Show a Caregiver How Much You Care!
Get Dirty for Dementia: Join Kathy Bellemare and Register for the Manitoba MudRun!
Leadership Opportunity: The Alzheimer Society Needs Board Members!
Let’s Talk About Health! The WRHA Needs Volunteers for its Health Care Advisory Council
Avoiding Medication Mix-ups
A Sharp Mind is an ‘Elastic’ Mind: Improving Brain Neurplasticity as we Age
Building Dementia Friendly Communities: Creating a Dementia Friendly Business Environment
Spotlight on Research: Speaking Two Languages may Stave off the Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease
Call for Research Participants: Learn About Two Studies That Need Your Help!
Caregiver Tips: Being Respectful – Everyone Deserves It!
Upcoming Support Groups
Anything for Alzheimer’s
Registration Now Open for the Walk for Alzheimer’s!
Walks take place across Manitoba during June. Find a Walk in your community and register today!
Show a Caregiver How Much You Care!
Tuesday, April 4 is Caregiver Recognition Day. In appreciation of all the caregivers and the families who are facing the challenges of dementia, we are honoured to present the following story about Terry Cousins, who cared for his wife, Kathy, for many years. His journey was made easier through the assistance he received from the Alzheimer Society. Today, he is giving back through volunteering as a Caregiver Support Group facilitator.
You can support the contributions of caregivers such as Terry by assisting a caregiver on Tuesday, April 4 (or any day!) to show them how much they are appreciated.
Terry Cousins credits the downtown Caregiver Support Group with helping him through the early years of his wife’s dementia. Today, nearly 15 years later, he runs that group, along with another at his church.
When Kathy was diagnosed in 1999 at the age of 57, Terry made two promises to himself: he would keep her doing her favourite activities for as long as he could, and he would do everything possible to maintain a healthy social life for both of them.
“First, I phoned the Alzheimer Society to get all the information I could about early onset,” he says. “Then, I phoned every friend and relative we would be in contact with over the next few years. I wanted them to know and be prepared.”
In 2003, Terry began attending the Caregiver Support Group, where he found a place to vent his frustrations, share his successes and seek advice.
“The duties of a caregiver change almost daily,” he says. “As the disease progresses, you have to be on top of it, recognize what’s going on and make the necessary changes. I used to drop Kath off at the hairdresser and come back for her in an hour. Then, one week, she wouldn’t sit in the chair, and I realized we were on to the next stage.”
Because of the evolving nature of caregiving, Terry says, it’s immensely helpful to find community with others who are going through similar circumstances.
In 2006, the Alzheimer Society asked Terry if he would be willing to facilitate Caregiver Support Groups. He happily stepped into the role, first at a group on Henderson Highway, then later at the Transcona Memorial United Church, then finally at the downtown location where he’d been a participant for so many years.
Helping People to Help Each Other
His job at the front of the room is not to teach or impart wisdom on his own, but rather to help participants forge connections. “I offer advice when I feel it’s needed, but my real job is to get them talking to each other,” he says. “The goal is to get them to the point where they don’t even need the facilitator.”
People tell stories about the challenges and successes they have as caregivers, give tips and advice, and offer perspectives on navigating the medical system. The groups aim to break down the isolation that many families feel.
“One time, a lady in my group said, ‘I thought I was the only person dealing with this,’” Terry recalls.
She is not the only one ̶ by far! – and Terry makes it his mission to help people like her, along with all other caregivers, to realize that they are not alone.
The 2017 Catalyst Credit Union Manitoba MudRun takes place on Saturday, August 12 at the site of Dauphin Countryfest, and this year’s fundraising efforts are directed to the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. Kathy couldn’t be more pleased; she’s committed to this cause because her family was personally affected – her mother lived with dementia for the last six years of her life.
“It was a tough journey for our family,” she says. “Participating this year enables me help out with something that is important to me.”
A retired teacher, Kathy enjoys getting friends and family members together to make a team for this event. Her team members encourage and help each other through the 10 kilometre course, which presents 25 obstacles to overcome. Participants wade through muddy pits, climb over hay bales, shoot down waterslides and slither through a 30-foot-long tube.
She ensures everyone that you don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to participate; you just have to be moderately fit, willing to get muddy and able to walk the 10 kilometers. If you want to skip an obstacle, no problem – you can help your teammates instead.
“The first year I was involved as a volunteer,” recalls Kathy. “I saw a man in his 60s complete the course, and I thought, ‘If he can do it, I can do it!’”
She explains that the MudRun is not a competition and is not officially timed. Rather, it’s about cooperation and having fun. Participants can set their own personal goals. If you walked last year, you can try running it this year or beating your own time. Even simply completing the course could be one person’s goal.
Kathy is an avid supporter of the Alzheimer Society (she has participated in the Door to Door campaign and Coffee Break events numerous times), so was excited to learn that this year’s MudRun would raise money for the Society.
Click here to find out how to sign up for this event and to start your fundraising efforts. When you cross that finish line on August 12th, not only will you accomplish an amazing personal feat, but you will also help make a difference in the lives of families, like Kathy’s, who are living with dementia.
DO YOU WANT TO JOIN A MUDRUN TEAM?
If you don’t have a team but want to participate, Kathy invites you to join hers! You can contact her at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If so, this leadership opportunity may be for you!
Click here for details about becoming an Alzheimer Society board member. The application deadline is Thursday, April 13.
Do you want to help make positive changes to Winnipeg’s Home Care system? You can do just that by becoming part of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s Home Care Advisory Council.
Click here for more information and to apply.
An estimated 40 to 50 percent of patients in hospital and 40 percent of patients discharged from hospital experience potential medication errors that could lead to health issues. In Manitoba, it is estimated that medication-related incidents are the third leading cause of all harmful patient incidents.
These injuries can result in emergency department visits, admission to hospital and death.
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to medication mix-ups.
In 2008, the Canadian Institute of Health Information found that two-thirds of seniors were on five or more drugs, and 21 percent of these took at least 10 drugs. It’s easy to see how the average person can lose track of what they are taking and how often they are taking it.
Questions to Ask
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of harm from medication mix-ups.
One is to ask questions. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (Canada) suggests five important questions to ask your doctor, nurse and pharmacist about your medications. They are:
- What has changed about your prescription and why?
- What medication do I need to continue taking? Why?
- What is the correct way to take the medication? How long?
- How do I know that the medication is working? What are the side-effects?
- What follow-up do I need?
Ask these questions every time a new medication is prescribed or given and when over-the-counter medications are purchased. Ask questions in the hospital, at the pharmacy and with your nurse or doctor during health care appointments.
A second way to reduce the risk of a potential mix-up is to review medications at transition points, such as when moving into a personal care home, at discharge from hospital, picking up new prescriptions from the pharmacy and when receiving home care services.
This action alone can significantly reduce the potential for harm from medication incidents. Work with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to make sure that nothing is missed and that all differences between what you are taking compared to the written instructions are talked about.
The health care system does its best to ensure that the right medication information is communicated each time a patient moves from one health care setting to another. However, when medication mix-ups occur, it is most often from miscommunication or lack of communication.
It’s Safe to Ask!
To assist you with both of these important actions, the Manitoba Institute of Patient Safety has created a medication card. Use it to list all of your prescription and over-the-counter medications, including vitamins, minerals and herbal/natural products.
Print the card and fold it into a handy wallet size. Let family members and friends know about it. Keep it up-to-date and share it with your doctor, nurse and pharmacist.
Thanks to Laurie Thompson, Executive Director of the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety, for submitting this article.
Have you ever met a senior in their late 80s or early 90s whose mind is sharp as a tack? Someone with whom you can discuss the political scene, the novel they recently read or the best way to build a better birdhouse?
It’s likely that older seniors with excellent intellectual ability have healthy brains that are flexible and responsive to change. This kind of adaptability in a brain, which can help a person to learn new things and to fight off any damage that may have occurred from injury or stress, is called “neuroplasticity.”
“Neuroplasticity is the ability of brain cells to adapt to new stimulation,” explains Dr. Mandana Modirrousta, Director of the Neuromodulation and Neuropsychiatry Unit at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. “When a person is learning something new, an ‘elastic’ brain will undergo chemical changes as well as changes in the receptors, which help to consolidate the new information.”
Neuroplasticity allows for a brain to make lasting changes. Think about the example of young children. Their brains have a lot of learning to do, every second of every day. Their elastic brains keep changing as they take in all the new things in their environments and relationships.
As people age, it is normal to lose brain cells, and with dementia, the loss of brain cells is accelerated. Maintaining and improving neuroplasticity in our brains is one way to slow the loss of brain cells, delay the onset of dementia and possibly slow its progression.
What can we do to maintain or improve our brain’s flexibility?
Dr. Modirrousta stresses the importance of challenging the brain. We all tend to get into daily routines and activities that are habitual. We do the same crossword puzzle, travel the same route to our destination and use the same recipes over and over again. The key, she says, is to find things to do that involve more mental engagement than simply going through the motions of a regular routine.
Although she admits that scientists cannot say with certainty that there is a cause and effect relationship, research has shown that learning new things – taking university courses, learning a new language or taking lessons on a new instrument – can help fight age-related forgetfulness. It may also be a protective factor against dementia.
“It’s a ‘use it or lose it’ situation, similar to using our muscles,” says Dr. Modirrousta. “When we work out every day, our muscles get stronger. Similarly, if we keep our brain active, our brain cells are stimulated, making it more adaptable to new information.”
A saying in the research world is, “What’s good for the heart is good for the brain.” With this in mind, people can protect their brains by eating a healthy diet, avoiding high cholesterol, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol moderately.
Stress is another thing to keep an eye on. Dr. Modirrousta explains that stress hormones go to the hippocampus area of the brain, which is involved in memory consolidation; if someone is under chronic stress, their memory can be affected. “Taking action to reduce stress, such as meditating and getting adequate sleep, is important for brain health.”
Building Dementia Friendly Communities:
Creating a Dementia Friendly Business Environment
Here are some tips that will help you create an environment that meets the needs of clients impacted by dementia:
- Ask your client if they have a time of day when they prefer to meet. People with dementia often find it easier to do business that requires thoughtful decision making earlier in the day.
- Offer to meet in a quiet space away from background noise and clutter. It can be challenging to concentrate when there is too much activity or stimulation.
- When providing information and instructions, speak slowly using simple language, communicating one message at a time. This gives the person time to digest the information or complete a task. Make suggestions tactfully in a patient and supportive manner. It may be helpful to demonstrate an activity for the person.
- Ensure lighting is adequate. Poor lighting and shadows can make the environment confusing.
- Ensure that signage for washrooms and other important areas is large and clearly visible. Verbal directions may be forgotten quickly. People with dementia may accidentally leave a building or area if clear signs are not available to help them find their way.
- If you have concerns about the person’s ability to get home safely, ask how they are planning to travel. It may be necessary to wait with the person until transportation arrives.
Everyone can play a part in promoting the independence, value and inclusion of people impacted by dementia in the community. To learn about how your community group can become more inclusive and to arrange for a dementia friendly community presentation, contact Catherine Kaufmann at 204-943-6622 ext. 217 or email email@example.com
Researchers have found that people who speak two languages develop Alzheimer’s disease four to five years later than people who only speak one language. The question is: why?
A study done at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan investigated this topic by examining differences in brain metabolism in bilingual people with Alzheimer’s disease.
First, the researchers wanted to ascertain if bilingual people with the disease would do better on memory tests. Two groups of study participants were tested. One group of 40 spoke Italian and the other group of 45 spoke both Italian and German fluently. Indeed, the bilingual participants scored higher on the tests than did their monolingual counterparts.
The researchers then ran tests to measure brain activity – specifically neuronal metabolic rates. Included in these tests were control groups of a similar age who did not have Alzheimer’s disease. The tests revealed that all study participants with Alzheimer’s disease had lower metabolism in several brain areas than those without the disease. Oddly, in those with Alzheimer’s disease, this finding was even more apparent in bilingual participants than in those who only spoke one language.
However, even though neurodegeneration appeared to be more wide-spread in those who spoke two languages, these bilingual participants showed higher metabolic activity in other brain areas, suggesting that the brain was working hard to make up for the damage caused by the disease. This increased activity was even more noticeable in participants who were more fluently bilingual and who used their second language regularly.
The researchers also found more connectivity between different areas of the brain in those who were bilingual. For example, these participants had lots of connectivity in the area of the brain involved in language and cognition.
It was concluded that these strong connections in the brains of bilingual people with Alzheimer’s disease may help them to compensate for cognitive decline. If you are lucky enough to be bilingual since childhood, this story will be good news for you!
Read more about this study, check this link: www.alzforum.org/news/research-news/being-bilingual-buffers-against-alzheimers-improving-connectivity
You can help to enhance knowledge on the care and support of people with dementia and their care partners by getting involved as a participant in research studies. Here are two to consider. Click here to read about other studies currently looking for participants.
Perspectives on Health and Support Services for People with Young Onset Dementia
Do you want to participate in a study that will have an influence on services for people with young onset dementia and their families?
The researcher is Sheila Novek, PhD Candidate in Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She wants to examine health and support services for people with young onset dementia in Winnipeg from the perspectives of people living with the condition, family members and care providers. The findings will be used to develop recommendations to improve and expand services.
You are eligible for this study if you live in Winnipeg (or within driving distance of Winnipeg) and if you are:
- someone who developed dementia before the age of 65
- a family member of someone with young onset dementia
- a health care professional or service provider who delivers care and supports to people with young onset dementia and their family members
Participating in the study involves taking part in two conversational interviews, about six months apart. Interviews will last between 30 minutes and two hours and will be conducted at a time and location that is convenient for you.
Participants who have dementia may choose to have shorter interviews, and they may also bring along a family member or friend.
The Dementia Sibling Study:
Brothers and Sisters Sharing Caregiving Responsibilities
Occupational Therapy students from the University of Toronto Masters program are conducting a study about the experiences of adult children who are caring for their parent with dementia.
The study explores how caregiving responsibilities are shared between adult daughters and sons. Researchers hope to gain a better understanding of the needs of family caregivers.
Siblings will be asked to individually fill out a survey that will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. The survey asks about your experiences regarding your caregiving role and how you share responsibilities with your sibling. The questions include rating scales and short answers.
Being respectful of a person with dementia, regardless of where they are in their journey with the disease, is very important. Keeping in mind the roles that the person holds (e.g. mother/father, sister/brother, husband/wife, friend, etc.), as well as their essence as a person, can be helpful as you relate to them in the present.
Consider these thoughts to help ensure respectful communication with people who have dementia:
Enjoy Doing Things Together
Minimize the stress that you might put on yourself or on the person you are caring for. Have meaningful activities available for the person to choose from throughout the day. Remember that doing activities perfectly is not the objective; it’s better to focus on the importance of spending time together while doing things rather than on a perfect outcome.
Remember to Simplify
Try removing unnecessary steps, and avoid providing too many instructions at once, when completing activities. Break tasks into manageable chunks, but be aware that it is possible to over-simplify a task or activity, making it less stimulating for a person with dementia.
Be Mindful of Environment
Evaluate the space in which the person is currently living. Is the environment too hot or cold? Too noisy or quiet? Over or under stimulating?
Make the environment “failure-free” by removing distractions or unnecessary clutter. To enable the person to function confidently in the room, consider such things as labelling cabinets and drawers as well as using contrasting colors to distinguish walls from doors and steps on a staircase. Ensure that rooms are properly lit and that the temperature is comfortable. The person will be more relaxed and engaged if living spaces are tailored to their needs.
Communicate with Care
Remember, dementia changes things! When communicating, try to understand what their reality is and be willing to join them there. Make eye contact with the person when speaking and avoid arguing. Converse with the person as you would with any other adult. Consider using humor to lighten your conversation.
If you would like more information about assisting a person with dementia while maintaining their sense of identity and self-worth, please click to download Respecting the Person with Dementia, or contact the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba at 204-943-6622 or 1-800-378-6699 (toll-free).
The Alzheimer Society hosted Family Night, featuring Teepa Snow, on Monday, March 6 at the Canad Inns Polo Park. Appreciation is extended to The Waverley & Rosewood Seniors’ Community by Revera for being the Presenting Sponsor for this successful event.
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.
Three Part Workshop
• Overview of dementia
• Activities to experience what it might be like to have dementia
• We’re here for you – The Alzheimer Society
Click here to register online.
• Safety for the person with dementia and their caregivers
• Family perspectives
• Legal and financial matters
Click here to register online.
• Navigating housing and care options
• Advocating for the person with dementia
• Care for yourself
Click here to register online.
One Day Workshop –
Saturday, June 3, 9 am to 4 pm
• Understanding dementia and day-to-day living
• Caring for people with changing behaviours
• Health Care Directives…and more!
Session is located at Lecture Theatre, 2nd Floor, Nurses Residence,
Brandon Hospital Assiniboine Centre, 150 McTavish Ave., E. (map)
Cost: $10 (includes refreshments and resources)
To register, contact Julie Hockley at 204-729-8320 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or Tannis Horkey at Centre for Geriatric Psychiatry at 204-578-4572.
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:
Becoming a Resilient Caregiver
Wednesday, April 12, 7 to 8:30 pm
Remembering to care for yourself when you are caring for another is an important step toward personal wellness. Our presenters will talk about the importance of forming a support team and finding daily moments of joy.
Session is located at River Ridge II Retirement Residence, 2701 Scotia St., Winnipeg (map)
Click here to register online and for more information.
Dementia Care at the End of Life
Wednesday, May 17, 7 to 8:30 pm
A look at caring for the whole person at the end of life and understanding the role of spirituality in this part of life’s journey.
Session is located at Park Manor Personal Care Home, 301 Redonda St., Winnipeg (map)
Click here to register online and for more information.
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)
Click here to register online and for more information.
Telehealth Sessions (for regional communities only)
The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba offers family education in over 45 communities across the province via video technology for those experiencing dementia. Join us from 6:30 to 8 pm on designated evenings. Click here for a list of locations where Telehealth is offered.
Understanding Psychoses and Anxiety in Dementia
Tuesday, March 21
6:30 to 8 pm (please arrive by 6:15 pm)
Food and Nutrition: Understanding a Person’s Needs as Dementia Progresses
Tuesday, April 25
6:30 to 8 pm (please arrive by 6:15 pm)
Click here to register.
Minds in Motion® Program
Spring Minds in Motion program sessions will begin in early April at six Winnipeg locations, in Portage la Prairie and in Gimli. This popular eight-week program combines physical activity, socialization and mental stimulation for people living with early to moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia to enjoy with a family member or community friend.
Click here to check out our listing of community locations for spring dates, times and registration information.
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 email@example.com, 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
See everyone next year!
Walk for Alzheimer’s:
Click on image below to register your team!
Catalyst Credit Union Manitoba MudRun – Dauphin
Cost to register:
- Early Bird - $70 (March 7th to April 31st @ Midnight)
- 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.
Click here to read an article in this eNewsletter about Kathy Bellemare’s experience as a participant in the MudRun.
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:
The Posy Project
Two young women from Winnipeg have initiated The Posy Project to raise awareness and support for the Alzheimer Society. They are delivering flowers, donated by local florists, to personal care homes throughout the city. If you would like to support this project, click here to make a donation to the Alzheimer Society. For more information, contact Heather or Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org
Seine River Retirement Residence Open House – With Dave Ellett!
All Seniors Care Living Centres presents Dave Ellett, who will share his experience and life as an NHL hockey legend during a special afternoon. Proceeds go to the Alzheimer Society.
Monday, March 20, 2 to 4 pm
Seine River Retirement Residence
1015 St. Anne’s Rd., Winnipeg (map)
Please RSVP to Debbie at 204-230-4714.
Don’t Miss Hepcat Studio’s Swing Dance Soirée!
Come and dance to the sounds of the Murray Riddell Big Band. This fun evening is only $20 in advance ($30 after March 31), with proceeds going to the Alzheimer Society.
Friday, April 7, 7:30 to Midnight
3rd Floor, 72 Princess St., Winnipeg (map)
Winnipeg 10 & 10: Run or Walk in Support of the Alzheimer Society!
Run 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 email@example.com
We hope you enjoy our March 2017 eNewsletter!
Thank you for reading!