June 2017 eNewsletter

In This Issue

Terry Law’s Family Plans to Make Memories at the Walk for Alzheimer’s
You Are Invited to our Annual General Meeting
Tree of Memories Ceremony
Player Safety Key to Cognitive Health
St. Malo Quilters Surpass 1000 Touch Quilts
Student Takes Home Two Gold Medals for her Science Fair Project
Volunteers Needed: Are You Interested in Health Ethics?
Study Participants Needed
Caregiver Tips: Life Story Work
Spotlight on Research: The Importance of Life Story Work
Providing Dementia Friendly Customer Service
Alzheimer Society Pilots Webinars
Upcoming Education
Upcoming Support Groups
Upcoming Events
Anything for Alzheimer’s

Registration is Still Open for the Walk for Alzheimer’s!
Walks take place across Manitoba during June. Find a Walk in your community and register today by clicking the image below!

Walk ad - long 3x8-C


Terry Law’s Family Plans to Make Memories at the Walk for Alzheimer’s

Kerri Pleskach and family2Kerri Pleskach and her family members and friends will meet up at The Forks on Tuesday, June 13 for a special reason: they will participate, for the first time, as a team in the Walk for Alzheimer’s in support of Kerri’s dad, Terry Law.

The team’s name is Terry’s Memory Makers, and so far 15 people are ready to walk together that day. Members include Terry’s wife Jan (Kerri’s mom), Kerri’s sisters Tara and Cristy, her children Rorie and Addison, niece Jaeda, nephew Brek, aunts, uncles, in-laws and friends.

Terry, the man of honour, will be there, too. He’ll walk united with his family in support of this nation-wide event.

“As soon as we learned about the Walk, we decided to recruit a team,” says Kerri. “Once we put the word out, we discovered that a lot of people were interested – the team practically made itself!”

Now, every time she checks her email, someone else wants to join or make a donation. “It’s heartwarming!” she says.

The members of Terry’s Memory Makers are excited to walk in support of the Alzheimer Society, which was there to help the family when they needed it most. Terry was diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s disease in January 2016 – just before his 65th birthday. It was an emotional time for Kerri, her mom and her sisters, but their first contact with the Society – a meeting with Regional Coordinator Jackie Dokken – helped to alleviate some of their fears.

“Jackie made us all talk,” says Kerri. “She made us realize that we had to sit down and go over things because there was a lot we didn’t understand about the disease. She also taught us that we all needed to learn how to support Mom because her world is turned upside down.”

Since then, the family has taken advantage of the Society’s Support Group in Beausejour and several of its Telehealth Education Sessions. As well, they attended Family Night with Teepa Snow in March to hear this renowned educator teach about interacting in a meaningful way with a person with dementia. “We left crying,” admits Kerri.

With Jan retiring in July so she can be a full time caregiver for Terry in their home in Beausejour, the family knows they will be relying on the Society for more support in the future. In the meantime, they will give back by walking in the 2017 event in Winnipeg.

Walk for Alzheimer’s events will take place during June in communities across Manitoba. In Winnipeg on June 13, participants will meet between 5 and 6 pm in familiar territory: The Forks – Festival Stage. All walkers can expect uplifting entertainment, food and prizes.

Kerri’s team intends to raise enough – and hopefully more! – for everyone to earn a 2017 t-shirt, which they will wear proudly as they walk the scenic route together. Says Kerri, “We’re looking forward to a really great day!”


You Are Invited to our Annual General Meeting

Please join us as we celebrate a year of accomplishments, recognize our dedicated volunteers and honour those who have lost their lives to dementia.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Alzheimer Society – Provincial Office 
10-120 Donald Street, Winnipeg, MB

5:30 pm – Reception
6  pm – Volunteer Recognition & Tree of Memories Ceremony
7  pm – Annual General Meeting

RSVP to Lynne Williams by Friday, June 16 at lwilliams@alzheimer.mb.ca or 204-943-6622

Tree of Memories Ceremony

Tree of MemoriesHonour the memory of your loved one by adding a commemorative leaf to our Tree of Memories at the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 20th.

To purchase a leaf or to participate in this ceremony, contact Lynne Williams by

Friday, June 16 at lwilliams@alzheimer.mb.ca or 204-943-6622. 


Player Safety is Key to Cognitive Health

Good one - smallBrian Dobie, coach of the Bison Football team of the University of Manitoba, talks Brain Health during Brain Injury Awareness Month throughout June.

As more studies point to a link between head injuries at a young age and dementia later in life, parents, coaches and players are rightfully concerned about the risk of concussion in contact sports.

Brian Dobie knows more about the topic than most. The head coach of the University of Manitoba Bisons football team has been involved with football for five decades and has mentored thousands of young athletes.

For him, the question of whether things have gotten better or worse for young people in sport is a complicated one.

On the one hand, he says, the risk of head injury has increased as high-level sport becomes faster, harder and more competitive.

On the other, awareness of brain injury and knowledge about its prevention and treatment has improved immeasurably over the years.

“Back when I played, and even when I started coaching at the university 20 years ago, if somebody had a concussion, we didn’t think much of it,” he recalls. “We had players with obvious concussions, and the coaches would look at their watches and think, ‘How quickly can he get back on the field?’ We know better now.”

This increased knowledge has led to incredible developments in the game of football – changes in the sport to make it safer for athletes. These include improvements to equipment, changes to rules to reduce head-to-head or shoulder-to-head contact, and even new tackle techniques.

Highly trained medical staff are also a must for player safety on university teams, Brian says, since competitive, eager young athletes are not always the best judge of their own limits and when it’s safe to resume playing after a head injury.

“Our athletes – we don’t trust them,” he says. “In a good way. We need to listen to the advice and direction of professionals, not our players’ instincts or even our own.”

When he’s asked by parents and coaches for input about how to keep their kids safe, his advice is the same regardless of the age level or the sport: get educated and get certified.

“A lot of teams are coached by dads and moms who are doing it out of the love of their kids and their community,” he says. “And that’s great, but it’s important for them to take courses, educate themselves and learn all they can about head injury risk and prevention.”

To players, he says, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re hurt. Head injuries are the hardest injuries to diagnose by sight, so it’s incumbent on athletes to reach out to a coach or parent if they’re worried about something.

“And listen to your coaches,” Dobie says. “They’re there for you, and they’re there for one reason only: to help you become a better player, and to play safely.”

Coaches like Brian know that playing safely and protecting players’ brains today may be key to their future cognitive health.

Click here for more information about Brain Health.


St. Malo Quilters Surpass 1000 Touch Quilts

quilters good oneThe St. Malo Quilting group has created over 1000 Touch Quilts for residents living in personal care homes in South Eastern Manitoba, the Interlake region and facilities in Winnipeg. The group of six women have put in nearly 7,000 hours and were honoured at a tea hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba’s Steinbach Office.

The Touch Quilt Project is a community development initiative that creates awareness about dementia and how the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba can provide support to those living with the disease. Touch Quilts are crafted by many caring volunteers in the community. The hope is to provide a quilt to every person residing in a personal care home in Manitoba and to create a sense of community.

All the women in the St. Malo group have all been touched by dementia in some way and feel it is important to give back to the community.

“Making these quilts gives us something meaningful to do with our time. When we see the joy that it brings to the residents who receive the quilts, it makes it all worthwhile,” says the group unanimously.

Touch Quilts bring comfort, happiness and enjoyment to residents that otherwise may feel fidgety or anxious, especially those who are living with dementia.

The quilts are specially designed using a variety of colors and textures. Activity squares that feature zippers, buttons and ties are also included. The group thoughtfully places theme squares in each quilt so residents can choose one that fits their personal interests and history.

“The St. Malo Quilters are so ambitious and creative; they put consideration and care into each quilt, making sure it reflects the unique interests of the residents,” says Leona Doerksen, Regional Coordinator of the Alzheimer Society’s South Eastman region.

This group of women hopes to pass on their passion to the next generation of quilters, but they aren’t putting down their needles just yet!

Student Takes Home Two Gold Medals for her Science Fair Project

Camilla with project good oneCamilla Opida has set the bar high for science fairs. The grade eight Holy Cross student took home the gold medal for her project on Dementia, propelling her to present and win a bronze medal at the Bison Regional Science Fair and another gold at the Manitoba School Science Symposium.

So what enticed a 13-year-old student to base her science fair project on a complex topic like dementia?

After fundraising and selling chocolates at the personal care home where her mother worked, Camilla became curious and interested in the people her mother cared for. “I asked my mom about the residents, and she told me they have dementia – this led me to do my project on the disease.”

Camilla pushed the boundaries of typical science fair projects and took on a challenging one. She went the extra steps of booking a meeting with the management staff of the personal care home, interviewing some of the residents and even reaching out to Joyce Klassen, PIECES Coordinator, from the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. “My mom saw a chance for me to attend a presentation for caregivers caring for a person with dementia, and that’s when I met Joyce.” She says, “I learned more about the disease and began emailing Joyce back and forth. She helped me out a lot.”

Joyce was impressed. “Camilla worked hard to complete her project, asked good questions and was dedicated to doing a good job. I could see her dedication from the very start,” says Joyce.

Camilla says that although the project was challenging at times, it taught her a lot about her own interest in working in the medical field when she is older. “The most important thing I learned while doing this project is that patience is the key to understanding a person living with dementia,” says Camilla. “I will probably start volunteering at a personal care home this summer, and in the future, I hope to become a doctor or do research in the medical field.”

In the meantime, Camilla has been accepted into the Advanced Studies Program at Sisler High School, which she will be attending this upcoming fall.




Volunteers Needed:
Are You Interested in Health Ethics?

3-playing-gameIf so, you may be interested to know that the Winnipeg-Churchill Health Region’s Ethics Council is seeking members of the public to join the Ethics Council Public Engagement Group.

The Winnipeg Health Region recognizes the importance of receiving input and feedback from the people it serves. This group is affiliated with the Regional Ethics Council. It meets quarterly and was formed to provide input to the Regional Ethics Council on ethics resources and strategies that will

guide the ethical practice of health care providers in the Region. Volunteers are appointed to a three-year term and they meet four times per year (September to May) from 5:30 pm to 8 pm.

For more information about this role and to apply on-line, click here or contact Jennifer Dunsford at jdunsford@wrha.mb.ca or 204-926-7124.

Deadline for applications is June 15, 2017.




Study Participants Needed:

Research participant story photoAre you living with someone with dementia? Is your family member’s behaviour changing?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may want to consider participating in a study exploring how caregivers respond to and experience behavioural changes in the home.

Participation is voluntary and confidential. It involves two short interviews and six weekly diary entries. Your family member does not need to have an official diagnosis of dementia or cognitive impairment to be eligible for inclusion.

The study team consists of researchers from the University of Manitoba, Brandon University and Carlton University. To participate or for more information, contact Dr. Rachel Herron at herronr@brandonu.ca or 204-727-9771.

Click here for a full description of the study.




Caregiving Tips

Stipslogoupporting a person’s sense of self by understanding their past and using this knowledge to shape their present-day experience is an important principle of person-centred care. This can be made possible by doing life story work.

Life story work is an activity that involves the person with dementia, their family members and friends, and/or care staff. These individuals can help to record key moments of the person’s past and present life, usually in a scrapbook or a photo or video album.

The activity helps people with dementia share their stories and enhances their sense of identity. It not only helps family, friends and care staff to build a unique picture of the person and understand their needs and wishes, but it also encourages better communication. As dementia progresses, life story work can play an increasingly important role in stimulating conversation.

Here are a few suggestions when doing life story work:

  • Choose a format that appeals to the person with dementia and that is also familiar to you so you will be comfortable creating it.
  • Be creative when gathering information. Use reminiscence, open-ended questions, visual cues and other sensory stimuli to initiate conversations.
  • Allow plenty of time when gathering information. This enables the person with dementia to share stories in a free-flowing, unrestricted manner.
  • Go with the flow. Allow the person to share any aspects of their life that they wish to focus on at each interaction. Information gathering does not need to be in chronological order.
  • Involve the person as much as possible so they have a sense of ownership. Let them choose photos or objects that they would like to include.
  • Make the life story work an ongoing process. Add information or events even after the initial work has been done.

Life story work is invaluable in helping people with dementia reconnect with their lives. Enjoy the moments you spend together while discovering more about the person. Value the life story book and use it to prompt memories and stimulate meaningful interaction.

Click here for more information on life story work.




Spotlight on Research:
The Importance of Life Story Work

senior couple sharing happy memories at homeA project that supported the introduction of life story work for people with dementia and their families was conducted in seven clinical areas across two older adult mental health facilities in the UK. A multi-disciplinary team and family representatives provided support to staff by providing life story training, suggestions for gathering life story information, ways to incorporate life story information in care plans and ongoing consultations for the duration of the project. The impact of the life story work was evaluated through the number of life story books developed, staff responses/experiences, reflections of nurse leaders and feedback from families. Results of the project are as follows:

  • There were 24 life story books completed.
  • Prior to the project, when asked what they valued about working with people with dementia, some staff indicated that it was the task oriented approach. After the life story work project, staff expressed a better understanding of the person and their history and became more person-centred in their approach. Many of the participants felt that the information gained informed care plans. Almost all staff participants felt that the life story work improved their understanding of the person’s needs and their relationship with the person with dementia and their families.
  • Nurse leaders identified leadership from management as key to facilitating life story work. The project improved relationships amongst staff, the person with dementia and the families.
  • Families reflected that the life story work resulted in better relationships with staff because they felt more included in care. They also felt reassured that staff now knew more about the person with dementia. Families also expressed that it was beneficial and therapeutic for them.

The project validated previous studies and highlighted the importance of life story work when caring for people with dementia and their families.


Thompson, R. (2010). Realising the potential: Developing life story work in practice. In Sanders, K. and Shaw, T. (Eds) Foundation of Nursing Studies Dissemination Series. Vol.5. No. 5




Providing Dementia Friendly Customer Service

VolunteerThis is a two-part series about providing good customer service to people with dementia. This month’s article provides some general tips. Watch for Part II in our July issue, which will discuss assisting the person with payment transactions.

Whether it is in a retail store, a salon, a restaurant or an organization that provides services, good customer relations go a long way in helping people with dementia do their business successfully.

Here are some considerations that will assist businesses to be dementia friendly:

  • People with dementia have varying levels of memory and cognitive ability. Each individual is different, so it is important not to make assumptions about what the person can or cannot do.
  • If a person appears or expresses that he/she is confused, it is important to:
    • approach them from the front in a calm manner. Do not approach or touch from behind.
    • keep a comfortable space between you and the person – about an arm’s reach.
    • face the person at eye level, greet them, and then ask, “Can I help?” Avoid calling to the person from a distance.
  • If the person is having difficulty expressing themselves or understanding what you’re saying, you can:
    • take them to a quieter space.
    • use short and simple statements.
    • encourage the person to point to an item they are interested in.
    • listen carefully, pick out key words from their statements and ask, “Are you saying…?” You can point to the item you think they are referring to as you check your understanding of their message.

Staff members of local retail outlets are encouraged to learn about dementia and how it may impact a person’s ability to take care of their day-to-day business. Understanding how to support people with dementia by offering them empathic, thoughtful customer service will assist them to remain active in the community as long as possible.

To learn more about dementia and ways to make your business or service more dementia friendly, contact Jennifer Vincente-Licardo at the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba at 204-943-6622 or email alzeducation@alzheimer.mb.ca.




Alzheimer Society Pilots Webinars

how_to_repurpose_webinarsAre you interested in testing a new way of receiving information from the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba? On Thursday, June 22 at 7 pm the Society will be piloting a webinar called Speak Up! Advocacy Skills for Caregivers.

We are as much interested in discovering how you like webinar presentations as we are about your interest in this important topic.

“Providing webinar learning is a new experience for us. We hope to have a good turnout for the session so we can find out if this method of learning is something you want us to pursue,” says presenter, Norma Kirkby, Program Director at the Society.

When you participate in this webinar pilot, you’ll be hearing about the important topic of caregiver advocacy. The presentation will discuss the significance of an advocate representing the values of the person on whose behalf they are advocating.

Being the advocate for a family member or friend comes with responsibilities. “It is crucial for the advocate to take their concerns to the right person,” says Norma. “Approaching the right person can lead to faster problem solving.”

Because solutions are not always found the first time one brings up a concern, it is important for advocates to have some negotiating skills in their repertoire. The webinar will discuss principles of negotiating so win-win resolutions can be found.

Click here to register online or call 204-943-6622 by Monday, June 19. When you have registered you will receive information about signing onto the webinar platform and accessing the presentation on June 22.

A second in the pilot series will be offered in September when a lawyer will discuss power of attorney and other important legal matters.  The date for the September webinar is yet to be announced.




Upcoming Education


Living with Dementia: First Steps
Join us for informational and experiential workshops for people supporting a person recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

Part 3: Saturday, June 17, 9 am to 12 pm
• Navigating housing and care options
• Advocating for the person with dementia
• Care for yourself
Click here to register online.
Sessions are located at Windsor Park United Church, 1062 Autumnwood Dr. (map)
Cost: $10 per day (includes refreshments and resources)
For more information, contact Jennifer Vincente-Licardo at 204-943-943-6622 or alzeducation@alzheimer.mb.ca

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

Understanding Changing Behaviours in People with Dementia
Wednesday, June 14, 7 to 8:30 pm
Behaviour changes may occur as dementia progresses. Learn more about these changes, as well as some interventions that focus on understanding what the person with dementia is trying to communicate with their words, gestures and behaviours.
Session is located at The Waverley and Rosewood, 857 Wilkes Ave., Winnipeg (map)


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





Save the date!

The Alzheimer Society invites you to the 2017 Care4U Conference on:

Saturday, October 28, 2017
Canadian Mennonite University (map)
Conference: 9 am to 4 pm
Cost: $40 (includes lunch)

Explore ways to foster quality of life for you and your family member with dementia. 

Registration opens September 2017

Watch for our Early Bird Opportunities!

          Event Sponsor







Upcoming Events

Walk for Alzheimer’s:
Click on image below to register your team!

Walk ad - long 3x8-C








Brandon Motorcycle Poker Derby:

PD Autoresponder banner

Get your motors running at the 22nd Annual Motorcycle Poker Derby.

Saturday, August 26, 2017
9 am to 7 pm
Alzheimer Society Office
457 9th Street, Brandon, MB (map)

Click here to register, and start raising funds today!

Anything for Alzheimer’s

Help make a difference in your community and plan your own fundraiser to raise money for the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. Click here to visit the Anything for Alzheimer’s website for event ideas, fundraising tips and tools for planning, promoting and hosting your event.

Below are some Anything for Alzheimer’s activities currently underway:

Catalyst Credit Union Manitoba MudRun – Dauphin

Personal PageWe have some exciting new prizes to announce!

For every $25 you raise, your name is entered to win two weekend passes for CountryFest 2018! Click here to see more great prizes!

Step out of your comfort zone and test your physical strength on Saturday, August 12 in Dauphin, MB for a 10km trail run with more than 25 obstacles to overcome.

Cost to register:

  • Standard Bird – $80 (May 1st to June 30th @ Midnight)
  • Just-in-Time Bird – $90 (July 1st to August 1st @ Midnight)

After you have registered with Manitoba MudRun, go the extra mile in your fundraising efforts for the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba and GET DIRTY for dementia! Click here to become a MudRun Warrior, create your own webpage and raise funds conveniently online. By doing so, you will help to make a difference in the lives of families living with dementia.


Treherne Delahunt Golf & Country Club’s Charity Golf Tournament
golfSaturday, August 12, 2017
10 am to 6 pm
Treherne Delahunt Golf and Country Club

Congratulations to the Country Club for having a sold out Charity Golf Tournament!

They are still accepting hole sponsors and prize and cash donations. There are still a few seats left for the steak supper at the event. To reserve your seat, or for more information, please call the Treherne Delahunt Golf and Country Club at 1-204-723-2502, or contact committee member Penny Lee at pennylee@mymts.net.


Cigar Under the Stars Presented by The Wellink’s

cigar under the starsThursday, June 15th
Rossmere Country Club
925 Watt Street, Winnipeg, MB (map)
Cost: $160 includes cigar package, appetizers, bar/wine service, 4-course dinner, taxes & gratuities.

Guests can expect to dine on a 4-course meal in a tent accompanied with cigar smoking under the stars with auction to follow. Proceeds go to the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba

To purchase tickets, please call Frances Wellink at 204-294-8889


Winnipeg 10 & 10: Run or Walk in Support of the Alzheimer Society!
10&10 run-3x3Run or walk 30 km, 10 mile, 10 km or 5 km events that start and finish in downtown Winnipeg during Manyfest weekend on Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 7:30 am. The Running Room is partnering with the Alzheimer Society for this event.
Click here to register now and get early bird prices.
For more information, contact Chris Walton at cwalton@runningroom.com



We hope you enjoy our June 2017 eNewsletter!

email-buttonIf you know someone who could benefit from the stories and information you see in this eNewsletter, please email them this link: alzheimer.mb.ca/ Click here to subscribe and receive future updates.

Thank you for reading!