Helpline offers support to people struggling with dementia

The toll-free phone line is available in Houston and across the province

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias affect thousands of British Columbians, but asking for or receiving the diagnosis can be challenging, and families often don’t know what to do, according to the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

That’s why a toll-free phone line (1-800-936-6033) is now available in Houston and across the province.

The so-called First Link Dementia Helpline is for anyone who lives with dementia or is a care partner to someone who does. It’s also for people concerned about their memory, people who work with people living with dementia or any member of the public who would like to know more.

“Someone might call in because they’re starting to see changes in themselves or someone close to them and want to learn more about the warning signs and how to get a diagnosis,” said Sandra Meehan, support and education coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Northern Interior, Skeena and Peace Resource Centre.

“Most callers are caregivers who need to know who to call or where to turn; we guide them towards services that will help them build the skills and confidence to live with dementia.”

The helpline is also a resource for people who haven’t felt comfortable reaching out because of fear.

“They’re the people who haven’t reached out at all until it’s a crisis,” Meehan said. “We walk them through scenarios and help them understand how they could respond to people living with dementia.”

Houston residents who call the helpline will be connected to the full range of services offered through the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s First Link dementia support, including support groups, community resources and education workshops for every stage of the journey.

No matter why a person calls the First Link Dementia Helpline, Meehan says that the goal is always the same – “to make sure that they get the support they need.”