eNewsletter February 2015

In This Issue

Still Hubert
Dementia Research in Manitoba Gets Booster Shot
Navigating Risk
Spotlight on Research: Bilingualism Benefits the Aging Brain
University of Manitoba Nursing College Researcher Seeks Participants for Study
From Six to 16: Assisting Children and Teens When Someone They Care About has Dementia
Caregiving Tips: Things to Know about Urinary Incontinence
Help Make Dementia a Health Care Priority in Winnipeg
Upcoming Education
Upcoming Support Groups
Upcoming Events

Caregiver Cards

dementia card borderWe know it can sometimes be difficult for caregivers to explain behaviors brought on by dementia to those who are unfamiliar with the disease.

To ease this challenge, you can create and print cards to carry with you. Show this card to others letting them know that the person you are with has dementia and your understanding is appreciated.

Click here for a printable pdf of the card.


Still Hubert

Audrey and Hubert HutletIt was the summer of 2013 when Audrey Hutlet first noticed changes in her husband Hubert, who was 59 years old at the time. Over the next few months she started paying more attention to his unusual behaviour.

“When he relaxed on his recliner at the end of the night, he could not stop fidgeting. It was unusual for him to be so unsettled,” explains Audrey. “One night I asked him to put the ketchup in the fridge. Hubert said, ‘That is not ketchup, that’s mustard.’ I knew something wasn’t right.”

Simply forgetting a person’s name or where you put something is not cause for concern. However, when symptoms include changes in mood and behaviour, along with loss of memory, it’s time to make an appointment to visit your family doctor. With Hubert’s full co-operation, that’s exactly what Audrey and their oldest daughter Nicky, a registered public health nurse, did.

“Eventually we found out it was early onset Alzheimer’s,” says Audrey. “Since then we have let everyone in our community know that he has dementia. People have been very kind offering to help.”

EarlyOnset SidebarRounding Up Resources
A support system and a caring community are of utmost importance when dealing with a diagnosis of dementia. Like everyone, people with dementia want to carry on with their daily lives and feel included in their local community.

“It helps when the community understands that a person with Alzheimer’s is the same person they were before their diagnosis. The disease doesn’t change who someone is, he’s still Hubert,” says Karen Lambert, North Central Regional Coordinator at the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.

Dealing with the unique challenges of early onset can be difficult. Hubert was diagnosed relatively early in life and he was still working at the time. Financial changes had to be made.

“We were putting money away for our retirement but all of that changed when Hubert had to quit work. We had to alter our thinking and plan for a new future,” says Audrey.

Planning ahead can make it easier to manage your affairs. It is strongly recommended that you discuss legal, financial and health matters as early as possible after a person has been diagnosed. “The moment I knew about his diagnosis, I got out our wills and power of attorney and updated everything. It is so important to get this all in order,” emphasizes Audrey.

The Alzheimer Society can help navigate the system and figure out your next steps. “Come and meet with us. Let’s talk about where you are right now and where the journey is going to take you,” says Karen.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. It is important for caregivers to have a support system in place. Audrey has found support through her community, friends and her daughters.

“My oldest daughter has been my rock through all of this. She is a public health nurse and has helped me through everything. I also have three other daughters who are very supportive and have helped by investigating different options.”

Finding Time for Yourself

As a caregiver, it is important to find time for yourself. Audrey finds things that Hubert enjoys independently, allowing her take advantage of a little alone time.

“I have a 91-year-old mother who still lives in her own home. My husband gives her a hand by shoveling her snow in the winter and taking care of her lawn in the summer,” says Audrey.  “He also goes bowling one afternoon a week with three other gentlemen. It’s nice to have even that small break.”

Audrey finds joy and happiness in the little things.

“We have our good moments and I laugh a lot. It’s always a mystery where the pots or pans are going to be when he does the dishes,” says Audrey, laughing. “Even with all the difficulties, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love him – he’s my husband and I want to look after him.”

If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, call the Alzheimer Society. We are here to help.

As Audrey says, “Always remember: if things aren’t going well that day, the next day will be brighter.”

For information on the Alzheimer Society’s Teleconference Support Group for care partner’s of people with early onset dementia, click here.


Dementia Research in Manitoba Gets Booster Shot

Research ChairThe Alzheimer Society of Manitoba and Research Manitoba are proud to announce the creation of the Manitoba Dementia Research Chair, a $500,000 initiative to promote first class dementia research in the province. This five year program aims to increase dementia research, expertise and capacity and will strive to encourage unity among the Manitoba research community.

“This new research opportunity will help stimulate research excellence in dementia, including the study of dementia and dementia care issues,” says Christina Weise, CEO of Research Manitoba.

The CEO of the Alzheimer Society, Wendy Schettler, notes that the initiative is a direct investment in the Manitoba research community – one that could not have been done without the help of some friends.

Wescan Electrical Mechanical Services, a Manitoba company operating since 1978, has committed to donating $250,000 over five years to fund the Alzheimer Society’s contribution. Wescan has been a supporter and sponsor of the Society for many years, but this generous donation is on a whole new level.

“We can’t overstate the importance of Wescan’s contribution. They’ve allowed us to double the investment in research – it’s a tremendous commitment to our community,” says Schettler

Given that the number of Manitobans affected by dementia is growing at an alarming rate, Wescan’s generosity comes at an opportune time.

“Alzheimer’s is a disease that not only robs friends, families and society of a person’s wisdom and experience, but it also takes with it the joy, achievement and love once shared with us all,” says Terry Henry, President of Wescan. “Wescan and its family have experienced the tragic loss and suffering caused by Alzheimer’s disease and are honored to fund research for a cure.”

Indeed, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias affect people in different ways and elicit a variety of feelings and emotions. This research initiative will go a long way in working towards a better future for those with the disease as well as for the families and community affected.

Those interested in reading more about the Manitoba Dementia Research Chair can check out the Research Manitoba website here. A call for applications is currently underway, with plans to announce the successful applicant this summer.


Navigating Risk

lady walking with weightsCaregivers of people with dementia often must make decisions that greatly affect the day-to-day life of the individual they’re caring for. More often than not, these decisions are made after considering the risks of the situation. Is it risky to let someone with dementia go for a walk by themselves? How about letting them make their own financial decisions? Are they okay living by themselves? These are just some of the questions faced by caregivers each day.

It may seem like the answers to these questions are obvious – do whatever it takes to ensure the least amount of risk. However, the best option may be to consider the amount of risk everyone can accept, coupled with the amount of autonomy that would have to be sacrificed as a result of the decision.

Autonomy, the ability of individuals to be in control of their own actions, is important for one’s well-being, and it can be instrumental in helping those affected by dementia attain a higher quality of life. “When it comes to making decisions that affect autonomy, it’s important for the discussion to focus on finding an acceptable level of risk,” says Norma Kirkby, Program Director at the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.

As complex decisions become difficult – and the risks associated with a poor choice grow – continuing to give the person control over smaller decisions is incredibly important. People with dementia may continue to feel independent as they prepare their own coffee or tea. Likewise, they may enjoy walks by themselves, or a bike ride. Being able to do these actions may give a greater sense of freedom and preserve self-esteem as the person relinquishes more involved decisions to others.

“It’s important to be fluid with each new situation and re-evaluate the risks as needed. For example, someone who previously made financial decisions may start to feel overwhelmed and confused with the intricacies of financial planning. For a time you may choose to make decisions jointly and later move to the caregiver assuming full responsibility,” says Norma.

Deciding on an appropriate level of risk needs coordination from all involved parties: the person with dementia, caregivers/family, doctors and support workers, to name a few. An individualized approach is key to navigating these waters.

Figuring out the acceptable risk in each situation can be a freeing experience for those affected by the disease. The goal is to manage risk in such a way that a person’s independence is maintained to the greatest extent possible. It calls for finding creative solutions that will respect and meet the needs of the person with dementia and those who care for them.


Spotlight on Current Research:
Bilingualism Benefits the Aging Brain

languagesCan learning a new language benefit the aging brain? Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland wanted to find out. They conducted a study examining the effect of bilingualism on later-life cognition. Participants came from an initial group of 1,091 people surveyed and tested in 1947. Of those, 853 were retested in 2008-2010.

In the past, an association between bilingualism and improved cognitive function has been observed. However, there was uncertainty as to whether bilingualism caused the improvement or whether cognitive function led to bilingualism. The Edinburgh study overcame this variable by adjusting for childhood intelligence.

Results show that those who learned a second language performed better in the cognitive tests than would be expected from their baseline cognitive abilities. From the test results, the strongest effects were observed in reading, verbal fluency and general intelligence compared to memory, reasoning and speed of processing. It was observed that knowing three or more languages produced stronger effects than knowing two. There was minimal difference in outcomes related to how often the second language was used, though it is known that the automatic and unconscious activation of multiple languages stimulates frontal executive functions. As some outcomes contradict previous studies, further research could validate results and identify causal relationships.

As bilingualism, even when acquired later in life, has positive effects on cognitive abilities, seizing the opportunity to learn a second language can lead to brain health benefits.

To read an article about this study, click here.


University of Manitoba Nursing College Researcher
Seeks Participants for Study

nurse and seniorMichelle Lobchuk, Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Manitoba, is seeking family caregiver participants in, “A pilot study of an intervention to enhance student nurses’ empathetic discussions with family caregivers about unhealthy behaviours.”  Participants will help researchers to develop an empathy-related video feed-back intervention that will impact the basic and continuing education of student and post graduate nurses. If you are interested in participating in this research project, contact Chantal Shivanna Ramraj at 204-474-8973 or at Chantal.Ramraj@umanitoba.ca  For further information about this study, click here.


From Six to 16:
Assisting Children and Teens When
Someone They Care About has Dementia

Teen GirlDo you know a child or youth who is having a hard time understanding the changes in a family member or friend who has Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia?

Perhaps it is a grandparent, aunt, uncle or family friend – or even a parent. People with dementia often experience symptoms such as changes in mood, behaviour and personality. Witnessing these changes may be puzzling and distressing to young people.

The reality is that when someone has dementia, adult caregivers often have little time or energy left to provide support to children and teenagers affected. With this in mind, the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba has teamed with students from the Department of Psychiatric Nursing (Faculty of Health Studies) at Brandon University to design an upcoming workshop to address the needs of these young people.

The four-hour workshop will provide a safe environment for children ages six to 16 who want to understand more about dementia, its progression and the associated changes that often occur.

The workshop will include opportunities for young people to share their experiences and to learn new skills associated with spending meaningful time together. It will also provide information on practical coping strategies, along with experiential learning activities focusing on communication techniques.

Outcomes from this workshop will be compiled to share at the 2015 family conference, Care4u, held annually in the fall.

For More Information
The four-hour workshop will be held on March 14 in Winnipeg. If you are aware of a child or young person who could benefit, please contact Maria Mathews, Manager of Family Education, at mmathews@alzheimer.mb.ca or by calling 204-943-6622.


Caregiving Tips

tipslogoThings to Know about Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence occurs when a person inadvertently loses urine or is unable to hold it. This can be a temporary condition caused by the kind of food eaten, the medications taken or by drinking too much of a beverage.

People with dementia may be prone to urinary incontinence for these reasons or because of changes in voiding patterns related to memory problems. Being aware of the causes and risk factors for incontinence can help caregivers find ways to assist a person with dementia.

Temporary incontinence may be caused by foods, beverages or medications that increase the volume of urine. Be cautious about:

  • Foods – chocolates, honey, sugar, tomatoes, spicy foods
  • Beverages – alcohol, caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages, artificial sweetener, citrus juices, carbonated drinks
  • Medications for high blood pressure, sleep problems and depressions

Permanent incontinence is commonly caused by physical and medical conditions including:

  • Weak bladder muscles, loss of estrogen, surgery, neurological diseases or injuries, inflammation of the bladder, bladder cancer or stones, enlarged prostate, being overweight, smoking

Habits related to voiding that may increase the risk of incontinence include:

  • Holding urine too long (more than 20 minutes) after the urge to void
  • Poor water intake resulting in concentrated urine, which is more irritating to the bladder
  • Voiding too frequently or too infrequently (voiding every three to five hours is ideal)

It is important to inform the doctor of any changes in the volume or color of urine and voiding patterns. There are treatment options for incontinence and ways to assist a person with dementia who is incontinent.

Stay tuned for our March eNewsletter for lifestyle and environmental modifications that can lower the risk for incontinence.


Help Make Dementia a Health Care Priority in Winnipeg

WRHA-headerThe Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is updating its strategic plan for the 2016-2021 period. They want the public’s help to create a plan for the future of health services.


You can voice your thoughts on what the goals and priorities need to be by taking the survey at strategicplan.ca. Although dementia is not listed in one of the selection boxes, you can raise support for this area of health care by adding your comments in the “Other” box. Thank you!


Upcoming Education


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.

Upcoming sessions:

Thursdays, February 5 to March 26
1:30 to 3:30 pm
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)

Wednesdays, April 8 – May 27
2 to 4 pm
The Wellness Institute, 1075 Leila Avenue (map)
Cost: $56 per participant pair

Tuesdays, April 14 to June 2
1:30 to 3:30 pm
YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg, 5 Fermor Avenue, Winnipeg (map)
Cost: $56 per participant pair

Click here  or call 204-943-6622 for more information.

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.

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.

One-Day Workshop – Brandon
Saturday, April 25
9 am – 4 pm
4th Floor Assiniboine Centre, 150 McTavish Avenue E., Brandon MB (map)
Cost: $10. Includes resources.
To register or for more information, contact Grace Loewen at wmprog@alzheimer.mb.ca or 204-729-8320 or Tanis Horkey at Centre for Geriatric Psychiatry at 204-578-4572.

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.

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)

Click here for a complete list of locations and to register.

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.

Family Education
The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba offers educational programs throughout the province to educate and empower people with dementia, their families and friends.

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.

The Alzheimer Journey: Navigating the Road Ahead – Niverville
Thursdays, February 26 until March 19 (four sessions total)
7 – 8 pm
Great Room – Niverville Heritage Life Personal Care Home, 100-A Heritage Trail, Niverville, MB (map)
For more information contact Bonny Friesen at 204-388-5000 Ext. 301

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)
For more information call 204-943-6622 (online registration coming soon).

Personal Care Homes:
What is my Role and What Remains my Responsibility?

Wednesday, May 13
7 to 8:30 pm
Meadowood Manor, 577 St. Anne’s Road, Winnipeg (map)
To register call 204-943-6622 (online registration coming soon).



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


Get Ready for A Night to Remember in Brazil!

BrazilThere 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



Chili Cook Off

SONY DSCJoin us on Friday, April 10 for the 20th annual Chili Cook Off from 6 to 7:30 pm at Houstons Country Roadhouse in Brandon, Manitoba.

Chili Cook Off teams and individual competitors will showcase their chili using their own secret recipe to try and create their attempt at an award-winning chili.

Diners enjoy a bowl of chili, a bun and a drink for $10.

New this year! Make your Chili go even further and raise pledges online. If your family and friends can’t make it to Chili Cook Off, ask them to support the Alzheimer Society and sell them a virtual bowl of chili!!


Click here for more information


Memory Walk
MWThroughout the month of June, thousands of walkers throughout Manitoba will raise funds for the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. The money raised helps support programs and services for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, and in the search for a cure.

The Winnipeg Memory Walk will take place Tuesday, June 9 at The Forks!


Click here for more information