The Alzheimer Society of Hastings-Prince Edward

The Alzheimer Society of Hastings-Prince Edward

The Alzheimer Society of Hastings-Prince Edward is a non-profit organization and registered charity that offers support, education, and advocacy for people and families experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

First Link: The first step for those with dementia

Aug 24, 2021 | Blog, Knowledge Exchange

The September 2021 blog post written by the Alzheimer Society of Hastings-Prince Edward.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month. Over 565,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s Disease or some form of dementia, and this number is set to rise to nearly 1 MILLION Canadians in less than 12 years. Local Alzheimer Societies across Ontario are here to help.

The Alzheimer Society of Hastings-Prince Edward (ASHPE) is a local non-profit and registered charity with offices in Belleville, Picton and Bancroft. ASHPE provides free services and programming to those living in or caring for someone in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties and the Municipality of Brighton. ASHPE is one of over 27 Alzheimer Societies in Ontario.  You can look to the Alzheimer Society to provide navigation, education and support programming and more to help improve the quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as their care partners and families. One of these important programs is the First Link referral program.

First Link is a referral program that gives persons living with dementia, their care partners and family a direct connection to a wide variety of services and supports offered by the Alzheimer Society and within the local community.

Through the First Link program, healthcare providers can connect a person living with dementia to their local Alzheimer Society from the time of diagnosis and throughout the duration of their experience living with the disease. Anyone can also self-refer to the Alzheimer Society for services – even without a diagnosis!

The First Link program ensures persons living with dementia get the help they need more quickly. In fact, recent research has shown that by making a referral through First Link, the average time between diagnosis and service is reduced by up to 11 months.

This means that persons living with dementia are able to take steps to plan ahead, decrease visits to the emergency department, and remain at home for as long as possible.

“I came to First Link feeling afraid and alone dealing with my husband’s Pick’s Disease. But I have developed a feeling of gratitude and appreciation of what other caregivers are going through. I strongly recommend First Link to anyone unsure of how to handle Alzheimer’s or other dementias. It’s such a valuable learning tool.” – Care partner

In addition to this First Link navigation, the local Alzheimer Society also offers free information, education, and support. All services are confidential, and can be accessed directly from the Alzheimer Society by anyone with questions or concerns about memory loss.

ASHPE offers one-on-one and family support, over 250 free support groups sessions a year, and social recreation programming to help clients and their care partners stay active and connected with the Alzheimer Society and each other. Through Covid-19, ASHPE programming has been available virtually and over the phone.

ASHPE also provides advocacy and community awareness through the Dementia Friendly Communities Program. This program enables ASHPE to provide individuals, community leaders, and businesses with the skills and tools to better serve persons living with dementia and their care partners. In the last year, ASHPE provided over 580 people with Dementia Friendly Communities and Finding Your Way safety training.

Additional education programs and resources for caregivers, the general public, professionals and students are also available through the local Alzheimer Society.

Although at present, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and dementia – think of the Alzheimer Society as an invaluable prescription for both the person living with disease and their partners in care. More information about ASHPE, including the First Link Referral Form can be found at www.alzheimer.ca/hpe, or by calling 613-962-0892. For Ontario health care providers, referrals can also be made through the Ocean E-referral Network here.

 

About the Author

The Alzheimer Society of Hastings-Prince Edward is a non-profit organization and registered charity that offers support, education, and advocacy for people and families experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

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