In This Issue
Drums Alive®: Keeping the Beat
Minds in Motion® Program: Reserve Your Spot Now!
Researcher Looks Beyond the Brain
Spotlight on Current Research: Diabetes Complications Increase the Risk of Dementia
Caregiving Tips: Helping People with Dementia to Avoid Falls
Drums Alive®: Keeping the Beat
Delegates of the upcoming fall 2015 Care4u family conference are in for a treat – they will have the opportunity to participate in a unique recreational program called Drums Alive®, and they need not be seasoned drummers to enjoy creating a beat.
The day-long Care4u conference takes place on October 31 at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. Specifically designed for family and friends who are caring for a person with dementia,
it provides information, education and resources
to help people in their caregiving journeys.
So, how do drums fit into this picture?
Certified Drums Alive instructor Brenda Kulik-Macaulay will be using large anchored stability balls, drumsticks, motivating tunes and creative beats to produce a fun musical and movement experience. This fitness drumming session will run concurrently at the conference and promises to engage and entertain participants of varied musical and cognitive abilities to achieve a fun and energetic group experience.
The Positive Effects of Drumming
Research has shown, she explains, that drumming has many positive effects on both the brain and the body. For example, it requires sustained movement, which increases fitness levels and coordination. As a form of music therapy, it provides pleasure and enjoyment for the participant while encouraging creativity and logical thinking.
And there is more: “It has been found that drumming encourages a connection between the two brain hemispheres, and this is linked to improvement in concentration and mental capacity,” says Brenda.
Her goal for the conference participants is quite simple: she wants to inspire smiles. “I want to create a positive event that encourages people to de-stress, enjoy moving their body and have fun interacting with those around them,” she says. “These sessions take the ‘work’ out of the workout, making time fly and also making it impossible for people to wipe the smiles from their faces.”
Drums Alive sessions also aim to empower participants by providing an activity that is free of judgements and expectations. These concepts are particularly important for people with dementia, and Maria Mathews, Family Education Manager at the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, explains why.
“When people are not judged, they are empowered to be the best that they can be,” she says. “In fact, they can excel. Drums Alive is an example of a community recreation activity in which a person with dementia who has innate abilities – musical, in this case – can actually rise above those who do not possess those abilities.”
An Inclusive Activity
Because of this aspect, Drums Alive is a program that promotes normalization for people with dementia. This is a message that Maria strives to deliver, and asking Brenda to run the program for Care4u delegates is a good way to do that.
Maria has included a Drums Alive segment in the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba’s Minds in Motion® program, an eight-week community program that promotes physical activity, socialization and mental stimulation for people with dementia and their care partners.
She hopes that participation in the Minds in Motion program will heighten awareness of recreational opportunities in which people can participate as a family. She says that it’s not always necessary to send people with dementia off to their own program. “When people take on a caregiver role, they step away from family activities because the caregiving is so all consuming. But it does not have to be that way,” she says.
Drums Alive is just the sort of activity that can integrate people of different abilities and talents. Participants can march to the beat of their own drum – and have a lot of fun doing it.
Minds in Motion® Program: Book Now to Reserve Your Spot!
This fall, the eight-week Minds in Motion® program is taking place in six Winnipeg locations, with start dates in mid-October. This popular program combines physical activity, socialization and mental stimulation for people living with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease, or other dementias, to enjoy with a family member or community care partner.
Farnaz works in Dr. Semone Myrie’s lab in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba and is one of the recipients of the Alzheimer Society’s Graduate Student Fellowship award. Her project is titled, “Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Muscle Metabolism in an Alzheimer Mouse Model,” and will look at ways to keep muscles stronger in those with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Evidence indicates that Alzheimer’s disease is a systemic pathology,” says Farnaz. This means that it affects the whole body as opposed to just the brain. “Since muscle dysfunction in people with Alzheimer’s disease is never considered a feature of the disease that requires further treatment, the underlying mechanisms causing skeletal muscle abnormality remain largely unidentified,” she explains.
Using a mouse model, Farnaz plans to study the effects of creatine (a nitrogenous compound that helps supply energy to our muscles) on mice with Alzheimer’s disease. Creatine supplements can boost muscle mass and may help those with dementia to retain muscle strength longer. “Decreased muscle mass or function consequently results in reduced physical activity, which in turn exacerbates the problem and leads to progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function,” says Farnaz.
In other words, muscles shrink when they don’t get used.
If these experiments are successful, they could lead to an effective nutrition-based treatment that has the potential to increase the quality of life of those with dementia. This could translate into reduced burden on both the caregiver and health system, especially if those with the disease are able to remain mobile and independent longer.
“Dependency puts pressure on everyone involved,” says Farnaz. “Strategies aimed at enhancing muscle mass and function are critical to increasing the quality of life in the elderly population, including those with Alzheimer’s disease,” she adds.
This is definitely a goal worth pursuing. We wish Farnaz the best of luck and are excited to learn the outcomes of her research.
Spotlight on Current Research
A research study conducted in Taipei, Taiwan, examined how the severity and progression of diabetes is linked to the risk of dementia in an older population.
The 12-year study included 431,178 people with newly diagnosed diabetes who were over the age of 50 and prescribed with antidiabetic medications. The severity of diabetes was evaluated using an index tool that predicts death and hospitalization in the diabetic population and demonstrates the severity of complications at any one point in time.
Of the total participants in the study, 26,856 or 6.2% were diagnosed with dementia within the study period. Findings indicate that both the severity and progression of diabetes increased the risk for dementia. Individuals with higher scores on the index had higher risks for dementia even at the onset of diabetes. The study also found that the risk of dementia was significantly higher during the first six years of progression of diabetes.
Of the different diabetic complications, cerebrovascular, metabolic and neuropathic complications posed significant risk for dementia. Furthermore, results showed that the risk of dementia does not increase when diabetes does not progress or increase in severity.
The study emphasizes actions that can reduce the risk of dementia: control of blood sugar levels to prevent onset of diabetes; and for individuals with diabetes, proper disease management to avoid complications.
For more information on this study, please click here.
Falls are a common and potentially serious problem affecting older people. Individuals with dementia are at increased risk for falls due to factors such as inability to recognize environmental hazards, changes in balance or walking patterns, the effects of medication and visual impairment.
The following are things that can be done to reduce the risk for falls:
- Regular exercise to maintain strong muscles and bones, good balance and flexibility.
- Wear correct glasses as prescribed.
- Review the person’s medication with a doctor or pharmacist to determine possible side effects that may impact balance and alertness.
- Create a safe environment.
- Keep the floor dry and free from clutter.
- Add textured stickers to slippery surfaces. Apply adhesives to keep throw rugs and carpeting in place, or remove rugs completely.
- Maintain good lighting.
- Changes in levels of light can be disorienting. Create an even level of lighting by adding extra lights in entries and areas between rooms, stairways and bathrooms.
- Use night lights in hallways, bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Minimize glare, reflection and shadows.
- Make adaptations to the home.
- Install railings.
- Place chairs, coffee tables and other furniture near the wall rather than in the middle
of the room.
- Adjust the height of the bed so that when the person is sitting on it, their feet are flat
on the floor.
- Keep regularly used objects in easy to reach drawers or cupboards.
Falls are a significant cause of injury and death in older people with dementia, but many falls are preventable. Speak to your doctor and/or occupational therapist to find more ways to reduce the risk of falls. Click here to check out the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba’s fall prevention information and factsheet, Reducing Risk of Falls for People with Dementia.
The 10 Warning Signs: What Everyone Needs to Know
& The Minds in Motion® Programs
Tuesday, September 15, 7 to 8:30 pm
Centro Caboto Centre, 1055 Wilkes Ave., Winnipeg (map)
Click here to register online.
An eight-week program uniting families and community members with individuals who are experiencing the early stages of dementia.
Thursday, October 7 to Thursday, November 25, 10 am to 11:30 am
For more information, contact Client Services at 204-943-6622, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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 − Gimli
Saturday, October 17, 9 am to 4 pm
Gimli Community Health Centre, 120-6th Ave., Gimli (map)
Cost: $20. Includes lunch and resources.
To register, contact Jackie Dokken at email@example.com or 204-268-4752
Minds in Motion® Program
The eight-week Minds in Motion® program is taking place in six Winnipeg locations, with start dates in mid-October. This popular program combines physical activity, socialization and mental stimulation for people living with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease, or other dementias, to enjoy with a family member or community care partner.
Click here for information on the six locations and the mid-October start dates. Participants are encouraged to call the desired location to register.
For further information, please contact: Maria Mathews, Minds in Motion® Program Coordinator at 204-943-6622, 1-800-378-6699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Care4u Family Conference
A conference for family and friends caring for a person with dementia.
Saturday, October 31, 9 am to 3:30 pm
Canadian Mennonite University, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg (Map)
Click here for more information
Click here to register online.
2015 Fall Calendar
Click here for a full listing for these fall 2015 education and weekly programs.
Upcoming Support Groups
Some support groups for family and friends are taking a summer break. The Winnipeg support groups for people with dementia will be taking a break during August and resuming in September. Check with your group facilitator or the regional office nearest you to learn more about the date and time of the next group meeting. The Alzheimer Society’s family support staff are here to help – contact us at email@example.com, 204-943-6622 (in Winnipeg) or 1-800-378-6699 (in Manitoba).
Get Your Motors Running for the 20th Annual Motorcycle Poker Derby!
Saturday, August 15, Brandon
The Alzheimer Society’s annual Poker Derby is a great way for riders to spend a day on their motorcycles for a worthy cause. Participants will ride through beautiful countryside, play motorcycle-themed games and have the satisfaction of knowing they’re helping people affected by dementia.
Click here to register online or for more information.
Celebrate with us by hosting a Coffee Break® event during September and October. It’s an easy and fun way to show your support for people affected by dementia in your community. We’ll even send you a kit to get you started.
New this year, text COFFEE to 45678 to donate $5 to the Alzheimer Society! Donations coming from Manitoba area codes will be credited to the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.
Click here to register online or for more information.
The Forest Home Quilt Raffle: Don’t Miss Your Chance!
The students of Forest Home School, with the help of staff and community members of Riverdale Colony, are currently running a quilt raffle. The draw for a beautiful handmade quilt will take place on September 30 at Riverdale Colony. All funds raised will be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.
For more information, contact Mary Hofer at 204-870-0948.