‘The First Link campaign emphasizes the themes of support, community and knowledge – all positive themes that intend to reassure people who are facing the frustrating question: What do I do next?’
The Alzheimer Society of Canada has launched its annual awareness campaign, and the main message the organization is focusing on in 2022 is “community changes everything,” say two of the society’s representatives.
At the heart of this message is First Link, an initiative the Alzheimer Society has created nationwide to help connect people living with dementia and their caregivers with programs and supports they need, say the Alzheimer Society’s chief of research and knowledge translation Dr. Saskia Sivananthan and marketing manager Nathan Christie.
In an e-mail interview with The OMNIway, Sivananthan and Christie say research conducted by the society’s COVID-19 and dementia task force indicates that people living with dementia and their caregivers have been disproportionately negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so the theme for this year’s campaign is significant.
“As such, when developing this year’s campaign, the Alzheimer Society knew we had to focus on hope,” Sivananthan and Christie say in an e-mail.
“The First Link campaign emphasizes the themes of support, community and knowledge – all positive themes that intend to reassure people who are facing the frustrating question: What do I do next?
“Through the campaign, the Alzheimer Society wants people affected by dementia to know: you are not alone. There is support available right now.”
Sivananthan and Christie say the campaign, which has been launched to coincide with January being National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, is particularly aimed at people who have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia but are not connected with the Alzheimer Society.
This includes people recently diagnosed with dementia, people who know someone exhibiting signs of dementia and people with dementia living in communities the Alzheimer Society has not effectively reached.
The campaign is also aimed at health-care providers who can use First Link as a referral service for people living with dementia to help connect them to services and supports they need.
Sivananthan and Christie say the best result that could stem from this year’s awareness campaign would be to have more people living with dementia connected to their local Alzheimer Society through the First Link initiative.
“At its essence, this campaign wants to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia during a time where every aspect of life has gotten more difficult via the pandemic,” they say.
For more information on First Link, please contact the Alzheimer Society at 1-855-705-4636 (INFO) or info(at)alzheimer.ca.
– This is Part 1 of a two-part series
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