Premier Christy Clark was joined by others at the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s to support people and their families struggling with dementia. She also announced $2.7 million in funding for First Link dementia support, a resource that helps British Columbians manage the devastating disease.
“More than 60,000 British Columbians suffer from Alzheimer’s. They are our parents and grandparents – the people who brought us into the world,” said Premier Clark. “Today’s announcement will help the Alzheimer Society of B.C. even better support families struggling with this terrible disease.”
The society’s First Link dementia support assists British Columbians living with Alzheimer’s through information, education and support at any stage of their journey. Connecting to First Link means receiving the support when it’s needed – through bulletins, support groups, education and one-on-one phone calls. Advice is also provided about planning for the future, and tips for day-to-day living.
“Dementia is not a natural part of aging, and can affect people under 65 – even people as young as 40,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “First Link helps families better understand the diagnosis and get the information and resources necessary to manage their lives. This investment also aligns with our commitment to increase access to supports at the community level for patients and their loved ones.”
The program is offered in more than 80 communities throughout B.C., and is currently accessed by more than 12,000 British Columbians.
For people newly diagnosed, a society representative will telephone them to offer support. Follow-up contact is made every three-to-six months to ensure needs are being met.
“First Link provides ongoing support for British Columbians living with the disease,” said Maria Howard, CEO, Alzheimer Society of B.C. “The Society applauds the Province’s continuing commitment to ensuring that families in the province have that support when they face the changes and challenges that come with the diagnosis.”
With today’s announcement, the Province and Provincial Health Services Authority have provided a total of $13.4 million to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to support First Link since 2007.
The Province is committed to ensuring people with dementia have access to early diagnosis, treatment and support. In 2012, the Province released the Provincial Dementia Action Plan, which included the development of new dementia guidelines and resources to support families, physicians and residential care providers with assessment and person-centered treatment. The plan is currently being updated.
For more information on First Link dementia support, visit: www.alzheimerbc.org