An estimated 70,000 British Columbians currently live with dementia – a number expected to increase sharply.
The Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s ultimate vision is a world without dementia. Until that day comes, we are committed to creating a dementia-friendly province where people affected by dementia are welcomed and included.
Dementia is difficult to navigate. The stress and stigma associated with a diagnosis can leave people feeling isolated and overwhelmed. To address this, the Society’s First Link® dementia support connects individuals and families to information, education and support after a diagnosis and throughout the progression of dementia. A formal referral from a health-care provider prompts the Society to contact people and offer support and information. Research shows that, on average, families who do not receive a formal referral wait up to 11 months before connecting to First Link® on their own, a critical delay in the early psycho-social interventions vital for maintaining quality of life. First Link® dementia support is available throughout the province of B.C. and culturally-specific support – with service currently in Punjabi, Cantonese and Mandarin – is now available.
Moderated by Alzheimer Society of B.C. CEO Maria Howard, this session will highlight the lived experiences of caregivers who have been formally referred and those who have accessed dementia support services independently, as well as health-care professionals who work with families in both situations. The panel will discuss how First Link® dementia support creates an innovative, collaborative model of care and how it is changing what it means to live with dementia in British Columbia.