eNewsletter January 2015

In This Issue

January Awareness Month: Women are the 72 per cent
Women: The 72 per cent – Personal Stories
January Education Seminar: Learning about Dementia through the Arts
A Worthy Goal: Alzheimer Society Staff Strive for Greater Awareness in 2015
Canvassers’ Stories: They’re Coming to Your Door in January
Spotlight on Research: Link Between Diabetes and Cognitive Decline
Research Project Seeks Participants
Caregiving Tips: Travelling with a Person with Dementia
Your Holiday Gift Made Twice the Difference!
Angels for Alzheimer’s
Upcoming Education
Upcoming Support Groups
Upcoming Events

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January Awareness Month: Women are the 72 per cent

group of womenDid you know that 72 per cent of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease are women? It may be that someone special in your life is affected – your mother, wife, sister, grandmother or friend – even you.

This January, during Alzheimer Awareness Month, the Alzheimer Society wants everyone to take action, share the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and take steps to reduce your risk.

“We want to get everyone talking about this disease. Families need to know that they are not the only ones who are affected and that there are resources available to help,” says Wendy Schettler, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.

Warning signs, often misunderstood or ignored, are critical. In the absence of a cure, early diagnosis allows for treatment and support so people can live as well as possible and start planning for their future needs.

“If someone forgets how to do something they’ve done their whole life, or if a person becomes easily disoriented and gets lost in a familiar place, it may be time for an assessment,” says Wendy Schettler, CEO of the Alzheimer Society. “If you are concerned about yourself or someone in your life, call us – we are here to help,” Schettler adds.

The Alzheimer Society can help prepare you for your doctor’s appointment and provide more information on how you will be assessed. If a diagnosis is made, they can help you figure out your next steps.

We want everyone to visit alzheimer.mb.ca/the72percent. Take a moment to learn the warning signs and ways to reduce your risk of developing dementia.

One in three Manitobans has a family member or close personal friend with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Last year in Manitoba alone, there were more than 4,500 new cases.

The Alzheimer Society offers supportive counseling, education, support groups, information on community resources and so much more. No one should have to face this disease alone. The Alzheimer Society can help.


Women: The 72 Per Cent
Personal Stories

BenMother and Son
Dr. Ben Albensi knows a thing or two about Alzheimer’s disease. In his professional life, he is Principal Investigator in the Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders at the St. Boniface Research Centre, where he studies how memory works. In his spare time, he serves as a volunteer board member of the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, where he helps to guide the direction of the organization.

With this extensive background, Dr. Albensi is well aware that 72 per cent of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. In fact, his own mother was diagnosed in 2013, and it’s this personal experience with the disease that really hits home for him.

“Mom was always a talker, but she has very little to say now – she has to be encouraged to talk,” says Dr. Albensi of his 91-year-old mother, who resides in a personal care facility. “To see this dramatic shift in her personality is alarming.”

The painful reality of his mother’s illness gives Dr. Albensi even more motivation to carry on with his important research into Alzheimer’s disease. While there is controversy among scientists regarding gender differences, he has a special interest in this area of study so light can be shed on why women are more affected.

“There is solid evidence that aging is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, and because women live longer than men, it follows that more women are affected,” says Dr. Albensi who is also Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba, Department of Pharmacology. “As well, research is examining the possible role of sex hormones in the disease; women experience a rapid decrease in estrogen at menopause, while men’s decrease in testosterone is gradual.”

Tannis and MomMother and Daughter
Tannis Evans may not be able to say what caused her mother to become, at age 52, one of the 72 per cent of women with Alzheimer’s disease. However, she intimately understands the challenges caregivers – many of whom are women – must face. Tannis was only 20 when her mother, Norma, was diagnosed eight years ago. “It’s been tough; my mom cared for me my whole life, but then suddenly our roles switched; I didn’t think I’d be caring for her at such a young age when she was still so young herself.”

Ultimately, Tannis, her sister and her father accepted the diagnosis and reached out to the Alzheimer Society to access information and support. “I’ve become more patient, and we’ve learned to take each stage as it comes, even though it’s not easy to accept the changes,” she says.

Tannis now values things that don’t have a price tag – things like a smile from her mom, who can no longer talk and reminisce with her family members. “I’m getting married in May, and mom’s presence will mean a lot to me, even though she may not understand what is going on.”

Information and Support
Dr. Albensi encourages people in Tannis’ position to reach out to the Alzheimer Society for help. As a Board member, he can attest to the quality of the programs and to the dedication of the staff.

He’s also grateful to the Society for informing the public about research findings. “We are always looking for ways to disseminate knowledge – if you keep an eye on the Society’s website, you’ll stay informed about the most current findings on the topic of Alzheimer’s disease.”


January Education Seminar:
Learn about Dementia though the Arts

Ladies On BenchLooking for some entertainment while learning more about a serious topic from an insider’s perspective? Well look no further. The Alzheimer Society is hosting Dementia…Learning through the Arts, a short play and panel discussion about dementia.

This free public education event takes place Thursday, January 22, 2015 from 7 to 8:30 pm in the Samuel N. Cohen Auditorium at St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre – 351 Tache Avenue, Winnipeg. The evening will open with a performance of Pam Calabrese MacLean’s play Is it Wednesday? by Two Ladies on a Bench productions. The 12-minute skit follows the conversation between two elderly ladies at a bus stop.

“The play provides a great forum for a candid discussion about dementia,” says Norma Kirkby, Program Director, Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. “We are excited to have an amazing panel of individuals join us for the evening. They will touch on different aspects of the disease from various perspectives.”

The panel discussion will start with Dr. Barry Campbell, Medical Director of Geriatric Psychiatry at
St. Boniface General Hospital, who will discuss Diagnosing dementia. It’s more than memory. He will talk about the warning signs, the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment options.

Gary Quinton, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, will continue the conversation with Having dementia. Life goes on. Gary will tell you about when he first started noticing changes in his memory and how he and his wife Judy maintain an active lifestyle that allows them to enjoy day-to-day life.

“Gary speaks so passionately about how he lives life to the fullest, despite his disease,” says Norma. “It goes to show life does not end after a diagnosis is made.”

Next, Bob Thompson will give insight from a caregiver’s perspective through his topic, Supporting caregivers. A team approach. Bob will discuss the need for caregiver support and why it is important to build your care team of family, friends, medical practitioners and community services.

Lastly, Wendy Schettler, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, will discuss Caring. It takes a community. Hear her thoughts about the role each person has in creating a caring community that provides quality of life for both people with dementia and those who care for them.

“We feel it will be an enjoyable way to discuss some very sensitive issues,” says Norma. “The evening will wrap up with an opportunity for the audience to get involved and ask questions they may have.”

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

Content Warning: mature language and themes for Pam Calabrese MacLean’s play Is it Wednesday?


A Worthy Goal:
Alzheimer Society Staff Strive for Greater Awareness in 2015

Promotional MaterialHappy New Year everyone! Just before the holiday break, Alzheimer Society of Manitoba staff members reflected on their goals for the upcoming year. While lots of great ideas emerged from this exercise, a resounding commonality arose across all departments: everyone expressed the desire to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias while also letting people know about the programs and services we offer.

People from different departments plan to raise awareness in different ways.

Information for Caregivers

Client Support Coordinator Jobey Varkey and her colleagues provide information to caregivers. They want to ensure that the caregivers they speak with – many of who spend countless hours caring for a family member or friend with dementia­ – understand the importance of caring for themselves. “Everyone needs to remember the importance of self-care,” says Jobey. “I plan to remind each person I talk to about this.”

The educators at the Society want to communicate with family and professional caregivers about ways to enhance the care they provide for people affected by dementia. “I want to help more caregivers gain better insight into the changes people with dementia go through,” says Jennifer Vincente-Licardo, Education Coordinator. “We use various experiential activities to do this, giving caregivers a hands-on understanding of cognitive, physical, sensory and communication changes.”

Extending Our Reach

For regional staff working in six communities across the province, coverage is key. Laurie Church, Programs staff in the Parkland Region, wants to increase awareness about dementia in her area. “We’re a fairly new office in a large geographical area,” she says. “One of my goals is to reach out to the smaller communities in our region to let them know about our programs and services.”

All Fund Development staff expressed a desire to increase fundraising to support our ability to deliver top-notch programs and services. Some of these fundraising goals are specific to Alzheimer Society events. “I want to spread awareness by increasing the number of community Memory Walks in personal care homes and retirement communities,” says Allison Woodward, Events Coordinator.

For those in Communications, raising awareness is a top priority. The department is always trying to come up with new ways to reach people. “My goal is to work with my colleagues in Communications, as well as in the Society as a whole, to find fresh and unique ideas for stories and campaigns that will attract the attention of the people we serve and the wider community,” states Lorna Wenger, Communications Coordinator.

This is just a sampling of our goals for the year. If you’re reading this, you already know about some of the programs and services available to those affected by dementia, so you can help us create greater awareness by letting others know that we are here to help.

Making Lives Better

“My main goal is to better the lives of people impacted by dementia through their connection with the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba,” says Wendy Schettler, CEO.

Together, we can all unite under the banner of awareness and make 2015 a great year.


Canvassers’ Stories:
They’re Coming to Your Door in January

Door to doorJanuary may be the coldest month of the year, but it’s also a month that warms the hearts of people with dementia and their families. That’s because during January, volunteers go door to door to raise money for the Alzheimer Society.

Mary-Ann Oliver of Winnipeg is one of the friendly volunteers who has appeared on the doorsteps of her neighbours for many years. She participates in the Alzheimer Society’s Door to Door campaign because her mother, who passed away in 2000, had the disease.

“People tend to stay indoors in the cold months, so you don’t see your neighbours very much,” she says. “I’ve always enjoyed getting out there to canvass – it lets me reconnect with my friends and neighbours to see how they are doing.”

Mary-Ann now lives in an apartment building and health issues are making it a little more difficult for her to get around, so last year she decided to try something new with her canvassing. With permission from the superintendent, she set up a table in the lobby with the campaign material and got down to business.

“I had a great response. I set up by the mailboxes where everyone could easily see me,” she says. “I talked with lots of people that I hadn’t met before…a man with dementia even came to the table with a friend because he wanted to give money.”

Mary-Ann is taking the same approach again this year and looks forward to lots of conversation in the lobby while she raises money for the Society.

Winnipeg is not the only community with avid canvassers like Mary-Ann. Elaine Wood lives in Oakville, Manitoba, a small town south of Highway 1 between Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie.

Elaine, whose late husband had Alzheimer’s disease, has raised money for Door to Door in January for several years. She, too, decided to take her campaign indoors last year. She strolls the hallways at an apartment complex and a condo development to collect for the Society.

“I’m a people person, and I know everyone in town because I’ve live here all my life,” says the enthusiastic 81-year-old great-grandmother, who meets residents for coffee while she’s canvassing.

“I love doing this because I want to stay active and mobile,” says Elaine. She is also pleased to extend a helping hand to people who need the services offered by the Alzheimer Society.

When canvassers, such as Mary-Ann and Elaine, come to your door during January’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, please give generously. If you would like to be a canvasser in the Door to Door campaign, it’s not too late! You can register as a canvasser online, or call the Alzheimer Society at 204-943-6622 for more information. Thank you!


Spotlight on Current Research:
Diabetes in Midlife Linked to Significant Decline in Cognitive Ability

DiabetesA study by researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland shows that people with type 2 diabetes in midlife are more likely to experience significant memory and cognitive problems during the next 20 years than those with healthy blood sugar levels.

Data was gathered from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), which followed 15,792 middle-aged participants beginning in 1987. Participants were seen four times about three years apart and a fifth time between 2011 and 2013. Cognitive function was assessed at the second, fourth and fifth visits.

The findings indicate that diabetes in midlife was associated with a 19 per cent greater cognitive decline over 20 years compared with no diabetes. Furthermore, participants with poorly controlled diabetes had greater decline than those whose diabetes was controlled. Longer-duration diabetes was also associated with greater late-life cognitive decline. The researchers found that diabetes appears to age the brain roughly five years faster than is experienced through the normal effects of aging.

As research has also shown that the single best predictor of type 2 diabetes is being obese or overweight, maintaining healthy eating and exercise patterns will combat the potential onset of diabetes and lead to cognitive health benefits.

Click here to read an article about this study.


Research Project Seeks Participants

winter streetLea Rempel, a Masters student at University of Manitoba, is exploring how the built and outdoor environment could be best organized to facilitate participation by people with dementia and their primary caregiver. Study participants will take photos and make journal notations about things they notice that are barriers and facilitators of their participation in activity during the winter season. Following the collection of the photos, Lea will interview the participant pair.

If this research opportunity intrigues you, click here for a detailed description or contact Lea at 204-471-0312 or by email at umremp85@myumanitoba.ca



Caregiving Tips

tipslogoTravelling with a Person with Dementia

For many people, travelling experiences shared with family and friends are memorable. For those with dementia, a trip or tour can also be enjoyed. If you’re considering travelling with a person with dementia, check out the following tips:




  • Involve the person with dementia in the planning.
  • Chose a travel period that is less busy.
  • Go with the most comfortable travel option. Allow longer stopovers to give the person with dementia and yourself a chance to rest and adjust to time changes.
  • If planning to visit family or friends, inform them about any changes in the person since
    your last visit.

Keep Safety in Mind

  • A change in the environment can trigger wandering. Before heading out, register the person with MedicAlert® Safely Home®.
  • Bring copies of important medical and legal documents.
  • Pack an emergency kit that includes medications, a change of clothing, a list of emergency contacts, and copies of travel and accommodation documents.

Make it Meaningful

  • Engage the person in reminiscent activities if travelling to a familiar place.
  • Take pictures with family and friends at significant landmarks. The person can reminisce at a later time using these pictures.
  • Chose activities that you both enjoy.
  • When at your destination, take short day trips to give the person the opportunity to rest.

It is important to keep your communication lines open with the person with dementia, other family or friends, your travel agency and the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba for support and assistance with your travel plans.

Click here for information about MedicAlert® Safely Home®.


We Met Our Goal!
Your Holiday Gift Made Twice the Difference!

GiftThank you to everyone who supported our 2014 holiday eAppeal. We met our goal of raising $10,000 by December 31. In fact, we exceeded it by $4,812! Brad Mason of DMS Industrial Constructors will be providing a matched donation of $10,000, bringing the total raised to $24,812! Brad’s generous offer means that your $10,000 became $20,000! Every gift, no matter how large or small, made twice the difference in this campaign.

Contributions such as these help the Alzheimer Society to assist families facing the daily challenges of caring for someone with dementia. We provide supportive counseling, resources and information to help them make confident and empowering decisions so they can face the future with optimism.

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

webpage header - angels for alzheimer's

Remember those childhood days of making angels in the snow? The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba challenge aims to bring the fun out of everyone, from age two to 92! The idea is to video yourself making a snow angel, post it to social media, and tag others to do the same. If you’re not on social media, or if you don’t want to plop yourself down in the white stuff, we have lots of other ideas to help you participate in this challenge and raise money for Alzheimer’s disease.

For further instructions and to view sample videos, click here.

Make your snow angel today and challenge your friends – it’s fun and it raises money to help people with dementia and their families.

Thank you!!


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.



Minds in Motion® Program
This program combines physical activity, socialization and mental stimulation for people living with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease, or another dementia, to enjoy with a family member or community care partner. Click here  or call 204-943-6622 for more information and to register for the following upcoming sessions:

Wednesdays, January 7 to February 25
2 to 4 pm
The Wellness Institute, 1075 Leila Avenue, Winnipeg (map)
Cost: $56 per participant pair.

Tuesdays, January 13 to March 3
1:30 to 3:30 pm
YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg, 5 Fermor Avenue, Winnipeg (map)
Cost: $56 per participant pair.

Thursdays, February 5 to March 26
1:30 to 3:30
Headingley Seniors’ Services, 5353 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg (map)
Cost: $56 per participant pair ($12 surcharge per participant pair for non-residents
of the Headingley area)

Living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias (Workshop)
Our one- and two-day workshops provide valuable information for those who are caring
for a person with dementia.

Two-Day Workshop
Saturday, 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.
Cost: $25 for both days. Includes resources and refreshments.

One-Day Bilingual Workshop – 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, Winnipeg (carte)
Cliquez ici pour vous inscrire, ou appelez 204-943-6622.
Coût: $20. Inclut des ressources et des rafraîchissements.

Two-Day Workshop
Saturday, May 2 and 9
9 am to 2 pm
Riverwood Square, 1778 Pembina Highway, Winnipeg (map)
Click here to register or call 204-943-6622
Cost: $25 for both days. Includes resources and refreshments.

Telehealth Family Education
These family education sessions offer information for those experiencing dementia in communities across the province via video technology. Click here for a complete list of locations and to register.

Upcoming sessions include:

Medications and People with Dementia: Benefits versus Risks
Tuesday, February 3
6:30 to 8 pm (please arrive by 6:15 pm)

Speak Up: Advocacy Skills for Family Caregivers
Tuesday, February 10
6:30 to 8 pm (please arrive by 6:15 pm)

I Want to Stay Home…Maximizing Safety and Independence in the Home
Tuesday, February 17
6:30 to 8 pm (please arrive by 6:15 pm)

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, Winnipeg (map)
Click here to register or call 204-943-6622.

Informed Choices: Benefits and Risks with Dementia Medications and Natural Products (bilingual presentation)
Thursday, April 9
7 to 8:30 pm
Residence Despins, 151 Rue Despins, Winnipeg (map)
Click here to register or call 204-943-6622



Dementia Care Logo 2015
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.
Click here to register online.

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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
January is Alzheimer Awareness Month. Please give generously when a volunteer canvasser knocks on your door.
Click here for more information about the campaign, or call 1-800-378-6699.



quiltWarming Up January with a Touch Quilt Presentation
On January 19th, the Alzheimer Society will present 80 Touch Quilts to residents of Southeast Personal Care Home in Winnipeg. To date, over 4,700 Touch Quilts have been donated to personal care home residents in Manitoba. The hope is to provide a quilt to every person residing in a personal care home in the province, creating a sense of community giving.
Click here to learn more about our Touch Quilt program.


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. To donate an item or gift certificate, contact awoodward@alzheimer.mb.ca