For information about dementia, First Link the place to start

The Seniors Health Network each month poses a question to health-care professionals. This month, Rylee Yurik, Minds in Motion co-ordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Fraser Region Resource Centre, was asked:

“My husband is struggling with memory loss and we’re not sure if it’s dementia, but I’m committed to helping him be the best he can. Are there any programs or groups in the community that would support us?”

People in the Fraser Region who are concerned about memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia are encouraged to reach out to the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s First Link dementia support, which connects people affected by the disease to support and education at any stage of the journey.

Among the services available through First Link is a social and fitness program called Minds in Motion, geared towards people in the early stages of dementia or memory loss who attend with a care partner.

Participants of Minds in Motion take part in light exercise conducted by a certified fitness instructor, followed by activities and social time.

Dementia can be a very isolating condition for the person living with the disease and their care partners. Minds in Motion provides an opportunity for people with dementia to make new friends and have fun.

It is also an opportunity for care partners to connect and form new social support networks that often extend outside of the group.

Benefits include improved balance, mobility and flexibility, as well as helping to build confidence to live well with dementia.

Minds in Motion is a place where people are encouraged to share their opinions, thoughts and stories about their lives. They are encouraged to live in and enjoy the moment.

And in doing so, Minds in Motion becomes a place where those social connections are made through those stories and laughter.

Minds in Motion is something participants look forward to – a reason to get out of the house, and a topic to talk about afterwards.

In addition to Minds in Motion, First Link offers support groups – both for people in the early stages of dementia and for caregivers – as well as individual support over the phone or by appointment.

As well, people can access education, including Getting to Know Dementia, Shaping the Journey: living with dementia and the Family Caregiver Series. People have the option of connecting to both support groups and education sessions over the phone.

First Link also provides families with fact sheets and newsletters geared towards people living with dementia and caregivers, as well as offering referrals to other community and health-care services.

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is committed to building a dementia-friendly province, where people affected by dementia are acknowledged and supported.

No one should have to face the journey alone, but asking for help can be a difficult first step. People can connect to First Link dementia support by requesting a referral from a health-care provider, visiting the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Fraser Region Resource Centre at 201-15127 100 Ave., or by calling the First Link Dementia Helpline. For more information, go to www.alzheimerbc.org

The South Surrey White Rock Seniors Health Network is a coalition of seniors service providers working under the auspices of the Mayor of White Rock’s office. For information on community resources, visit sswr.fetchbc.ca

If you have a question for publication, please email seniorshealthnetworksswr@gmail.com

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