Find Support & Education
As a first step towards acceptance of the changes in my husband [after his diagnosis] I made a phone call to the Alzheimer’s Society of Calgary to sign up for a course. After explaining my intent, and before anything else was said, the person on the other end of the phone asked, “How are you doing?” So unexpected, so sincere, so compassionate, so moving. We chatted for a long time.
First Link Referral Program
First Link® referral program
If you are a physician, health care professional or community service provider seeking to ensure that a person you care for has direct access to the necessary support, education and other resources for dementia, you’ve come to the right place. The Alzheimer Society of Calgary provides services and support at the time of diagnosis and throughout the duration of the disease.
What is First Link®?
It is a proactive referral program that helps any newly diagnosed person and their family member(s) get connected to help as quickly as possible. The program is available across Alberta and delivered in partnership with Alzheimer Society of Alberta & Northwest Territories.
Why is your First Link® referral so important?
We recognize how difficult and overwhelming it can be for families to reach out on their own and ask for help. Often times, families are told about the Alzheimer Society and other dementia care services, but will not actually make the phone call until a crisis occurs. At the Alzheimer Society of Calgary, our mission is to enable local people impacted by dementia to live life well. We work alongside physicians, health care professionals and aligned community service providers as partners. Together, we can ensure persons affected have the resources and supports they need for the journey ahead. As a result of your referral, individuals and their families are linked to learning, services and support as early as possible in the disease process. This process also helps them develop competency and resiliency in facing their journey with dementia.
Benefits of the First Link® referral program
The First Link® program removes barriers to support by ensuring that individuals and their family member(s) are connected directly to key supports at the time of diagnosis or as soon as possible after a diagnosis is made. The referral is an important point of connection at a time when persons often feel grief-stricken, overwhelmed and fearful. First Link® increases the likelihood that a person will be connected with education, care and supports that will help them live well with dementia. Further, it ensures a level of ongoing followup is in place for the wellbeing of the person and their family member(s).
How to make a First Link® referral?
If you are a physician; health-care provider (I.e., allied health professional); diagnostic or treatment service provider; or community service provider, you are welcome to make a First Link® referral.
How the First Link® program works
Once a referral is made, the person with dementia and their family member(s) will be contacted by the Alzheimer Society of Calgary. Following an initial conversation, the person will be linked to Alzheimer Society programs, services and other community resources, depending on the needs and interests of the person. The Alzheimer Society of Calgary is an excellent resource to help in planning, provision of confidential support, educational workshops, adult day program and other dementia-specific connections within the community. For more details on the program, click here.
Does everyone need a First Link® referral in order to access these resources?
Not at all. Physicians, health care providers and other community service providers will find that a First Link® referral ensures continuity of service and proactive follow up with their patients. That being said, any person can contact the Alzheimer Society of Calgary directly for their own needs, or for those of their family members and friends.