Those in need of support can call the Helpline, to talk to someone about dementia. (submitted)

Helpline means nobody in Cowichan has to face dementia journey alone

Someone might call in because they’re starting to see changes in themselves or someone close to them

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. No one should have to face the dementia journey alone; that’s why the Alzheimer Society of B.C. offers the First Link Dementia Helpline (1-800-936-6033) in the Cowichan Valley and across the province.

A toll-free phone line, the 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,” says Jane Hope, support and education coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s North & Central Vancouver Island 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.”

Deanne Matthews called the helpline about a year after her mother Barb was diagnosed with dementia, when she and her sister started to notice changes in her mother’s ability to communicate.

“We realized this was something we needed to start dealing with,” Deanne says. “We were looking to the long term, and had to start making decisions while my mother was still able to tell us what she wanted.”

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,” Hope says. “We walk them through scenarios and help them understand how they could respond to people living with dementia.”

Cowichan Valley 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. First Link offers education like Shaping the journey: living with dementia, a six-week series that Deanne was able to participate in with her mother.

“It really helped us get prepared,” Deanne says.

Deanne and Barb also participate in Minds in Motion, a social and fitness program for people in the early stages of the disease to attend with their care partner.

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

Valley residents who are concerned about dementia can call the First Link Dementia Helpline (1-800-936-6033) or visit alzheimerbc.org. They are encouraged to speak with their health-care provider about whether or not a referral to First Link dementia support would help them.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Planning a birthday party in the middle of a worldwide pandemic must be done with great care and love. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Birthdays in the time of COVID-19

It was a couple of weekends ago, now, that I had the… Continue reading

Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday when it’s time to turn the clocks back one hour.
Time for a change

Put your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night

Cowichan’s Nicole Pugh collects the ball deep in the Gorge end during her team’s season opener at the Sherman Road turf last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan United runs with the big guns

Women’s soccer team holds its own against defending Div. 1 champs

Tim Gosley will be passing on some of his puppetry wisdom with a talk and workshop in Duncan in November. (Submitted)
CVAC ready to play next month in Duncan

Puppetry, Lego, basketry and more

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read