January is Alzheimer’s Awareness month and to commemorate this the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward Island is teaming up with colleagues across Canada sharing the message #WeBuildCommunity.
This January, the Alzheimer Society of PEI is encouraging people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias and their care partners to make the Society their “First Link” to a community of knowledge, support, and peers. A diagnosis of dementia is not easy. Making a quick connection for support makes a big difference by reducing feelings of uncertainty and increasing feelings of confidence through learning and planning for the future. Gaining knowledge and support from others goes a long way to being prepared for the changes that come with this disease.
First Link is a core program of the Alzheimer Society of PEI, an innovative direct referral program that connects individuals diagnosed with dementia and their care partners to information, education, support, and services. Through First Link, the case management process provides regular follow-up with families to put in place the right support, and the right resources, at the right time. It also helps connect people with others living a similar journey to share experiences and strategies.
“We’re focused on building local communities rich in knowledge, positive experiences, and support by offering high-quality programs and services across PEI. We create connections that people can turn to when they need help” stated Jaime Constable, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of PEI.
Pat Poirier is caring for her husband living with dementia, and shared her experience of the Alzheimer Society of PEI and the First Link Program: “I am so thankful to be connected to the Alzheimer Society, where I have the opportunity to have my many questions answered and receive assistance. Not only do they send material to help me understand, but also offer support through a biweekly Care Partner Support Group through Zoom. It gives me great peace of mind to know that we are not alone on this journey that is new to me.”
Constable says “We don’t yet have a cure for dementia, but there are several disease-modifying treatments in the later stages of research. In the meantime, what we know is that when families have access to education and support some crisis situations can be averted, and with more understanding, care partners and other family members typically report lower stress levels and other benefits.”
Through First Link, the Alzheimer Society provides support from the point of diagnosis and throughout the progression of the disease. The Society also helps people understand the signs and symptoms, and gives direction on how to get a diagnosis. Constable shared, “We help people understand the warning signs and provide advice to help them prepare for their doctor’s visit. If dementia is confirmed, we then continue to support families to help them live as well as possible with dementia.”
Currently, there are 2,767 Islanders living with dementia. Connecting to a community of knowledge and support changes everything. The Alzheimer Society of PEI will be hosting their 10th Annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Conference on January 27, 2022 from 9:00am-12:30pm via Zoom.
This event is designed to provide meaningful learning opportunities for persons living with dementia, their family care partners, healthcare professionals and the general public.
If you would like to learn more about how to stay connected to local communities of support, contact the society at 902-628-2257 or email email@example.com.