eNewsletter December 2014

In This Issue

Dementia…Learning through the Arts
Wrapping It Up for Personal Care Home Residents
Self-care: Get a Jump on Your New Year’s Resolutions
What is this snow angel all about?
Feelings Linger Even After Memories Fade
Minds in Motion: Upcoming Sessions
Caregiver Tips: Making the Holiday Season Delightful
Upcoming Education
Upcoming Support Groups
Upcoming Events


Are you affected by dementia?
Would you like to tell your story?

Do you have a story-2











We are now collecting stories from women living with dementia and their caregivers to support our nationwide January Alzheimer Awareness campaign. Please consider sending a photo and a short description to tell us a little of your story to rkrowelski@alzheimer.mb.ca. Short video clips are welcome, too!

Thank you!!


Dementia…Learning through the Arts

Is It WedGreatly feared and often misunderstood, dementia hardly seems fit fare for fun theatre. However, on Thursday, January 22, the Alzheimer Society is hosting ‘Dementia…Learning through the Arts’ with a short play and panel discussion about dementia.

Two Ladies on a Bench productions will perform Pam Calabrese MacLean’s play Is it Wednesday?, a short drama about Alzheimer’s disease. The play follows the conversation between two elderly ladies at a bus stop. It looks inside the difficulties of aging with dementia as language and memory change.

The play will be performed by two Winnipeg actors, Jane Burpee (MTC’s Pride & Prejudice; Humble Boy; Fringe productions Mary Rose, A Phoenix too Frequent) and Miriam Bronstein (with Winnipeg Jewish Theatre’s Today I am a Fountain Pen, The Rothschilds, A Shayna Maidel, Funny Girl; and as Grandma Tzeitl in MTC’s production of Fiddler on the Roof).

“We were first asked to perform this play for FemFest 2012, a national festival celebrating women theatre artists,” says Jane. “The characters are two gentle and lovable elderly women who are steadfast in their strength as they wait for the bus to come.”

This 12-minute play provides a great forum for discussion about dementia. Norma Kirkby, Program Director at the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, says this event is an opportunity for people to learn more about dementia through the arts.

“The play is edgy and clever while showing the realities of living with a disease that affects your understanding of the world around you,” says Norma. “It brings to light several topics that we often address at the Alzheimer Society; so, following the play, we have a panel of individuals joining us to discuss some of the main themes that emerge.”

The free public education event takes place from 7 to 8:30 pm on January 22 in the Samuel N. Cohen Auditorium at St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, 351 Tache Avenue, Winnipeg. (map)

“It is a very genuine and real way to delve into some sensitive issues,” says Norma. “This evening is designed to allow people to have a little fun while dealing with a very serious subject.

Those interested can register online at alzheimer.mb.ca or call 204-943-6622.

Content Warning: mature language and themes


Wrapping It Up for Personal Care Home Residents

Gold giftWhile most people love giving, it can be daunting to choose a gift that will be practical and enjoyed by a person with dementia who is living in a personal care home. To help out, we spoke with a dementia expert and three family caregivers of individuals with dementia to get some time-tested ideas about gifts that work and, just as importantly, will bring a smile to the face of the receiver.

Things to Consider

Before deciding on a list of possible presents, it’s important to consider some realities about the personal care home environment. As care homes are communal living facilities, often with limited storage space in resident rooms, gift givers need to assess where their potential gift can be kept when it’s not in use. Health issues, such as dietary limitations, also need to be carefully thought out.

Joyce Klassen, Dementia Care Education Coordinator at the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, says it’s a good idea to check with care home staff before bringing food items as a gift to a person in personal care. “Sometimes precautions are needed to ensure residents’ safety, and staff can advise about this,” she explains.

As well, staff know about policies that may affect whether or not a gift will be allowed. Some facilities have rules about scented items, so check before purchasing a favourite perfume. The same goes for policies regarding room decorations and safety; you don’t want to buy holiday lights if they are not allowed.

Ideas for Gifts

With considerations such as these in mind, what are some great gift ideas? Following are some suggestions from three caregivers.

Marilyn Davis, whose husband Dave lives in personal care, swears by books and magazines with lots of colourful, large pictures. “The idea is to find printed material about a topic the person is interested in,” she says. “Dave has always loved planes, so I find used books about planes – and he loves them!”

Marilyn also identifies music as a calming influence. Her daughter-in-law picked up an iPod Shuffle for Dave and programed it with some of his favourite songs. Staff members make sure it’s charged every night, and they turn it on for Dave’s listening pleasure during the day.

Margaret Smith’s mother is in personal care. Some favourite gifts she has received in the past include a photo album with enlarged pictures of her family when they were young. “Mom can always pick out her brothers and sisters,” says Margaret. Another great gift was a lap blanket given by her mother’s church group. The quilt has a different colour on each side so it can be turned over for a change.

Odele Kaplun has a couple of gift suggestions that have made her mother, who resides in a personal care home, very happy. “Mom loves to cuddle and carry around her stuffed dog, Bobby, and her new stuffed monkey, Gorgeous George, a gift from my nephew,” she says.  Odele also considers the gift of time to be valuable – especially when it involves a youngster. “When I bring my 23-month-old granddaughter in for a visit, my mom loves it, and so do the other residents!”

Whatever gift you choose for your friend or family member who is living in personal care, ensure that it is labelled. That way, everyone knows who the item belongs to, and it will provide pleasure to the receiver during the holiday season and beyond.



Self-care: Get a Jump on Your New Year’s Resolutions

coffee cupWith the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, it’s a good time to think about getting a jump on New Year’s resolutions.

If you are a caregiver of someone with dementia, chances are you spend more time thinking about others than you do yourself. This year’s resolution list should include a healthy dose of self-care ideas.

Make Time to Take Time

Finding time for yourself can sometimes be a daunting and even impossible task, yet it’s incredibly important for your quality of life and general well-being. The remedy? Resolve to make a conscious effort to be aware of your need for self-care and make time for yourself. This may mean doing something many caregivers find hard – asking for help.

“For many reasons, it may be difficult for caregivers to ask for help,” says Marilyn Marteense, First Link® Coordinator at the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. “But they need support to help them keep up with their responsibilities over the long-term, which in turn benefits the person they are caring for,” adds Marilyn.

To get the help you need, take advantage of your community and support systems. Don’t be shy about seeking assistance, even for something small. Having a small task completed by someone else goes a long way in easing your workload and relieving stress.

Take Time to Help a Caregiver

If you are not a caregiver yourself but know someone who is, consider making a resolution to be more proactive when you offer help. Instead of waiting for a caregiver to ask for assistance, use your initiative to think of things you can do. “Offer to go out with them for a coffee, take a meal over or ask if you can pop by for a short visit. Be specific and give the caregiver an offer they can accept,” says Marilyn. Be respectful, of course, but be proactive.

These are just a few examples of what could be done. If you have any ideas or suggestions for other New Year’s resolutions, please let us know! Share your ideas with us on Facebook or send an email. It’s never too early or too late to consider ways to improve your quality of life.

Make time, accept help and support one another. Happy holidays!




Would you like to know what this
snow angel is all about?

Check our home page on December 5
and follow the snow angels!




Spotlight on Current Research:
Feelings Linger Even After Memory Fades
in People with Alzheimer’s Disease

happy-sad masksA small study shows that people with Alzheimer’s disease continue to feel the emotions caused by an event well beyond the person’s memory of that event. The results of the study were reported online in Cognitive and Behavioural Neurology in September 2014.

One of the changes that can take place in Alzheimer’s disease is impairment in declarative memory – the knowledge of facts and events usually recalled with a conscious effort. The study explored whether the emotional state caused by an event will persist in a person with Alzheimer’s disease even after their memory of that event has faded.

Thirty-four participants were included in the study, 17 with probable Alzheimer’s disease and 17 healthy comparison participants. All participants watched film clips intended to induce feelings of either happiness or sadness. Emotions were evaluated at baseline and three times after watching the clips. A declarative memory test was also done after each of the three latter evaluations.

Results show that people with Alzheimer’s disease had impaired declarative memory, ranging from recalling significantly less information than the healthy participants, being unable to recall facts about the film or having no recollection of watching the film. Ratings of the emotional state show that all participants, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, experienced an increase in their level of emotions (happiness or sadness) immediately after watching the films, and the feelings persisted 30 minutes after viewing the films. Another significant finding in the study is the observation that, “those who had the worst memory for the sad films tended to experience the most prolonged states of sadness.”

Several limitations were identified in the study, including the small sample size, data being derived from self-reported feelings and that the happy films were not as effective as the sad films at inducing strong emotions. Despite these limitations, the study emphasized an important viewpoint about the emotional state of people with Alzheimer’s disease: a person may forget an event or information, but the feelings it caused will linger on.

The outcomes of this study are encouraging to family and friends of people with dementia who engage the person they care for in activities that stimulate the emotions.  Though the person may not remember the visit or the activity, the emotional benefit will live on, and that is a reward in itself.

Click here for further information.


Minds in Motion® Program: Upcoming Sessions

Jenga gameThe pilot for the new Minds in Motion® program, held in this fall at two locations in Winnipeg, was a great success! Registration for the January 2015 sessions opens December 15. Check our website after this date to find out how to become involved! The January sessions take place as follows:

The Wellness Institute – 1075 Leila Avenue (map)
Start date: Wednesday, January 7, 2015
End date: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Time: 2 to 4 pm


YMCA–YWCA of Winnipeg (South Location) – 5 Fermor Avenue (map)
Start date: Tuesday, January 13, 2015
End date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Time: 1:30 to 3:30 pm

Headingly Seniors’ Services – 5353 Portage Avenue (map)
Start date: Thursday, February 5, 2015
End date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
Time: 1:30 to 3:30 pm


Caregiving Tips

tipslogoMaking the Holiday Season Fun for Everyone

The holiday season is a time when families and friends come together. Below are some tips to help make this time of year more enjoyable and meaningful for you and the person you care for.




Plan Ahead

  • If you feel you’re not able to host the festivities this year, ask someone else to host or suggest a smaller event.
  • If family and friends have not seen the person with dementia recently, inform them of any changes and let them know what to expect.
  • Plan a variety of activities that the person with dementia can do with others. This will lessen the need for the person to make conversation all the time.

Ask for Help

  • Meet with family and friends to help you plan the gathering. Let them know about your caregiving situation and invite them to take on some responsibilities.
  • Ask family and friends to bring old photos. Be ready to reminisce, and let the person with dementia guide the conversation.
  • Assign a family member or friend to accompany the person during the celebrations. This ensures that the person’s needs are met and can help minimize confusion.

Involve the Person with Dementia

  • Include the person in planning the guest list and the menu, as well as in gift wrapping and decorating.
  • On the day of the family get-together, include the person in greeting the visitors, meal preparation and table setting.
  • In case the busyness of the day becomes overwhelming, designate someone to help the person find a quiet place to relax.

Look after Yourself

  • Take some time to rest before and after the gathering.
  • Suggest respite or relaxation time as a gift on your own wish list.
  • Understand that things may not turn out as planned despite your best efforts.
  • If you’re experiencing sadness or are feeling alone at this time of year, seek emotional support; call the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba at 204-943-6622 or the local office near you. We are here to help.


Upcoming Education


Dementia…Learning through the Arts
Thursday, January 22
7 to 8:30 pm
Samuel N. Cohen Auditorium, 351 Tache Ave., St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, Winnipeg (map)
Click here to register online or call 204-943-6622.


Living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias (Workshop)
These two-day workshop provides valuable information for those who are caring
for a person with dementia.
Saturdays, January 31 and February 7
9 am to 2 pm
Seine River Retirement Residence, 3035-1015 St. Anne’s Road, Winnipeg (map)
Click here to register or call 204-943-6622.

Caregiver Stress: The Potential Risks of Doing it all Yourself!
Thursday, February 12
7 to 8:30 pm
Lindenwood Manor, 475 Lindenwood Drive East, Winnipeg (map)
Click here to register or call 204-943-6622.

Experiencing Dementia
This is an eight-week classroom program uniting families and community members with
individuals who are experiencing the early stages of dementia.
Wednesdays, February 18 to April 8
10 to 11:30 am
Alzheimer Society Provincial Office, 10-120 Donald Street, Winnipeg (map)
Click here for more information or call 204-943-6622.

Money Matters: The Significance of Future Planning When a Chronic Disease Strikes
Wednesday, March 18
7 to 8:30 pm
Revera – The Wellington, 3161 Grant Avenue
Click here to register, or call 204-943-6622.

Living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias Workshop – French Session
Bien vivre avec la maladie d’Alzheimer ou autres maladies apparentées
Le samedi 7 mars 2015
9 h à 14 h
Villa Aulneau – 601, rue Aulneau (carte)
Cliquez ici pour vous inscrire, ou appelez 204-943-6622.


Dementia Care
The Dementia Care conference is a two-day learning opportunity for healthcare professionals caring for people with dementia.
Monday & Tuesday, March 9 & 10
9 am to 4:30 pm
Canad Inns Polo Park, 1405 St. Matthews Avenue, Winnipeg (map)
Click here for more information, or call 204-943-6622.
Online registration coming soon!


Upcoming Support Groups

Click here for information on Support Groups for People with Dementia

Click here for information on Support Groups for Family and Friends


Upcoming Events

image001Door to Door Campaign
The Alzheimer Society is looking for volunteers to knock on doors and request donations this January during Alzheimer Awareness Month.
If you can spare an hour or two canvassing a street in your neighbourhood, please register here or call 1-800-378-6699 for more information.


BrazilGet Ready for A Night to Remember in Brazil!
There are only a few tables left for the Alzheimer Society’s Annual Gala! Join guest speaker Dawna Friesen, anchor and executive editor of Global National, for an evening of great food, entertainment, raffles and auctions.
Thursday, February 12, 2015, 6 pm
RBC Convention Centre, 375 York Avenue, Winnipeg (map)
Click here for for more information.
We are currently accepting items for our auctions and balloon pops. If you’d like to donate an item or gift certificate, contact awoodward@alzheimer.mb.ca