Exercise is really good for the mind and body, according to the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, and they invite people to get involved in their annual fundraiser.
The organization’s annual Alzheimer’s Walk takes place May 28, with live and virtual walks across Manitoba.
The official march is taking place in Winnipeg at St. Vital Park, but in Brandon and Westman it will be a virtual march with people encouraged to be active as they wish.
That’s because most of the walks are taking place in personal care homes, many of which are still under COVID restrictions, said Liz McLeod, senior director of regional services outside of Winnipeg.
“People can walk, bike, swim indoors, whatever they want,” McLeod said. “This is our biggest fundraiser ever, and most of the money raised in Manitoba stays in the province, with a small exception of what we support in research nationally.”
People can go to the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba website to register individually or as a team. Then they have the option to send an email message to let their contacts know that they’ve signed up and can donate.
The funds help operate the main office in Winnipeg and six smaller offices in Manitoba, including Brandon. It also helps fund its programs, including Minds in Motion, outreach, virtual meetings, support groups and education for people with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia disorder.
This funding is needed more than ever as the pandemic has changed the way society delivers programs and supports. Many of its clients prefer in-person meetings, but with restrictions have had to rely more on virtual meetings. McLeod praised staff for their support in setting up and running virtual meetings and group sessions, but social isolation remains a challenge for people.
There are about 23,000 Manitobans with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, McLeod said. In addition, 62% of Manitobans are affected by dementia because they know someone in their family, community or social circle who has it. These groups often watch over their loved ones for their health and protection, which impacts many lives.
She explained that the society uses both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease because, just like cancer, dementia is known as an umbrella term because it covers many degenerative neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. It also covers dementia with Lewy bodies, caused by the buildup of proteins in the brain affecting chemical balances. There is also frontotemporal dementia, where neurons are lost and cause the lobes of the brain to shrink.
Although they all have different symptoms and affect different parts of the body, they all involve short-term memory loss, confusion, and disorientation.
All forms of dementia are progressive, McLeod said, but there are ways to slow it down and, for younger people, reduce the risk of developing it. Exercise is one of the best forms of prevention because it lowers blood pressure and keeps the brain engaged.
This is the Alzheimer Society’s largest fundraiser, of which IG Wealth Management is the presenting sponsor. It’s a partnership that goes back years, said regional manager Calvin Vanderschuit, with the financial group contributing $21 million as a company and $1.5 million through individual member fundraising.
Additionally, IG Wealth Management helps the families it serves through workshops to guide discussions and decisions about family finances and estate planning. Aging parents and grandparents face challenges when dealing with dementia, so they do everything they can to ensure their wealth is managed ethically.
To register for the walk or make a donation, visit alzheimer.mb.ca/
» Twitter: @karenleighmcki1