January 2024 eNewsletter

Are you struggling to figure out your next steps? Our First Link® Client Support team is here to listen and help guide you through difficult times – from when you are concerned about your own, or a family member or friend’s memory, right through to the later symptoms of dementia. Call us today at 204-943-6622/1-800-378-6622 or fill out our online form and we will reach out to you.

In This Issue:

January is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

This January, we’re creating awareness about our First Link® Client Support program and helping Manitobans learn more about dementia through the experiences of five unique individuals: Gary, Ken, Margaret, Joyce and Jessica.

Through their stories, you’ll learn why the Alzheimer Society is a place to turn for support, knowledge, expertise and a community of others who understand – from early dementia symptoms to diagnosis and throughout the progression of the disease. Their different perspectives shine a light on the help and support available through our services and programs. Read their stories here.

Visit our official campaign webpage to learn more about dementia and the many ways the Society can help you and your family. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X and LinkedIn all month long for highlights, videos, insightful information and more!



Letter to the Grandchildren By Gary Elbers

Gary Elbers, one of our five spokespeople sharing their story for January Awareness Month, believes it’s important to let family members know you’re living with dementia. You may feel hesitant to share the changes and challenges going on in your life with others because you don’t want to give them cause for concern or be viewed any differently in their eyes. But for Gary, telling his family about his wife Brenda’s diagnosis was a way to bring in more support, more love and more understanding for the both of them.

Below is a letter written by Gary. In it, he opens up to his grandchildren about dementia and the best way to interact with their grandma Brenda. This is just one unique experience of a care partner and person living with dementia.

Letter to the Grandchildren

My Dear Grand Children,

Re: Grandma Brenda

As you know Grandma has Dementia. Dementia is an illness like a cold or an infected wound. Unlike a cold/cough there are no physical signs or sounds, it is not contagious; you cannot get it from a hug or kiss or being close to her. Unlike an infected wound, there are no signs like swelling, soreness or a bandage. It is not hereditary*, it does not pass down through the family, for no one from Grandma’s mother’s or father’s side had Dementia.

However the effect of dementia is widespread as family, friends, and anyone who has to interact with her are baffled. Generally, we cannot predict how someone with dementia will react to anything said, done, or within their environment. Each person affected by dementia could have a different reaction to the same stimulus and within minutes could have a changed response.

So far they have not found a cure as yet.  Dementia affects the brain and in grandma’s case, her memory. The ‘memory bank’ is essential to learning and living. It helps us to remember how to do things, what will help or hurt us, good from bad, family from strangers, friends from enemies, what just happened or understand what was said.  Well, grandma is losing or has lost some of that. Think of peeling an onion, one layer at a time, and within each layer are some of those essential memories.

I know it’s hard, I know it hurts, I know you are sad, I know you are confused when grandma does not recognize you. I have those same feelings too when she does not recognize me, and I am with her every day. She also gets confused around people. So, what can we do? Well, ask questions, talk about how you feel, what grandma was like before she got sick and, remember the things she did, the fun we had, how she made us feel, and how much she loves you. Although we can’t bring back the past, know that she still loves you, but now only remembers you as a little child. That’s why she tries to talk and play with little children, she thinks it’s you. So be calm and patient, always say grandma when you talk to her, smile, gently touch her, ask to hug her, tell her you love her, and tell her what you have been doing. You can even tell her the same things over and over again. If she looks at you strangely, she is probably trying to figure out who you are. You could give her your name and say, ‘your grandchild all grown up’. She will know from the way you speak, that you love her and care for her.

Take every opportunity to enjoy the moment and time you spend with her. Do things with her and allow her to do as much as she can without becoming frustrated. Make this the best moment, the best day you can have with your grandma and, next time you see her, do it again.

Grandma and I both love you always,

Grandpa Gary.

*Dementia can be either hereditary or non-hereditary. In Gary and Brenda’s case, there is no family history of dementia.



First Link® – We Are Here to Help

Navigating dementia can feel like an isolating experience. Winter can exacerbate feelings of isolation and loneliness, as the cold and icy weather keeps many of us indoors and unable to go out into our communities.

If you’re feeling lonely and need someone to talk to, give us a call. Talking to our First Link® Client Support team can help.

Through our First Link® Client Support Program, you’ll find access to support, knowledge, expertise and a community of people facing the same challenges as you. You may feel alone at times, but we are always here to help you.

Connect with us by calling 204-943-6622 (Winnipeg) or 1-800-378-6699 (toll-free in Manitoba) or emailing alzmb@alzheimer.mb.ca and join our community of support.



Sharing, Connecting & Understanding: Support Groups

When care partner, Margaret Hartig first learned about the Society’s support groups, she was unsure whether or not these groups would give her the help and guidance she needed. Lynda, her First Link® Client Support Coordinator, encouraged her to give the care partner support group meetings a chance and mentioned that it’s best to commit to at least three meetings before opting out. Margaret agreed and hasn’t looked back since.

“I’m so grateful to Lynda for encouraging me to go to those meetings,” Margaret says. “By that third meeting – I was fully in.”

Margaret says attending her support group is now the highlight of her month. “I love the group because we’re all in the same boat. We all get to share, cry and laugh with each other. Not everyone in your life understands dementia, but the others in the support group – they get it.”

Through her group, Margaret has also learned valuable information about caregiving resources. “At the second meeting I attended, another care partner mentioned family-managed care, a resource I didn’t previously know existed. This resource made a huge difference in how my husband Keith and I managed at home.”

When you join a support group, you connect with a community of people you can lean on for guidance, encouragement and understanding. We offer groups for people living with dementia and for care partners both in-person across the province and virtually via Zoom. There are a variety of unique groups to choose from, so you can find the right fit for your circumstance.

Call us at 204-943-6622/1-800-378-6622 or email alzmb@alzheimer.mb.ca and we can help you find the best support group to meet your needs.

For a complete listing of support groups, visit the links below:

Support Groups for Care Partners

Support Groups for People Living with Dementia



Call for Minds in Motion® Volunteers!

If you’re someone who enjoys giving back to the community and volunteering your time, we’re looking for more Minds in Motion volunteers. This 8-week program connects people with early to moderate signs of dementia and their care partners through fitness, fun and friendship.

Our volunteers are an integral part of the program. As a volunteer, you’ll help set up the space for participants, deliver and participate in programming and make meaningful connections with people living with dementia and their care partners.

Ideally, we ask for a 1-year commitment from volunteers, to help throughout the fall, winter, and spring sessions. Volunteers commit 3-hours once a week for the 8-week program, three times in the year.

We’re looking for volunteers for a variety of program locations. The deadline to apply is January 15, 2024. Visit our Minds in Motion webpage to learn more about the program and view current locations. For more information or to request a volunteer application form, contact Alana Duff, Dementia-Friendly Community Coordinator at aduff@alzheimer.mb.ca.



Stay Social & Challenge Your Brain with Community Programs

Did you know that staying socially active and challenging your brain are two ways you can reduce the risk of dementia or help slow the progression of dementia symptoms?

Staying connected socially helps you stay connected mentally! Having an active social life can also reduce your stress, brighten your mood and keep your relationships strong – all great things for your brain health.

Just as exercising our bodies helps us stay physically healthy, exercising our brains does the same for our cognitive health. Some people living with dementia have reported that challenging their brain helps them live well and manage their daily activities such as finances, cooking or being active.

Our Minds in Motion® and Community Partner Programs can help both people living with dementia and their care partners stay social while exercising their brains. Check out the Minds in Motion® and Community Partner Program sections below for information on our Winter program offerings.



Register for Minds in Motion® Winter Sessions

Keep socially and physically active this winter with Minds in Motion®!

Our popular Minds in Motion® program connects people living with early to moderate signs of dementia and their care partners through fitness, fun and friendship. Participants take part in a gentle chair fitness class followed by socially engaging activity and conversation. There are lots of laughs and social interaction during these sessions.

See below for all current Winter session dates, times and registration information, or visit alzheimer.mb.ca/mindsinmotion.

Winnipeg Locations

Faith Lutheran Church – 1311 Dakota St.
Thursdays, 10 am – 12 pm
Jan 25 – Mar 14
Register Now!

Rady JCC Fitness Centre –  123 Doncaster St.
Wednesdays, 10 am – 12 pm
Jan 24 – Mar 13
Call to register: 204-477-7510

Riverwood Square – 1778 Pembina Hwy.
Tuesdays, 10 am – 12 pm
Jan 23 – Mar 12
Call to register: 204-275-7632

The Wellness Institute – 1075 Leila Ave.
Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Jan 24 – Mar 13
Call to register: 204-632-3900

YMCA – Elmwood-Kildonan – 454 Kimberly Ave.
Thursdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Jan 25 – Mar 14
Call to register: 204-668-8140

YMCA – West Portage –  3550 Portage Ave.
Tuesdays, 1 – 3 pm
Jan 23 – Mar 12
Call to register: 204-889-8052

Regional Locations

The Gardens on Tenth – 140 10 Ave. NE
Mondays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Jan 8 – Feb 26
Call to register: 1-204-324-8945

Seniors for Seniors – 311 Park Ave. East
Thursdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
SESSION #1 – Nov 9, 16, 23, 30, Dec 7, 14, Jan 11, 18
SESSION #2 – Jan 25 – Mar 14
Call to register: 1-204-571-2050

Carman Active Living Centre
– 47 Ed Belfour Dr.
Fridays, 1 – 3 pm
Jan 12 – Mar 8
Call Linda to register: 1-204-745-2356 or email carmanalc@gmail.com

Herman Prior Centre – 40 Royal Rd. North
Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Jan 24 – Mar 13
Call to register: 1-204-857-6951

Pat Porter Active Living Centre
– 10 Chrysler Gate
Wednesdays, 10 am – 12 pm
Feb 7 – Mar 27
Call to register: 1-204-320-4600



Winter 2024 Community Partner Programs

The Alzheimer Society partners with community organizations to create programs designed especially for people living with early to moderate symptoms of dementia to attend with their family members, friends or care partners. There’s still time to register for our Winter 2024 community partner programs!

Check out this year’s lineup of Winter programming:

Tales Along the Trail (FortWhyte Alive)

Tales Along the Trail is for people living with dementia and their care partners who are looking for a safe but exciting way to encounter the natural world. An experienced naturalist will guide the group along FortWhyte’s gentle pathways, pointing out all winter has to offer and encouraging everyone to use their senses to explore.

Each session will include a relaxing walk through the woods, with stops focusing on all of our senses. Participants will then have a chance to share thoughts, stories, and a snack around a crackling fire or cozy indoor space. In stormy weather, we bring nature indoors.

Winter Program (8 weeks)
Wednesdays, 2 – 3:30 pm
January 24, 31, February 7, 14, 21, 28, March 6, 13, 2024
Cost: $110 + GST/couple

Register today by contacting bmiller@fortwhyte.org for a link to register for this program.

The Living Well Program (The Leaf)

The Living Well Program enables you to reap the social and well-being benefits of engaging with plants with the guidance of a practitioner of horticulture therapy.

We cultivate a dementia-friendly community with sensory plant-based activities and guided explorations of The Leaf and outdoor gardens when the weather permits. Every session includes refreshments.

Winter Program (6 weeks)
Tuesdays, 2:30 – 4 pm
January 23, 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27, 2024

Tannis Richardson Indoor Classroom at The Leaf, 145 Locomotive Dr., Winnipeg
Cost: $110 + GST/couple

Register now on the Assiniboine Park Conservancy website, under “Recreation and Leisure”.

Now and Then: A Journey in Time (Manitoba Museum)

Now and Then: A Journey in Time is a program that encourages you to explore the Manitoba Museum’s many collections.

During four lively sessions led by a Museum Learning Facilitator, participants will explore old memories and create new ones through objects, activities and stimulating discussions. Each session highlights one of the Museum’s distinct galleries, from the animals of the Arctic to the far reaches of ancient Egypt and many more.

Participants are welcome to explore the Museum Galleries before or after the program.

Winter Program (4 weeks)
Fridays, 2 – 3:30 pm
February 23, March 1, 8, 15, 2024
Manitoba Museum, 190 Rupert Ave.
Cost: $110 + GST/couple

Register now on the Manitoba Museum website.

Vivace Voices Choir

Come and join in making music together! Singing in a choir is a challenging and joyful experience. Learn to sing new and familiar music while making connections with those around you. No prior choral experience is required.

Winter 2024 Program (10 weeks)
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
January 17, 24, 31, February 7, 14, 21, March 6, 13, 20, 27, 2024
Canadian Mennonite University, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Cost: $145/pair

Learn more and register now on the CMU website!



Register Today for Winter Education Sessions

Come join us this winter and learn about a variety of topics including accessing community resources, life in long-term care, complex legal situations and more. These sessions are free to attend and offered via Zoom.

Here’s what’s coming up this month:

Living With Dementia: First Steps – Part 1 
*Please note you do not need to attend these in order.*
The first session of a three-part information series for people supporting someone recently diagnosed with dementia.
Learn from health and industry professionals as they discuss the disease progression and provide information on services and resources available. In this webinar, you will learn more about the progression of dementia and Alzheimer Society of Manitoba’s programs and services.
Saturday, January 13 | 10 – 11:45 am | Virtual via Zoom
Click here to register

Accessing Community Resources – Sponsored by Johnston Group and Payworks
Are you uncertain of how to access meal services, transportation options or other community resources? Join one of the Alzheimer Society First Link® Client Support Coordinators to learn about available supports such as Emergency Response Information Kits (ERIK), Meals on Wheels, home safety and more. This session will focus on providing information about different programs, services and community supports available to assist people living with dementia and their care partners to reside in the community.
Wednesday, January 17 | 2 – 3 pm | Virtual via Zoom
Click here to register

Q & A with the Alzheimer Society’s First Link® Client Support Team – Sponsored by Johnston Group and Payworks
Do you have questions about dementia? Caregiving strategies? Communication tips? Join Sarah Dueck, First Link® Team Lead and Samantha Holland, First Link® Regional Team Lead, who will provide a short presentation on some of the common questions received by the Client Support team about navigating the dementia journey. Sarah and Sam will also leave time for attendees to ask other questions during an extended Q & A period.
Wednesday, January 24 | 2 – 3 pm | Virtual via Zoom
Click here to register


Visit the link below for more details on our winter education sessions and to register.

Family Education – Upcoming Seminars

Family Education: Next Steps Sponsored by:



Dementia Care Professional Development Series: The Complex World of Dementia Care

Join us for our Dementia Care 2023-2024 Professional Development Series! Sessions are geared towards health care staff and community service providers and take place online monthly (plus one in-person) until March 2024.

Our next session titled, Engaging Family Care Partners as Part of the Care Team takes place on Thursday, January 11 from 2 – 3 pm. In this panel session, learn key considerations, strategies and tips for engaging and communicating with family members of someone living with dementia. This session looks at how to address various circumstances, including:

  • when the person’s abilities are changing and there is an option to modify the care plan
  • when a service or resource is not available in the community or a person may not be eligible for a program
  • when there are safety concerns necessitating a move to different housing

For only $30, you get access to all virtual sessions PLUS the option to register for in-person workshops! (Additional $5 charge for in-person sessions.)

We encourage anyone working with people living with dementia in the community, hospitals or personal care homes to register. These sessions add up to 30 completed hours of education that may be used towards professional development or continuing education hours.

Visit the Dementia Care website to learn more about all the sessions, speakers and to register now!

This event is sponsored by:



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Remember. You Are Not Alone.

We are here to help you and your family no matter where you are in your dementia journey. You can reach a comforting ear by phone or get a quick response by email. Call us at 204-943-6622 (Wpg), 1-800-378-6699 (MB) or email alzmb@alzheimer.mb.ca