Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Putting the pieces together

Dementia-care workshop held

  • Print

Taking good care of the estimated 20,000 Manitobans with dementia isn't easy. Ask any of their loved ones or caregivers.

On Monday, 50 of them gathered at a dementia-care workshop in Winnipeg to learn how to treat the person rather than the disorder.

It's called "PIECES" training, which focuses on the person's physical, intellectual, and emotional makeup as well as their capabilities, environment and social history. It's meant to help people understand the care needs of people with dementia by seeing their behaviours as attempts to communicate those needs, said instructor Joyce Klassen.

"The person-centred approach really helps us to see them," said Klassen. The PIECES training is part of a two-day Alzheimer Society of Manitoba Dementia Care 2014 conference at Canad Inns Polo Park that ends today.

For one 79-year-old attendee, whose wife has dementia, it's an education that's going to help them both. "It's excellent," said the man, who didn't want his name published because his wife doesn't know he's attending the PIECES training.

He's learning about the different types of dementia, the impact of damage to different parts of the brain, how it affects behaviour and how to respond to it.

Damage to the parietal lobe that alters perception hit close to home for him.

One day, his wife was in her dressing gown and people on their high-definition TV were talking, he said. "She wouldn't go in the living room because 'they' were in there," he told the class.

"Our reality is not their reality," PIECES instructor Patti Chegwin said. They're responding to the world around them they're desperately trying to make sense of. They may see a health-care aide trying to put a stick in their mouth when really it is a toothbrush, she said. If they push it away, it's in self-defence but could be misinterpreted as aggressive behaviour, Chegwin said. "Often it is our approach" that causes agitation, she said.

Damage to the frontal lobe can cause anosognosia, where the person has no awareness anything is wrong with them. "They have no filter," said Chegwin, who recalled coming back from a vacation in Mexico and seeing her mother-in-law, who has frontal lobe damage and dementia that have affected her social graces.

"The first thing she said to me was 'I see you haven't lost any weight.'" Chegwin took no offence. "For her, that's a big deal," she said.

Understanding someone's background, or just knowing the major "mountaintop" events in their life, can go a long way to understanding their behaviour.

"They are doing the best they can -- it's not on purpose."

To illustrate the point, they showed a short film called Darkness in the Afternoon. In it, a happy young woman in a red dress walks down the sidewalk, drawing a lot of smiles and attention. She stops by a duck pond, and an old man takes her arm and tells her she's too close to the water's edge.

"Keep away from me you mad old bastard!" she says, terrified, running off into the bush. He follows her and pleads lovingly with her to get in the car. She screams and lashes out at the stranger.

He hits her and puts her in the car, saying he's taking her home. She can't unlock the seatbelt and grabs the steering wheel, nearly causing an accident.

He threatens her.

When he gets her to the house, she throws a stool through the bedroom window and jumps out. She's taken to the hospital.

When she's told her husband is there to pick her up, she bites him and runs away. Hiding in a bathroom looking in a mirror, she doesn't recognize her reflection -- a bruised and cut old woman in a torn nightgown.

The husband of the Alzheimer's sufferer at the training session said the film showed what it's like to live with the disease.

"I want to find the video on the Internet and show it to our family."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 11, 2014 B3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Maurice Leggett on his three inceptions vs. Alouettes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comment that Tina Fontaine’s slaying was a crime, and not part of a larger sociological problem?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google