July 2017 eNewsletter

In This Issue

Improve Your Brain Health: Get Active!
Distinguished Member Award: Don Dybka Gets Back What He Gives
Winnipeg 10 & 10 Run: Walk or Run in Support of the Alzheimer Society!
Caregiving Tips: Maintaining Independence and Safety Through Home Adaptations
Spotlight on Research: Diet, Genetics and Alzheimer’s Disease
Providing Dementia Friendly Customer Service: Assisting with Payment Transactions
Upcoming Education
Upcoming Support Groups
Upcoming Events
Anything for Alzheimer’s

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Improve Your Brain Health: Get Active!

Eleanor Mathews 3x3Eleanor Mathews walks five to eight kilometres every weekday. She and her walking partner often extend that distance to 12 kilometres on the weekends as they explore longer urban trails in Winnipeg.

Eleanor is 83 years old, and she plans to keep walking for years to come – even in the winter when she uses a treadmill in her apartment building’s fitness room. Not only that, but she has every intention of keeping up her active lifestyle, which includes hopping on a city bus to head to her volunteer jobs at the Alzheimer Society and at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

This fit senior is a prime example of how active living can promote brain health as one ages. Evidence shows that, by maintaining a routine of regular, moderate physical activity, a person’s risk of developing dementia decreases. That’s because people who exercise are less likely to develop some of the known – and avoidable – risk factors of dementia, including obesity, stroke and diabetes, which can lead to poor cardiovascular health.

“I’ve always been aware that staying active would lead to better health,” says Eleanor. “I realized I could be either my own worst enemy if I indulge myself or my own best friend if I keep up a regular routine of exercise and activities.”

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Eleanor is the mother of Maria Mathews, Minds in Motion® Program Manager at the Alzheimer Society, and it’s easy to see that this mother-daughter duo are role models for each other. Leading an active lifestyle is Maria’s mantra. Like her mom, she finds time to keep fit, committing the first hour of her mornings to “moving.” In Maria’s case, that means a workout in her home gym, but “moving” can be anything from running to biking or simply going for a stroll. For Maria, this movement routine sets her on the path for a successful day.

Maria brings a breadth of knowledge to her role at the Society in the area of healthy lifestyles for older adults. She is a certified fitness leader and evaluator of fitness for older adults, as well as a Red River College graduate of Recreation Facilitation for Older Adults.

To live your best, she suggests participating in activities that cause you to be mindful. “Activities are more likely to be mindful when there is a combination of movement, cognitive stimulation and socialization involved.” Examples of such activities are ballroom dancing, walking with a group and Tai Chi.

Maria advises people to follow in her mother’s footsteps: get active now and – no matter how busy your life is – make self-care a priority by taking time to establish a regular routine. It’s never too soon or too late to make changes that will help you improve or maintain your brain health.

Eleanor agrees one hundred percent!


Distinguished Member Award:
Don Dybka Gets Back What He Gives

Don dybka 3x3Don Dybka’s commitment as a volunteer with the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba is truly impressive. That’s why he is such a deserving recipient of this year’s Distinguished Member Award.

Don’s initiative and dedication is far-reaching. A member of the Board for five years, he served as Chair during 2016-17. While on the Board, he has been involved with the Audit Committee, the Nominating Committee and the Governance Standards Task Force. Outside of his commitment to the Board, he worked as a Gala Committee volunteer for three years.

Don is humble about these accomplishments, instead throwing accolades at the Board, Committee and staff members with whom he works. “I get as much back as what I give because the people here work so hard in support of the Society’s mission,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot working with this organization, and it’s gratifying to see the gains we’ve made together.”

Some of the progress the Society has made stems from Don’s extensive experience in governance renewal, which has been a significant contribution at the Federation level. He has given over 700 hours in governance volunteering, both at the Alzheimer Society of Canada Board level as Manitoba’s representative and by providing leadership on the President’s Task Force.

Through it all, Don remembers his reason for being here: his mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s disease, and he witnessed the impact it had on his wife, Valerie, and her family. “We are all basically a collection of memories, and when that is taken away, it’s tough. The Alzheimer Society plays a vital role in helping people with dementia and their families to work through their unique circumstances. It’s uplifting to have the opportunity to play a role in that.”


Winnipeg 10 & 10: Run or Walk in Support of the Alzheimer Society!

10&10 run-3x3There is an event coming up on September 10 at 7:30 am that will let participants get moving while they ring in the autumn. Not only that, but they’ll be helping to raise money for the Alzheimer Society.

The event is the Winnipeg 10 & 10, and it involves walking or running – at whatever pace you desire – on routes that start and end in downtown Winnipeg. Avid long distance trekkers can try the 30-kilometre route to Assiniboine Park, while those who prefer a more leisurely distance can run or walk a 10-mile, 10-kilometre or 5-kilometre route.

In other words, there is something for everyone! And no matter which route you choose, you’ll be encouraged by an army of enthusiastic volunteers, who will cheer for you along the way.

The 10 & 10 is presented by Investors Group and is part of Manyfest weekend (www.manyfest.ca). The Running Room is the coordinator of the event, and they are happy to partner with the Alzheimer Society. Your participation and any additional donations and pledges will support this great cause.

Click here to go to the Running Room’s registration page and sign up now for this fun event. You’ll find route maps, a list of prizes and start times. Note that the route is a certified course and timing chips are provided.

For more information, contact Chris Walton at cwalton@runningroom.com.

See you there!




Caregiving Tips

tipslogoMaintaining Independence and Safety Through Home Adaptations

Individuals with dementia may experience changes in their ability to perform everyday activities as their dementia progresses. The use of adaptive techniques at home, such as those described below, will help the person remain independent for as long as possible.

Tips to Help Orient the Person

  • Use good lighting: maximize natural light by opening curtains and blinds; use energy efficient artificial lighting to keep each space at home well-lit.
  • Use orientation clocks that have larger displays for date, day and time and day/night and hour; some may have alarms that can prompt for medication or meal times.
  • Post a visual cue for tasks that are often forgotten (i.e. brewing coffee or using a TV remote control). This may include a list of the steps or graphics that demonstrate the steps.
  • Use dinner sets with colour contrast to make food more visible, such as a red table mat/cloth under a white plate. Serve coloured food on a white plate, and serve white food (i.e. mushroom soup, white pasta) in a coloured bowl/plate.
  • Use toilet seats that contrast in colour to the toilet to make the seat more visible.
  • Suggest whistle key finders to help locate missing keys so the person doesn’t have to sort through multiple drawers.

Tips to Promote Safety

  • Place sensors or night lights along hallways and stairs to increase visibility at night.
  • Purchase appliances such as irons, toaster ovens and coffeemakers with automatic shut-off devices.
  • If it is no longer safe for the person with dementia to go out alone, install alarms or sound warning devices on doors so the care partner is alerted if the person leaves.

People with dementia can live safe and functional lives at home and in the community with ongoing support from family and friends. Care partners are encouraged to find the balance between independence and safety when supporting the person with dementia.

For other suggestions, click here to read the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba factsheet, “Creating a Safe Home for People with Dementia.”




Spotlight on Research: Poor Diet Combined with Genetic Factor May Further Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Spinach Salad 3x3A study done on mouse models evaluated the association of diet-induced obesity and the presence of the ApoE4 gene in increasing Alzheimer’s-like brain changes.

Mouse models used in the study had combined familial Alzheimer’s disease gene (heredity) and the ApoE gene. The subjects were divided into two groups, one with the ApoE4 variant (the gene related to late onset Alzheimer’s disease) and the ApoE3 (a benign variant that is not associated with Alzheimer’s disease). Each group was further subdivided and for 12 weeks received either a control diet or a Western diet high in saturated fat and sugar. The control diet had 10% fat and 7% sucrose while the Western diet had 45% fat and 17% sucrose.

Initial results show that all groups that received the Western diet developed obesity and impaired ability to clear glucose. Further evaluation showed that the group fed the Western diet displayed a significant increase in amyloid protein deposits (plaques), while symptoms did not worsen in ApoE3 mice who consumed a Western diet.

These findings show that there is potentially an important relationship between genetic and behavioural factors such as diet in increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Further research will help validate the relationship between poor diet and the growth of plaques and brain inflammation.

Since there is no clear evidence as to what causes Alzheimer’s disease and what can prevent it, efforts to maintain a healthy diet combined with physical and social activity may play a role in lowering the risk even for those who may have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease. There’s nothing to lose by choosing a healthy lifestyle.

Click here to read a news article about the study.




Providing Dementia Friendly Customer Service: Assisting with Payment Transactions

Seniors at Cash 3x3In our June eNewsletter, we provided some general tips about providing good customer service to people with dementia. This month, we present information about assisting a person with dementia with payment transactions.

Making individuals with dementia feel welcome in the community is part of being a caring society. Sometimes, people affected by this disease may need a little assistance and understanding when making transactions at the grocery store, in a restaurant or at a service organization.

If a person is having problems with payment, whether it be by cash or card, here are some things you can do:

  • Ask if you can help.
  • Encourage the person to take their time. Be watchful of your own nonverbal cues of impatience, such as tapping, repeatedly asking about payment, apologizing to others in the line or exchanging knowing looks with other customers or staff members. These cues can make the person anxious, leading to more confusion.
  • If the transaction is taking too long and the line is growing, take the person to a separate cashier using a reassuring manner so they don’t feel pressured or embarrassed.
  • Assist the person in counting cash by allowing them to pile the money on the counter rather than trying to do it in their hands.
  • Cue the person in using the debit or credit card, one step at a time.

Families and friends can make things easier for the person with dementia by finding ways to avoid the need to handle money. For example, if the person has a favourite coffee shop or grocery store, perhaps a tab could be arranged. It may also be possible to buy gift cards or to prepay for services.

One last comment. Be aware that, if a person becomes confused during a monetary transaction, it may be because they think someone is stealing from them. In this instance, the best thing to do is to stay calm and reassure them that you only wish to be of assistance.




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.

Saturday, September 30, 9 am to 3:30 pm
• Understanding dementia and day-to-day living
• Communicating
• Caring for people with changing behaviours
Session is located at the Brandon Hospital – 2nd Floor, Nurses Residence,
150 McTavish Ave. E. (map)
Cost: $10/person
To register or for more information, contact Julie Hockley at wmprog@alzheimer.mb.ca or 204-729-8320, or Tannis Horkey at Centre for Geriatric Psychiatry at 204-578-4572.
Click here to view the poster.


Minds in Motion® Program
The Minds in Motion® eight-week program takes place at six Winnipeg locations and four Regional locations in Manitoba. This popular program combines physical activity, socialization and mental stimulation for people living with early to moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, or other dementias, to enjoy with a family member or community care partner.
Click here for information about this program.

Click here to join the Minds in Motion® team!


Family Conference

Care4u 2017

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



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




Stay Tuned for Information on Fall Programs!

Keep an eye out for our August eNewsletter for more listings of upcoming programs, such as Minds in Motion®, Living With Alzheimer’s or Other Dementias and Telehealth, as well as information on support groups, educational sessions and more!


Upcoming Events

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:


Just in time for Grad Photos!


Mention the Alzheimer Society when you take any framing project to Fleet Galleries and we will receive 10% of the proceeds of your order! It’s perfect for getting grad photos professionally framed, but you can take advantage of this generous offer from Fleet Galleries for any of your framing needs, any time at 65 Albert Street, Winnipeg MB R3B 1G3  204-942-8026 (map).



Art for Alzheimer’s!

Artist Roger LaFrenièreLocal artist Roger LaFrenière is dedicating his show “I remember…” to the memory of a dear friend. The show opens on Thursday, July 13, 6:30 to 10 pm, at Fleet Galleries at 65 Albert Street (map). Roger will donate 10% of the show’s sales to the Alzheimer Society. Come and check out this talented artist’s oil and acrylic landscapes on canvas to see what might catch your eye! (“A Perfect Summer” is shown at left.) The show runs until from July 13 through to July 27.


Catalyst Credit Union Manitoba MudRun – Dauphin

Personal PageWe have some exciting prizes this year!

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, Manitoba for a 10km trail run with more than 25 obstacles to overcome.

Cost to register:

  • 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.


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 July 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!