January is Alzheimer Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s Disease is the seventh leading cause of death in Canada and is the most common form of dementia. It erases memory, steals the ability to think and makes simple daily tasks, such as eating and getting dressed, impossible. It robs independence and eventually, takes life. In the Central East region, local residents can get support for dealing with Alzheimer’s from Alzheimer Societies in the Scarborough, Durham and North East clusters.

Moira and her husband James live in a small seniors’ apartment in Pickering. Now in their late 70’s, the couple had worked in the automotive and health care industry, successfully raised four children and had expected to spend their retirement years travelling and visiting with family and friends. A series of strokes has impacted James’ ability to communicate with his family and Moira is now exhibiting a number of Alzheimer warning signs including memory loss, poor or decreased judgement and changes in personality. The family is concerned and doesn’t know where to turn.

With the support of LHINs, Alzheimer’s Societies across the province, offer a free First Link program that connects individuals and their families to a local community of learning, services and support. Family counselors and support groups ensure that information is provided along every step of the Alzheimer journey including information about diagnosis, day-to-day living, positive approaches to care, strategies for challenges and how to prepare for end of life.

In the Central East LHIN, three local Alzheimer’s Societies, run the First Link program:

Alzheimer Society Toronto

Alzheimer Society Durham

Alzheimer Society Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland & Haliburton

Other partners in the First Link program include family physicians, geriatric specialists, pharmacists, social workers, Community Care Access Centres and community agencies as they work together to ensure that individuals and families dealing with dementia have access to support and information throughout the course of the disease.

LHINs bring together health care partners from the following sectors – hospitals, community care, community support services, community mental health and addictions, community health centres and long-term care – to develop innovative, collaborative solutions leading to more timely access to high quality services for the residents of Ontario and the Central East LHIN. By supporting these important partnerships, LHINs are ensuring that Ontarians have access to an effective and efficient health care system that delivers improved health care results and a better patient experience.