To connect more people, families, and caregivers affected by dementia to community supports and services, the Ministry of Health is providing the Alzheimer Society of B.C. with $2.7 million to further support First Link, announced Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
“Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia can be a shock to patients and families,” said Dix. “We recognize that a diagnosis can feel overwhelming and isolating, and people may not be sure what steps to take. With this funding, more people will be supported to learn about the disease, how to cope with the changes, and plan for the future.”
Dix made the announcement ahead of joining the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s in Vancouver, to show support for British Columbians facing dementia.
Administered by the Alzheimer Society of B.C., First Link provides support to people with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia throughout the progression of the disease. There are currently more than 14,500 people connected to First Link.
First Link reaches out to people after diagnosis to ensure they have the information and support they need. Trained staff and volunteers are also available through regional resource centres and the First Link dementia helpline (1-800-936-6033) to answer questions and put people in touch with appropriate services.
“The support of a community can go a long way in helping people with dementia and their families feel supported,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors Anne Kang. “First Link helps connect people to resources, like support groups and fitness and social programs, so they can meet families on a similar journey, share coping strategies and build friendships.”
“The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is so pleased and thankful for the support of the B.C. Ministry of Health. By continuing to provide funding for First Link dementia support, the ministry is demonstrating its commitment to Britsh Columbians affected by dementia,” said Maria Howard, chief executive officer, Alzheimer Society of B.C. “The funding is vital for better supporting underserved communities.”
The Alzheimer Society of B.C. runs several programs to support and educate people living with dementia and their families. These include First Link and Minds in Motion, a fitness and social program open to people in the early stages of dementia and their care partners, where they can participate in light exercise, fun activities and social time. First Link is offered to communities throughout the province.
Through its fundraising efforts like the Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s, and with the support of partners such as the Province, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. will continue to offer the First Link dementia helpline and support service in remote communities throughout B.C.
- In 2016-17, about 61,000 seniors in B.C. had diagnosed dementia, which is 6.6% of the population in that age group – 65 or older.
- There were about 5,000 people in B.C. under the age of 65 living with dementia, accounting for 7.7% of the total dementia cases.
- There are currently more than 14,500 people connected to First Link.
To learn more about First Link, visit: alzheimer.ca/en/bc/We-can-help
To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, visit: www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/hw136623