit

Resources to help staff in senior living communities promote nonpharmacologic behavioral health strategies to address behavioral and psychological symptoms of distress (BPSD) that frequently occur in long-term care residential settings, especially among residents with dementia.

This Toolkit was prepared for The Commonwealth Fund in collaboration with the The John A. Hartford Foundation. Ann Kolanowski, RN, Ph.D., and Kimberly Van Haitsma, Ph.D., served as the coordinators of the expert panel who compiled much of the information contained in the toolkit.

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Promoting Positive Behavioral Health: A Nonpharmacologic Toolkit for Senior Living Communities

Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey

Donald Ford, the first dean of Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development, wrote this book after the death of his wife, Carol, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 73. He uses his experiences caring for Carol as an example of the developmental model of elder care, which focuses on helping a person lead a satisfying life despite limitations. Part memoir and part self-help book, it’s intended to spark understanding of an alternative way to care for aging loved ones. Listen to Ann Kolanowski’s review at

PELI: Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory 

Developed by a team of researchers led by Dr. Kimberly VanHaitsma, the PELI is a 72-item validated instrument shown to indicate nursing home residents’ most strongly held preferences. The Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory is a questionnaire in conversational language that helps caregivers for older adults offer daily care responsive to individual preferences. 

Versions of the PELI for varied populations and applications are available at


Nese College of Nursing named a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence