First Link dementia support expanded in the South Okanagan and Similkameen

Dementia support program expanding to Penticton, the South Okanagan and the Similkameen regions.

Peter Wynn and wife Sylvia Bergen with their son’s dog Lincoln at their Penticton home. Wynn is a volunteer with the society’s resource centre in Penticton

Peter Wynn and wife Sylvia Bergen with their son’s dog Lincoln at their Penticton home. Wynn is a volunteer with the society’s resource centre in Penticton

In time for World Alzheimer’s Month, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is announcing the expansion of First Link dementia support into communities in the South Okanagan and Similkameen regions, including Penticton.

“First Link connects people with dementia, their caregivers, family and friends with support, education and information at any stage of the journey,” said Laurie Myres, support and education co-ordinator for the society. “The expansion of First Link will enable us to deliver those services more effectively to families in the South Okanagan and Similkameen.”

In addition to services already offered in the region, the expansion of First Link will allow the society to build relationships with health-care providers, and to proactively connect with more families on a regular basis through ongoing support calls.

The heart of the expansion of First Link in the South Okanagan and Similkameen regions is ensuring that people living with the disease and their care partners can access a variety of information and support services, including one-to-one telephone support from the society on an ongoing basis.

Peter Wynn, a volunteer with the society’s resource centre in Penticton, lives with memory loss and knows how important it is for families on the dementia journey to receive support.

(Read more on Peter Wynn’s battle here: Couple living in the moment)

“I would be the first person to tell someone they should connect with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to learn about the kinds of assistance they offer. Not just for the person living with memory loss, but also their care partners.  Memory loss affects the whole family. It is important that everyone can learn from the really good information that the society has about what is going on and why.”

Formal referrals from health-care providers to First Link help ensure that people living with dementia and their care partners are connected with the society’s support services as early as possible.

“The information I have received through the society has heightened my awareness of the need to stay mentally and physically active in order to live well with memory loss,” said Wynn. “My wife and I attended the Shaping the Journey: living with dementia education series, where we met another couple facing similar challenges, and now we are good friends. It helps both of us to know that we are not alone in this.”

For more information about First Link dementia support, please visit alzheimerbc.org.