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 Home News & Events News NEWS ARCHIVE 2014 January - March 2014 Alzheimer Society First Link program officially opens in PNHR
January - March 2014
Alzheimer Society First Link program officially opens in PNHR
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Alzheimer Society First Link program officially opens in PNHR

Logo - First Link

January 15, 2014                                                                                        

Individuals living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, along with their families, now have ready access in Prairie North Health Region to the services and support of the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan (ASOS) through its First Link‚ program and Prairie North Resource Centre.

The Resource Centre is located at Battlefords District Care Centre and celebrated its grand opening Wednesday. The Resource Centre is staffed by First Link‚ Coordinator Jim Walls, former Director of Social Work for Prairie North Health Region, and well-known North Battleford resident. Walls is available to help people in Prairie North who are affected by Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. In addition to individual and family support, the Resource Centre has a wealth of informational material on hand.

The Prairie North Resource Centre is the fourth to open in Saskatchewan, thanks to the partnership between the Alzheimer Society, Government of Saskatchewan, and health regions. Resource Centres are also operating in the Prince Albert Parkland, Cypress, and Sun Country Health Regions. Joanne Bracken, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan told those gathered for the Prairie North Resource Centre opening that, "with an increase in their annual funding to $400,000, the Government of Saskatchewan's role was pivotal in opening four Resource Centres throughout the province."

Bracken added that each health region provided office space in their facilities at no charge to the Society. "We are grateful to the health regions for their genorisity. By providing us with office space at no cost means the funds we raise can directly help more people affected by dementia in our province."

First Link‚ is a program that connects individuals and their families to the Society for services and support as early as possible following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.

First Link‚ assists physicians, health, and community service providers to directly link Alzheimer's patients and their families to the society at the time of diagnosis and throughout the duration of the disease. Individuals and their families are linked to learning services and support as early as possible in the disease process.

Bracken explained that it is often difficult for individuals and families affected by dementia to ask for help. Many families are told about the Alzheimer Society and dementia care services, but will not actually call for support until a crisis occurs. First Link‚ removes this barrier to support by ensuring that individuals and families are referred directly to the program at the time of diagnosis, or as soon as possible after a diagnosis is made.

Saskatoon Eastview MLA Corey Tocher participated in the grand opening on behalf of the government and Health Minister Dustin Duncan. Tocher stated that nearly everyone knows someone who has been affected by Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.

"Our government is very pleased to support expansion of the First Link program to assist those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, as well as their families. With the expansion...almost 800 additional individuals will have timely access to programs and services," said Tocher.

Lionel Chabot, Prairie North Vice-President of Finance and Operations, described the First Link‚ program and location of the Resource Centre at Battlefords District Care Centre as "a good fit" for the facility's residents, staff and everyone in the health region.

Chabot added that PNHR's partnership with the Alzheimer Society, the Resource Centre, First Linkand the province exemplifies Prairie North's Vision of 'work(ing) with individuals and communities to achieve the safest and best possible care, experience and health' for the people the Region serves.

Also participating in the Prairie North Resource Centre grand opening were Joanne Michael, Program Services Manager, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan; and North Battleford Mayor Ian Hamilton.

First Link Grand Opening
Prairie North Resource Centre Grand Opening
Participating in the ribbon cutting were (from left) Joanne Michael, Program Services Manager, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan; Corey Tocher, MLA, representing Health Minister Dustin Duncan; Joanne Bracken, CEO, ASOS; Ian Hamilton, Mayor, City of North Battleford; Lionel Chabot, VP Finance & Operations, PNHR; and Jim Walls, First Link Coordinator, Prairie North Resource Centre, ASOS.

To reach the Prairie North Resource Centre and Jim Walls,
call 306-445-2206 or email

To view the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan news release, click Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan celebrates grand opening of Prairie North Resource Centre .

For more information about the Alzheimer society of Saskatchewan and the First Link‚ program, please visit http://www.alzheimer.ca/sk

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