eNewsletter December 2015

In This Issue

Dementia…Are You Worried
Would you like to share your story?
Hoarding Behaviour: A Collection of Information
Minds in Motion® Program: Participating Together
Don’t Get Mall Fatigue: We’ve Got Some Holiday Gift Ideas!
Door to Door Campaign
Spotlight on Current Research
Caregiver Tips: Assisting Someone Who is Experiencing Responsive Behaviours
Upcoming Education
Upcoming Events


Donate on GivingTuesday and Your Gift will Double!


Tomorrow, December 1st, is GivingTuesday – a global day of giving. GivingTuesday is a time to celebrate and encourage activities that support charities like the Alzheimer Society. When you check your inbox tomorrow, you will learn about a special opportunity to double your gift to the Alzheimer Society. See how one family is offering to give back in a big way!

Get a jump on Giving Tuesday! Click here to donate now and your gift will still be matched!


Dementia…Are You Worried?

Pensive manIf so, SAVE THIS DATE and attend the January Awareness Public Education evening presented by the Alzheimer Society.
Thursday, January 28 from 7 to 8:30
St. Boniface Hospital, Albrechtsen Research Centre
To learn more about dementia, the importance of a diagnosis and how to live well with the disease.
For more information, call 204-943-6622.
Click here to register.


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

Share Your StoryJanuary is Alzheimer Awareness Month, and the Alzheimer Society will be challenging Canadians to rethink their perceptions of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. There is nothing more effective than hearing first-hand experiences to help the public open their minds and hearts to those who are affected.

We are looking for people with dementia, their families and their care partners to share their stories. 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!

We hope you join us to help raise awareness about dementia and the resources and services available for families touched by this disease. Thank you!


Hoarding Behaviour:
A Collection of Information

Pile of ClothesYour family member has dementia and recently you’ve noticed some behaviour that you find strange. Flyers are piling up in the hallways, mounds of sugar packets line drawers and the fridge is filled with containers of spoiled food.

Should you be concerned about this collecting or hoarding behaviour?

Joyce Klassen, Dementia Care Education Coordinator at the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, explains that, while hoarding may be harmless in many cases, other times it can result in a health and safety issue. “On one side of the fence, people may simply be ‘collectors’ of certain items, and they’ve done it all their lives,” she says. “In other cases, the person may truly be hoarding items that seemingly serve no purpose.”

In the latter situation, the accumulation of items – which can include anything from rubber bands and string to dirty clothes and empty boxes – can make the environment dangerous. The risk of a fall and possible injury increases, and there may be a fire hazard. If food is contaminated, the person could become ill. In extreme instances, hoarding can result in social isolation because the person’s home becomes so messy, disorganized and unsafe that people don’t want to visit.

Figuring Out Why

If the person you are caring for has never been a hoarder – or has simply been a collector of items they prize – it is likely that new hoarding behaviour is secondary to the dementia rather than being an underlying compulsive disorder. “The key is to try to figure out the reason behind it, and then you can address the person’s actions in a way that won’t upset them,” Joyce says.

For example, clothing may be left in piles around the house because the person knows they won’t be able to find an item if they put it away. This behaviour enables the person to cope with their situation, and it may not cause any problems.

Joyce gives an example from her personal experience. Her mother had dementia and would collect and keep large numbers of salad dressing containers from Meals on Wheels deliveries. “It was puzzling to see this behaviour. I would throw the containers out, and it would make Mom angry,” she says.

Joyce eventually realized that her mother was ‘saving’ food. She had lived through the war when food was rationed, and in her mind, she was stock piling so she would be able to feed her family.

Once Joyce figured this out, she was able to be creative about a solution. Rather than removing all of the dressing containers, she would take only the older ones. The same can be done with piles of magazines or flyers: leave part of the pile in place so the person won’t become upset, but take enough away so the area will be safe.

Decluttering can take place with or without the person being present. If you can negotiate and explain why something should be removed, they may be able to understand the reasoning and therefore be less upset. For example, trade rotten food for fresh, keep one month of newspapers instead of a years’ worth, and take photos of belongings as an alternative to storing the items.

Overall, the best approach is to be sensitive; reassure the person that they will still have some control over their environment. A little compassion can go a long way.

If you would like to talk about possible hoarding behaviour in someone you are caring for, don’t hesitate to contact the Alzheimer Society for information and resources: alzheimer.mb.ca or 204-943-6622.


Minds in Motion® Program:
Participating Together in a Fun-loving Environment

Lucy and GeogeWhen Lucy Beckta talks about her husband George, she likes to tell people about what he can do.

George has vascular dementia. While symptoms of the disease have impacted on the couple’s life, both Lucy and George maintain a positive outlook and find ways to keep involved and active. That includes participating in the Minds in Motion® program at the Caboto Centre in Winnipeg.

Offered through the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba at several locations in the city, Minds in Motion is designed for people with early to mid-stage dementia and their care partners. Participants take part in two-hour sessions once a week that combine physical activity with mental and social stimulation. The program runs for eight weeks.

“The great thing about Minds in Motion is that George and I can participate together,” says Lucy. “We were starting to feel isolated because activities we can do as a couple are few and far between.”

The physical activity segments of the program are helping to get the couple back into shape, and both Lucy and George particularly enjoyed a recent musical segment that involved drumming and singing. “Music is important – it gives you a boost,” say George, who has had a love of music throughout his life.

Another important part of the program is the opportunity for socialization. The Becktas are getting to know other people in a fun-loving environment that is inclusive and normalizing; the fact that some participants have dementia is secondary. Not only do Lucy and George feel a genuine connection with others during the sessions, but they are also starting to get together with their new acquaintances afterwards for coffee or lunch.

“There are all sorts of dimensions to Minds in Motion that we just didn’t expect, and we think it’s amazing,” says Lucy. “The leaders are kind and make things enjoyable, and the volunteers are fantastic.”

Best of all, George can do it all, just like anybody else. He’s excited about signing up for the next session.

Click here for dates, times and locations and to register for the upcoming winter Minds in Motion sessions.
Click here to go to our Facebook site to see photos of Lucy and George and their fellow participants in the fall session at the Caboto Centre.


Don’t Get Mall Fatigue:
Find Great Holiday Gifts Through the Alzheimer Society!

xmas giftsIt’s that time of year again when everyone marches through malls and craft sales to find the perfect gift for family and friends. Here are some ideas for gifts that allow you to omit some of the mall fatigue while at the same time supporting the Alzheimer Society.

NEW!! Give the Gift of a Forget Me Not Keepsake: We have an assortment of items available for the gift giving season, inscribed with our beautiful Forget Me Not logo. Some items can be personalized in memory or in honour of a special person in your life. Choose from a porcelain star Christmas tree ornament, a two-piece slate coaster set,
a 4 x 6 aluminum photo frame, a table top flip album, a decorative etched glass vase, a royal blue cozy fleece blanket and a silver plated serving tray. Prices range from $10 to $30, with net proceeds supporting the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. Click here.

Give the Gift of a Forget Me Not Necklace: These charming pieces are hand crafted by Hilary Druxman in the form of the official symbol of the Alzheimer Society. A portion of the proceeds supports the work of the Society. Click here.

Give the Gift of a Touch Quilt: One of these cozy quilts will warm the lap and brighten the life of someone with dementia who is living in a personal care home. Touch Quilts are made and donated by community volunteers. Click here.

Give the Gift of a Donation to the Alzheimer Society: You can honour a special person in your life by donating in their honour and we will send a beautiful card on your behalf. By supporting the Society in this way, you are giving hope to people living with dementia and their families. Click here.

Thank you, and have a safe and enjoyable gift giving season!


Door to Door:
Come Volunteer for Us!

Door to doorDo you enjoy friendly chats with people in your neighbourhood? Why not do it while raising money for the Alzheimer Society? We are currently looking for volunteers to knock on doors to request donations during the month of January. You’ll have the entire month to complete your canvassing route, which typically includes 25 to 30 houses on your street or close by.

While January may be the coldest month of the year, it’s also a month that warms the hearts of people with dementia and their families because of the generosity of neighbourhood donors and the willingness of canvassers to spare an hour or two of their time.

To become a canvasser in the Society’s Door to Door Campaign this January, please click here to register or call 204-943-6622 in Winnipeg or 1-800-378-6699 in Manitoba.

Not able to canvass in your neighbourhood? We have two other great ways for you to help:

  • Canvass your friends and family! You can even take your canvassing online – just register as a canvasser online and send an email to friends and family with a link to  your donation page. Click here.
  • New this year! Text us a $10 donation. For a quick and easy way to make a difference, just text the word “DOOR” to 45678 and $10 will be donated to the Alzheimer Society. Challenge your friends and family to do the same!


Spotlight on Current Research

BrainThe Role of Impaired Calcium Regulation in Brain Cells:
Is There a Connection with Unhealthy Brain Aging?

It is known that calcium plays an important part in the neurological functioning of the brain. However, research over the past 30 years has also found that disturbed calcium regulation is linked to brain aging, indicating that calcium in the brain must be tightly controlled to prevent excessive levels.

Two recent and separate studies look further into calcium regulation in the brain and the link to unhealthy brain aging, including the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

A research team from the University of Kentucky found a connection between unhealthy brain aging and FKBP1b, a protein that regulates calcium in brain cells. Reduced expression of this protein led to increased calcium levels. The researchers tested aging rats using a harmless virus that added more FKBP1b proteins into the hippocampus – a part of the brain responsible for cognition and memory retention. When memory abilities were tested after two months, the group of aged rats that received the FKBP1b-producing virus showed improved cognitive function.

A separate study at the University of Basel in Switzerland investigated a group of genes and their relationship to the control of episodic memory in healthy (young and elderly) individuals and those with Alzheimer’s disease. (Episodic memory is the ability to retrieve a memory with all its details.) Working with the data from over 57,000 participants, the team identified a group of genes that controls memory performance. The genes belong to a pathway that controls the concentration of calcium ions in the cell and are regulators of memory performance in healthy young and elderly adults. Furthermore, authors identified that elevated levels of these calcium genes and the resulting increase in cellular calcium are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

Further large scale and in depth studies are warranted to confirm these initial findings. Both studies were performed on a molecular level and did not find any correlation with dietary or supplementary calcium intake. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns.




Assisting Someone Who is Experiencing Responsive Behaviours

tipslogoA person’s sense of well-being may be influenced by neurological, physical and emotional health as well as environmental and social factors. Changes in any of these aspects may affect the person’s behaviour. The following information and suggestions may help you understand the changes in behaviour a person with dementia is experiencing and provide ways to assist.

Changes in behaviour that may occur include becoming upset more easily, losing interest in previously enjoyed activities, being suspicious, repeating words or actions, wandering away from home, pacing a lot, misunderstanding what’s heard or seen or having physical and emotional outbursts. Remember that a person’s actions are a way of communicating and are often the expression of unmet needs. Here are some strategies for approaching such situations:

  • Be aware of potential triggers and try to avoid them.
  • Keep things simple; maintaining a daily routine can be helpful.
  • Approach in a calm manner and remove background noise.
  • Reassure the person that he or she is safe and you are there to help.
  • Validate the person’s feelings. You might say, “You seem worried.”
  • Keep the focus away from the behaviour and redirect the person to a pleasant or familiar activity.
  • Use humour and sensory stimulation to distract the person.
  • Don’t argue. Try not to show your frustration.
  • If the person says no, take a deep breath, walk away and come back at another time.
  • If you find caring difficult, consider asking for help. Other family members or friends may be able to give you a break from caregiving responsibilities.
  • Keep lines of communication open with the person’s doctor, who can determine whether the behaviour is caused by a change in health status.

If you would like to talk to someone about further ways to support a person who is experiencing responsive behaviour, call the Alzheimer Society at 204-943-6622 or toll free at 1-800-378-6699. Click here for a link to the Fact Sheet, Responsive Behaviours and Dementia.

Upcoming Education


Upcoming Webinar:
Taking Care of Yourself Through the Ups and Downs of Caregiving
The Alzheimer Society of Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and Parkinson’s Society Canada are co-hosting this webinar event that will provide an opportunity to learn about the various stages of caregiving, the emotional ups and downs that come with each stage and tips for managing stress and staying well.
Thursday, December 10, 6 pm EST
Click here for registration information.

Minds in Motion® Program
Starting in January, winter sessions of the eight-week Minds in Motion® program will be offered at five Winnipeg locations. 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 or call the location closest to you to register.

Dementia…Are You Worried?
Are you worried that someone in your life has dementia? Then don’t miss this educational seminar that will provide information from both personal and medical perspectives.
Thursday, January 28, 7 to 8:30 pm
St. Boniface Hospital – Albrechtsen Research Centre,
351 Tache Ave. (map)
Click here more information or call 204-943-6622 or email alzmb@alzheimer.mb.ca

Living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias (Workshop)
Our two-day workshop provides valuable information for those who are caring for a person with dementia.
Saturdays, February 6 and 13, 9 am to 2 pm
Seine River Retirement Residence, 1015 St. Anne’s Rd., Winnipeg (map)
Cost: $25. Includes lunch and resources.
Register online at alzheimer.mb.ca or by email at alzmb@alzheimer.mb.ca or call 204-943-6622 or 1-800-378-6699.

Experiencing Dementia
An eight-week program uniting families and community members with individuals who are experiencing the early stages of dementia.
Click here  for more information or contact the Client Support Coordinator at at 204-943-6622 or alzmb@alzheimer.mb.ca



Dementia Care Logo 2016 v1

Quality Care; Quality of Life
March 7 & 8, 2016
Canad Inns Polo Park
Click here for the Dementia Care 2016 poster.


Upcoming Support Groups

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 alzmb@alzheimer.mb.ca, 204-943-6622 (in Winnipeg) or 1-800-378-6699 (in Manitoba).

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. We hope that you can spare an hour or two to canvas a street in your neighbourhood.
Click here for more information or to register.

Not able to canvass in your neighbourhood? We have two other great ways for you to help:

  • Canvass your friends and family! You can even take your canvassing online – just register as a canvasser online and send an email to friends and family with a link to  your donation page. Click here.
  • New this year! Text us a $10 donation. For a quick and easy way to make a difference, just text the word “DOOR” to 45678 and $10 will be donated to the Alzheimer Society. Challenge your friends and family to do the same!


Get Ready for A Night to Remember in Canada!

Where can you find northern lights and polar bears, totem poles and icebergs, maple leaves and wheat fields? You’ll find these, and many more symbols of our great land, at the Alzheimer Society’s A Night to Remember in Canada. Join us for an evening of great food, entertainment, raffles and auctions. Book your tickets or table of 10 today so you don’t miss out! Tickets are $220 per person with a half tax receipt. Tables are $2,200 with sponsorship benefits.
Thursday, February 11, 2016, 6 pm
RBC Convention Centre, 375 York Avenue, Winnipeg (map)
For more information, contact Kim Mardero at 204-943-6622 or kmardero@alzheimer.mb.ca
We are currently accepting items for our auctions and balloon pops. To donate an item or gift certificate, contact awoodward@alzheimer.mb.ca
Click here for more information and to book your table.