Living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be a very difficult experience - for the person with the illness and the people close to them.
This includes finding the right information, education and community supports to manage a disease that can rob people’s memories and lives.
Today, Health Minister Terry Lake announced $4 million in funding for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to help expand a key program the organization provides so even more people can access supports and services.
“At some point, dementia will touch our lives, whether it is through a parent, a relative, a friend or our own diagnosis with this disease,” said Lake. “This can be an emotional time not only for family and friends, but especially for the person affected. The First Link program helps individuals to better understand their diagnosis and get the information and resources necessary to manage their lives.”
Funding will go toward First Link, an early intervention service offered by the Alzheimer Society of B.C., which connects families early to support groups and education as well as other community and health-care services. Information is also provided about planning for the future, day-to-day living tips and other services when needed.
First Link is offered in locations throughout B.C., including the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast, North and Central Okanagan, Interior, Northern B.C. and Vancouver Island. The funding will allow First Link to expand to be available to more B.C. communities.
“Today’s announcement of $4 million for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s First Link program will ensure that even more people around British Columbia have access to the services they need to support them as they face their journey with dementia,” said Michelle Stilwell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors.
“The Province’s generous support will make it possible for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to expand its First Link program, which helps connect British Columbians to dementia support services and education as soon as possible after a diagnosis. We thank the Ministry of Health for making First Link more accessible to the over 70,000 families in our province who face dementia. Together, we are changing the dementia journey,” says Maria Howard, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of B.C.
With today’s announcement, the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority have provided a total of $10 million to support the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia since 2007.
The Province is committed to ensuring those with dementia have access to early diagnosis, treatment and support. Government has also signed a three-year licence with P.I.E.C.E.S. Canada to use their dementia education program to train residential care providers in B.C. All health authorities have implemented the program, which provides training, support and tools to promote person-centred care to people with dementia.
More information on First Link can be found by visiting:
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Alzheimer Society of B.C.
778 987-3957 (cell)