Funding to expand First Link program

Staff writer
April 2, 2013 01:00 AM

An injection of $2 million by the Ministry of Health to support the Alzheimer Society of B.C.'s First Link(R) program will mean even more individuals and families can access services and support as soon as possible after receiving a diagnosis of dementia.

The one-time funding will support the expansion of First Link, an early intervention service where a formal referral from a physician or health professional allows the Society to proactively extend support to individuals and families.

"This support is very encouraging for the Society's work to provide early intervention and educate the public about the disease and the help that is available," said Larry Okotinsky, acting CEO for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. "We see this as a step forward for the First Link(R) program and our efforts to meet the growing need by British Columbian families for support on the dementia journey."

In 2011, the Society served 8,500 new clients in B.C., a 34 per centincrease over the previous year. To date, more than 2,600 B.C. families are currently connected with the Society through First Link, with 1,200 of these being new families referred in the past year alone. First Link operates in Greater Victoria, North and Central Vancouver Island, North and Central Okanagan, Northern Interior and Skeena, North Fraser, Richmond/South Delta and Vancouver.

Alzheimer's disease is the third most feared disease by British Columbians and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. provides the only province-wide network of support, education and information for families impacted by dementia.

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