March 2016 eNewsletter

In This Issue

It’s Election Time! Alzheimer Society to Co-host Forum on April 5
Minds in Motion® Program Extends Reach in Manitoba
Calling for Volunteers for Minds in Motion® Program!
Caregiver Recognition Day is Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Staying Independent Longer With Dementia
Spotlight on Current Research: Chronic Stress and Anxiety Linked to Dementia
Research Project Seeks Participants
Adult Son and Daughter Pairs Sought for Research Project
Caregiver Tips: Working Together
Upcoming Education
Upcoming Events


It’s Election Time!


This article is the second of a four-part series. Stay tuned to find out more about how you can help the Alzheimer Society bring forward important issues that will help better the care for people with dementia and their families.

Alzheimer Society of Manitoba to Co-host Election Forum 2016

Manitoba’s political party leaders have been invited to an Election 2016 Forum that will address the issue of care for Manitobans impacted by dementia and other co-existing complex health concerns.

Plan now to attend this forum! CLICK HERE to register!

You will be able to tell your story about why you think quality care is important for people experiencing dementia – whether it be within primary care, home care, acute care or long term care. You will have an opportunity to question the leaders: you can ask how each party plans to meet the needs of the growing number of people with dementia and other health issues related to aging. You can request information on how the parties intend to support family and friends who are caregivers.

The forum is scheduled for
Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 7 p.m.
and will be held at
Riverwood Square, 1778 Pembina Highway, Winnipeg.
Parking for the event will be at the Canad Inn Fort Gary, 1824 Pembina Highway.

Today more than 22,000 Manitobans have dementia; by 2038 this number is expected to grow to over 40,700. The current impact of dementia is felt by 43 percent of Manitobans who report having a family member or close personal friend living with dementia, as well as by three out of four Canadians who report knowing someone with dementia. The economic burden of dementia in Manitoba is growing and is expected to reach 4.4 billion dollars by 2038.

The forum will be jointly hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, Catholic Health Association of Manitoba, Interfaith Health Association of Manitoba, Long Term and Continuing Care Association of Manitoba and Manitoba Association of Community Care Homes for the Elderly.

As a full house is expected for this important forum, people are asked to pre-register. Click here to pre-register on-line now. For more information about the forum contact the Alzheimer Society at 204-943-6622 or any of the other sponsoring organizations.

Bringing Forward Important Issues

As advocates of people with dementia and their caregivers, the Alzheimer Society is listening to your concerns and is prepared to speak out about the important issues. To learn more about these issues, we invite you to visit our website and click on the Advocacy – Speak Up for Change button. There, you will find background information about the topics we are bringing forward and specific actions you can take to help.

To find out how the Society plans to put quality dementia care at the forefront and how you can help, click here to read the first article in this series.

Let’s use Election 2016 to speak out for action on important matters about dementia care.


Minds in Motion® Program Extends Reach in Manitoba

MiM Program A program offered through the Alzheimer Society has garnered numerous accolades from participants across Winnipeg. Called the Minds in Motion® program, it is currently available at six Winnipeg locations and has proven so popular that the Society is extending its reach to Gimli, Manitoba, where sessions will begin on April 18.

“It is clear from talking to people in our caregiver support groups that they feel isolated,” says Jackie Dokken, the Society’s Regional Coordinator in the Interlake/Eastern Office. “They want more opportunities to go out and participate in community programs with the person they are caring for.”

Without a doubt, Minds in Motion meets this need. It combines physical activity, socialization and mental stimulation for people with early- to mid-stage dementia to enjoy with their family or community care partner.

Those who attend this unique program absolutely love it for a variety of reasons. One Winnipeg participant, who attends with her husband, describes the physical activity portion as upbeat, while the mentally stimulating games provide just the right amount of challenge to stretch their minds. The social aspect is also a huge draw – participant pairs get to know others in a fun-loving environment that is inclusive and normalizing.

Jackie received input and assistance from other area organizations in her quest to initiate a local Minds in Motion offering. Supporters include the Gimli New Horizons 55+ Centre, which will host the program, and the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, which is supplying the fitness leader for the course.

Also providing enthusiastic backing is the Gimli Senior Resource Council, which oversees programs such as Meals on Wheels and Gimli District Lifeline. “We embrace the idea of bringing Minds in Motion to Gimli,” says Valerie Swanson, the Council’s Group Support Facilitator. “Everyone we work with in the community knows someone with dementia, and there is a real need for programs that provide activity for both the person with dementia and their care partner. Minds in Motion is a win-win situation – it brings enjoyment to both parties.”

The new Minds in Motion® program will run at the Gimli New Horizons 55+ Centre at
17 North Colonization Road from April 18 to June 13 on Mondays from 1 to 3 pm. The cost is $56 per participant pair. Register now by calling the Gimli Seniors Resource Council at 204-642-7297.

Click here for more information on the Minds in Motion program.


Calling for Volunteers for Minds in Motion® Program!

MiM volunteerDo you want to help make a difference? By volunteering for the Minds in Motion® program, you will be helping to provide opportunities for meaningful, inclusive and fun community involvement for people who are experiencing early- to mid-stage dementia with their family or community care partner.

Program volunteers are needed at several locations in Winnipeg as well as in Gimli, Manitoba. Here is what current volunteers have to say about their experience:

“My leadership skills and my ability to adapt and think quickly on my feet have been strengthened.”

“Minds in Motion has given me a much clearer picture of how physical and mental activity can increase positive emotional feelings.”

“The program has helped me to accept the positives of ALL people for what they can do/offer and to recognize the importance of allowing choice.”

“I love seeing how a variety of different people from different communities can come together to have such an incredible time. I enjoy seeing the progression of each individual over the course of the program.”

“It is tremendously rewarding to see the amazing capabilities of those who have been diagnosed with dementia.”

As a Minds in Motion program volunteer, you will:

  • Be available for a 3-hour shift a week, for 8 consecutive weekday mornings or afternoons
  • Learn to facilitate recreational programs for adults of varied ability
  • Engage socially with participants
  • Assist with the set-up and clean-up of refreshments and program equipment

Click here for more information.

The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba would like to thank The Winnipeg Foundation and our community partners for their support and participation in the Minds in Motion® program. Our community partners are Revera, We Care and Comforts of Home-Care Inc.


Caregiver Recognition Day

Caregiver Rec DayTuesday, April 5 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 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, shovel snow, 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!

In honour of Caregiver Recognition Day, a forum entitled “Caring Together” will take place on April 5, 2016 at Canad Inns Polo Park in Winnipeg. It will provide perspectives from a health care professional and a family caregiver on their experiences and how they learned to work together to develop a “care team.” This forum is presented by the Manitoba Caregiver Coalition, Caregiving with Confidence and the Manitoba Gerontological Nursing Association.


Staying Independent Longer With Dementia

Lady making teaBeing diagnosed with dementia doesn’t mean that it’s time to pack up and move to a care facility. In fact, living at home and staying in the community can help someone with dementia to keep their sense of freedom, which can help them to maintain the best possible quality of life.

The question is: What can be done to help a person with dementia stay independent longer?

“The first step is to talk to your physician about any concerns regarding living alone. Your physician can make a referral to an occupational therapist who can assess you and your home,” says Marcia Stewart, an occupational therapist (OT) with Community Therapy Services in Winnipeg who has plenty of experience working with people with dementia.

An OT will complete a full assessment to discover what needs are – and are not – being met. “We look at the cognitive and functional status of the person, as well as community and household management,” says Marcia. “Another thing that helps keep the mind and body fit longer is exercise, and physiotherapists are available to do a physical assessment.”

Once the team has determined the needs of the individual, a plan of action can be devised.

Planning to Stay Independent

For people diagnosed with dementia, Marcia notes the importance of keeping the mind as sharp as possible. Ways to preserve problem solving abilities include doing puzzles and other challenging activities. It’s also important to establish a schedule and routine. “Writing down activities and keeping a calendar can place scheduled activities in the forefront, helping to maintain independence,” she says.

Encouraging people with dementia to do as much as possible for themselves is another key piece to consider. This can be tough for a caregiver because the desire to help may be strong. “Sometimes a caregiver will try to do too much – for example, making the tea instead of letting the person do it on their own. This can lead to loss of the skill,” says Marcia.

For those who don’t have a care partner, assistance through the Home Care Program can help a person to maintain independence. “A home care case coordinator will do an assessment and determine what is needed,” says Marcia.

It may seem counterintuitive, but seeking help gives someone with dementia a better chance of remaining independent longer. “Unfortunately, I have seen cases where people receive their diagnosis and then withdraw,” say Marcia. “This often leads to the person declining to the point where additional care is needed,” says Marcia. Clearly, being proactive is key.

A dementia diagnosis can be difficult and life-changing, but taking advantage of the resources available can help people to live in their homes and stay in their communities for as long as safely possible. The result is increased quality of life.


Spotlight on Current Research

anxious manChronic Stress and Pathologic Anxiety can Increase Risk of Dementia

A scientific review of published studies led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, Toronto, looked into the possible link between chronic stress and anxiety and brain damage. The review paper included findings from studies on stress and anxiety in animal models and neuroimaging results.

The review highlighted some of the following findings:

  • Women who experienced significant psychosocial stress in middle age were at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease 20 years later.
  • Anxiety symptoms increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in cognitively normal elderly and in those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by as much as 2.5-fold.
  • Administration of stress hormones in animal models results in increased amyloid formation and tau accumulation.
  • Data from neuroimaging studies show that anxiety severity in MCI increased the rate of conversion to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Chronic stress and excessive stress hormone exposure is associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus (area of the brain primarily responsible for memory) and decreased its growth and formation.

Anxiety is considered a normal part of life when it happens occasionally and temporarily, but can become pathologic when it is chronic and interferes with day to day activities. Stress, too, is a normal response of the body to a challenging event, but can develop into a disorder when it becomes chronic and unmanageable. Seeking timely medical attention and support from family and health professionals are important steps in reducing the risk of chronic stress and pathologic anxiety. These measures promote emotional well-being and may reduce the risk of dementia.

A scientific review paper on this project can be found online. To access this paper, click here.


Research Project Seeks Participants

father and daughterRelationships are important to us all. People with dementia need and want to remain connected to those they know, whether that means through socializing, doing tasks or just being together. Family and friends of people living with dementia also want to keep the relationship alive and vital. In doing so, they provide support, enabling the person living with cognitive changes to be as engaged as possible.

PhD candidate and registered nurse Barbara Tallman is conducting a research project that will examine how individuals with dementia and significant people in their lives relate. She is trying to answer the question: How do people with dementia and those with whom they are intimately involved describe, react to and understand each other in their relationship and in everyday activities?

“My study is seeking candidate pairs: they could be spouses, a person with dementia and one of their children, or a person with dementia and a friend,” says Tallman. “I’ll be interviewing the pair separately and together to hear their perspectives on their relationship. I’ll also be observing the similarities and differences about how they view their life together over the years and in the present.” She is interested in how one of the pair having dementia has changed or enriched the relationship.

The study participants will also be invited to participate in an activity of their choice in which the pair’s interaction can be observed. “I’ll be looking at how they interact, help one another and communicate,” says Barbara.

Tallman is seeking couples or pairs that have known one another for at least five years, and where one has a diagnosis of a type of dementia but does not live in a personal care home. The pair may live together or apart.

The study has been approved by the Education/Nursing Research Ethics Board of the University of Manitoba.

To express interest in this study and to learn whether becoming a participant is for you, contact Barbara Tallman at 204-330-5070 or email To view a poster about this study, click here.


Adult Son and Daughter Pairs Sought for Research Project

bro-sis-momTwo Masters of Occupational Therapy students at the University of Toronto are conducting a research study on how Canadian adult children work together to care for their parent with dementia. The students are inviting adult daughter and son pairs to share their individual experiences of caregiving via an online survey, which takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete. This research will provide a deeper understanding of family dynamics associated with caring for a parent with dementia and can inform how best to support families in the future.

Click here to access the survey.
Click here for a poster containing more information.


Working Together

tipslogoWhen someone in the family is diagnosed with dementia, care duties can sometimes shift to one individual, whether it be a spouse or partner, a sibling, or an adult child. If this happens, it is important to know that you do not have to navigate the journey as a caregiver on your own. Caregiving can be viewed as a relay, with frequent breaks facilitated by a team of family members along the way.

Here are some suggestions for working together.


Gather a Team

  • Ask for help from your family or friends.
  • Encourage family members to choose care tasks that reflect their strengths.
  • Include professionals, such as cleaning or meal preparation services, on your team when needed.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

  • A group email or text message can be used to share updates, discuss appointment details and delegate tasks, such as grocery shopping.
  • Free tools, an example being Dropbox, can be used to post a list of shared tasks and to convey additional information, such as doctor and medical contact numbers.
  • FaceTime or Skype can keep out-of-town family members involved.

Practice Self-care

  • Take time to self-reflect. If your energy levels are low, it might be time to negotiate a break. Ask if other family members can help out so that you can take time off.
  • Consider finding a friend or confidant that you can talk to regularly to gain emotional support.

As you work together to help the person you are caring for, remember to support each other to create a strong and resilient team.


Upcoming Education


Family Education: Next Steps
Learn new skills that will help you face the daily realities of living with and caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia through these informative sessions.

Reducing Risk of Falls for People with Dementia
Discuss strategies to prevent falls so injuries and hospitalizations can be prevented.
Wednesday, March 16, 7 to 8:30 pm
River Ridge Retirement Residence, 50 Ridgecrest Ave., Winnipeg (map)
Click here for more information and to register.
Advance Care Planning: It’s for Everyone!
Come and talk about end of life care and learn about advanced care planning and health care directives.
Wednesday, April 13, 7 to 8:30 pm
Amber Meadow, 320 Pipeline Rd., Winnipeg (map)
Click here for more information and to register.

Minds in Motion® Program
Spring sessions of the eight-week Minds in Motion® program will soon begin at six Winnipeg locations and in Gimli. 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 find out about spring sessions
starting in late March and April.

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

Saturday, March 12, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Gordon Howard Seniors Centre, 384 Eveline St. (map)
Cost: $20. Includes refreshments and resources.
To register contact Gordon Howard Seniors Centre at 204-785-2092 or Jackie Dokken at 204-268-4752 or
Saturday, March 19, 9 am to 4 pm
Boundary Trails Health Centre, Junction Hwy. 3 and Hwy 14, Winkler (map)
Cost: $20. Includes refreshments and resources.
To register contact Kathy Fehr at 204-325-5634 or
Saturdays, May 7 and 14, 9 am to 2 pm
Riverwood Square, 1778 Pembina Hwy. (map)
Cost: $25 for both days. Includes lunch, resources and refreshments.
Register online at or by email at or
call 204-943-6622 or 1-800-378-6699.

Telehealth Family Education
The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba offers family education for those experiencing dementia in over
40 communities across the province via video technology. The following topic will be presented in April:

Becoming a Resilient Caregiver
Tuesday, April 5, 6:30 to 8 pm
Click here for information on Telehealth.
Click here to register for this Telehealth session.



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 brochure to see session descriptions and presenters.
Click here for more information.

Thanks to the Sponsors of Dementia Care 2016:

Dementia Care Sponsors


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, 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

21st Annual Chili Cook Off – Brandon, Manitoba

SONY DSCFriday, March 11
6 to 7:30 pm
Houstons Country Roadhouse in Brandon (map)

Come out and enjoy a bowl of chili, a bun and a drink for only $10. The evening also includes a Rainbow Auction and a 50/50 draw.


Competitors will showcase their chili in an attempt to win an award in the following categories:

1) Fuel Injected
2) The Good, The Bad, The Mild
3) No Holds Barred
4) People’s Choice

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

Click here for the Chili Cook Off website!

For information, email Jodee at or phone 204-729-8320.


Memory Walk 2016 Save the Date-adjust