In This Issue
Call for Board Members
Living Alone with Dementia: Making it Work
Nutrition and Brain Health
Spotlight on Research: Anticholinergic Drugs Linked to Higher Dementia Risk
Caregiving Tips: Things to Know about Urinary Incontinence: Ways to Help
IMPORTANT RECALL of Philips Lifeline Product
Upcoming Support Groups
We Want Your Feedback!
The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba wants to continue providing you with relevant, educational and helpful information about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Please help us to do this by filling out a survey about this eNewsletter, which we currently offer online once a month.
It will only take a few minutes of your time, and if you choose, you can be entered into a draw for a prize.
Click here to access the survey. THANK YOU!
Call for Board Members
The Alzheimer Society is currently seeking board members. The application deadline is April 14, 2015.
Click here for further details.
Living Alone with Dementia: Making it Work
Josephine Brazeau is a confident, caring, active woman in her early 70s. She lives happily on the third floor of a walk-up apartment building, where she enjoys visits and phone calls from friends and family members and regular shopping outings when the weather permits.
This may sound like an idyllic retirement situation, except for one thing: Josephine was diagnosed with dementia a year ago. But her optimistic personality won’t let her despair with this news. On the contrary - she’s determined to get on with life and enjoy it to the utmost.
Josephine may live alone, but she has set up a few safety valves to help her “do what I can while I still can.” She has three daughters – two live out of province and one lives in Selkirk – who call regularly and visit when they can. Josephine’s sister, Trudy, is in regular contact, as is a beloved niece. Her dear friend, José, takes her shopping – especially in bad weather – and helps her to carry the groceries up the stairs.
Also keeping an eye out for Josephine is the caretaker couple, who live right below her and are aware of her circumstances. “If I call for help, they’ll come running, and if they hear noise after my bedtime hour, they’ll come to investigate,” says Josephine.
Josephine has lots of foresight, and she anticipates that soon she will need more help to continue living alone. In preparation, she signed up for Victoria Life Line, so if she falls, someone will be sure to come. José installed an alarm on her door, and she now feels completely safe and secure when she’s at home. As for cooking, she admits to burning a few pots already, but she has established a routine to avoid cooking accidents and makes sure that the smoke alarm is working properly.
Planning for the Future
Inevitably, the day will come when Josephine will need to leave her apartment. “I try to foresee what challenges are coming so I can make plans in advance while I am still able,” she says. That includes investigating housing options, and she’s looking into places that will be able to meet her future needs.
From a social perspective, Josephine is well aware of how she wants to be treated when she needs to be placed into care. A psychogeriatric nurse by profession, she was ahead of her time during her career. She understood that, if patients are not able to verbalize their needs, their behaviour may become aggressive. “Patients did not become aggressive with me because I was gentle; I let them take their time and tried to redirect them,” she says.
With this knowledge in mind, she has asked her family members to use this philosophy to guide the care she may need. “Right now I am compliant, but I may not be in the future,” says Josephine.
Help from the Alzheimer Society
When Josephine was first diagnosed, she was not shy about reaching out for help. She and sister Trudy approached the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba to learn more about dementia and the services it provides. “I am insatiable for information, and when I came to the Society, I felt understood without having to explain myself,” she says. “I felt like I had ‘come home.’”
Josephine took her association with the Alzheimer Society one step further this winter when she enrolled in the eight-week Experiencing Dementia program. There, she is able to connect with other people with dementia to share common concerns about living life with this disease.
Nutrition and Brain Health
Health professionals have long said that eating a healthy, balanced diet is good for your health. It may seem obvious – the healthier you eat, the healthier you will feel – but it’s the positive effects that good nutrition have on the brain that makes healthy eating a good tool in the fight against dementia.
“Research suggests that a healthy diet can help maintain brain health and reduce your risk of chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” says Colette Mignon, Community Outreach Manager at the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.
These conditions – all related to poor nutrition – have risk factors that overlap with dementia. “Conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels appear to increase the risk of dementia,” explains Colette, who is a graduate of Human Ecology at the University of Manitoba with a concentration in Human Nutritional Sciences. “It’s a good idea to invest upstream to try and prevent developing these conditions. Eating healthily now will pay off in the years ahead,” she adds.
If you’re overweight, losing five to 10 percent of your body weight can decrease your risk of developing diabetes, which in turn may decrease your risk of dementia. It also decreases your risk of having a heart attack and/or a stroke. Also, reducing your intake of foods high in fat, especially saturated fat, and lowering the amount of sodium you consume, will lower the risk of developing these conditions.
The earlier you start the better, but it’s never too late. Starting to eat right at any time can have a significant impact on your health. And for those who may already have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or diabetes, it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice to treat the conditions effectively.
March is National Nutrition Month, so it’s a good time to start making positive choices for your overall health. When it comes to keeping your brain healthy, just remember that what’s good for your heart is good for your brain.
Colette Mignon will be presenting on the overlap between dementia, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in a session titled, “Modifiable Risk Factors: What do dementia, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have in common?” at the Dementia Care 2015 conference. The conference is being held on March 9th and 10th.
Tuesday, April 7th is Caregiver Recognition Day in Manitoba. This is a day to honour the valuable contributions made by all caregivers and to reach out to caregivers in your family, workplace or community. Let’s all work together to applaud caregivers and to acknowledge their efforts!
Reach out to a caregiver on this day – and every day. You can:
- Take a caregiver for lunch or coffee.
- Visit with the person with dementia so the caregiver can go for a walk, read a book or go shopping.
- Join a caregiver’s circle of support and share your talents on a rotating basis. You can drop off dinner once a week, do some internet research, do yard work or take turns taking the person to doctors’ appointments.
These are just a few examples of how to help a caregiver. Use your imagination to show caregivers how much they are appreciated!
Spotlight on Current Research:
Anticholinergic Drugs Linked to Higher Dementia Risk
A study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine links an increase in dementia risk to higher doses or long term use of anticholinergic drugs – a group of medications commonly used by older adults. These drugs include popular antihistamines used as sleep aids, antidepressants and medications for incontinence.
The research study included 3,434 participants 65 years or older with no dementia at study entry. Information about use of anticholinergic medications over the past 10 years was gathered from pharmacy dispensing data. All participants were followed up every two years for seven years to screen for dementia.
Results show that higher doses and/or long term use of anticholinergic drugs contributed to an increased risk for dementia. “We found an obvious dose-response relationship between anticholinergic drug use and risk of developing dementia: the higher the usage, the greater the risk,” reports Dr. Shelly L. Gray, lead researcher and author of the report. Another key finding of the study is that taking low doses of this group of medications for longer periods of time also increases the risk for dementia compared to not taking these medications.
The study did not prove causation but reinforced previous studies showing cognitive effects of anticholinergic medications. Inferences drawn from this study inform older adults about the need to make wise decisions when taking over-the-counter medications, knowing that some medications can have cognitive implications if taken at high doses or for longer periods of time.
To read about this study, click here.
Urinary incontinence occurs when a person inadvertently loses urine or is unable to hold it. This can be a temporary or a persistent condition. In the February issue of this e-News, some of the causes and lifestyle habits that increase the risk for urinary incontinence were listed. Being able to control or change these factors plays an important role in managing urinary incontinence. Here are some suggestions:
Think about the food and beverage consumed by the person.
- Limit foods that may cause temporary incontinence, such as chocolates, honey, sugar, tomatoes and spicy foods.
- Drink enough water, especially in the morning.
- Drink less or no alcoholic or caffeinated beverages. Limit caffeinated beverages to one to two cups per day. For each cup of caffeinated drink consumed, drink two cups of non-caffeinated fluid to replace the fluid lost.
Minimize physical conditions that can increase the risk.
- Avoid constipation by eating a high fiber diet and drinking warm water to stimulate the bowels.
- See the doctor if the person is showing signs of bladder infection.
- Review medications with healthcare provider and pharmacist. Consult with the person’s doctor for treatment options.
Change voiding habits.
- Do not hold urine for more than 15 minutes; holding it more than 20 minutes often increases risk for incontinence.
- Void at least every three hours during the day to totally empty the bladder.
Plan environmental modifications.
- For individuals with limitations in mobility, have easy access to the toilet. A bedside commode or bedpan maybe helpful. Door signs, good lighting, raised toilet seats and hand rails are structural adaptations that can assist a person to easily use the toilet.
- Choose clothing that is easy to remove. Trousers with elastic waist or Velcro™ closures are often easier than zips or buttons.
- Using an incontinence brief is an option that will assist in cases of leakage incontinence or potential accidents.
Urinary incontinence can have significant physical and emotional impact on a person with dementia and the caregiver. Being able to control modifiable risks and consulting with the doctor for effective treatments can help maintain comfort and dignity for both the person and the caregiver.
Important Recall of Philips Lifeline Product
Health Canada has issued a recall of non-breakaway neck cord versions of the Lifeline AutoAlert Personal Help Button, Classic Personal Help Button and the Slimline Personal Help Button. These are personal alarm systems worn on a cord around the neck. It has been found that use of the non-breakaway neck cord with these products poses a risk of strangulation.
Contact Philips Lifeline Canada to order a replacement neck cord with a breakaway feature at 1-800-387-1215 (toll-free) or via the Philips Lifeline website.
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 Workshop – Brandon
Saturday, April 25
9 am to 4 pm
4th Floor Assiniboine Centre, 150 McTavish Avenue E., Brandon (map)
Cost: $10. Includes resources.
To register or for more information, contact Grace Loewen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-729-8320 or Tanis Horkey at Centre for Geriatric Psychiatry at 204-578-4572.
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.
From Six to 16:
A Workshop to Help Children and Youth Understand Dementia
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.
Wednesdays, April 8 to May 27
2 to 4 pm
The Wellness Institute, 1075 Leila Avenue, Winnipeg (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.
The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba offers educational programs throughout the province to educate and empower people with dementia, their families and friends.
Money Matters: The Significance of Future Planning
When a Chronic Disease Strikes
Informed Choices: Benefits and Risks with Dementia Medications
and Natural Products (bilingual presentation)
Personal Care Homes:
What is my Role and What Remains my Responsibility?
Surviving Ambiguous Loss and Grief:
Tips for Caregivers and Those That They Care For
Monday & Tuesday, March 9 & 10
9 am to 4:30 pm
Canad Inns Polo Park, 1405 St. Matthews Avenue, Winnipeg (map)
Upcoming Support Groups
Celebrating Family Caregivers
Get inspiration and more from this FREE evening workshop sponsored by Comforts of Home Care. The evening features five famous speakers, refreshments, silent auction and a door prize, with proceeds going to the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.
Monday, April 6
7 to 9 pm (Doors open at 6 pm)
Caboto Centre, 1055 Wilkes Avenue, Winnipeg (map)
Click here for more information on the speakers.
Click here to register for this free event or call 204-949-3234.
Chili Cook Off
Chili Cook Off teams and individual competitors will showcase their chili in an attempt to win an award in several categories.
Diners enjoy a bowl of chili, a bun and a drink for $10.
New this year! If you can’t make it, support your friends and the event by making a donation online for a virtual bowl of chili! An award will be given for Top Team Fundraiser!
Click here to register.
During 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, as well as the search for a cure.
The Winnipeg Memory Walk will take place Tuesday, June 9 at The Forks!