First Link®

Introducing the First Link® Learning Series

The Alzheimer Society of Chatham-Kent is pleased to offer the First Link® Learning Series. This is a group of courses designed to provide the information and strategies required to meet the challenges faced by individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia and their caregivers.

The courses in the Learning Series are progressive, with each one building upon the other to provide participants with a comprehensive overview of dementia, coping strategies, resources and support systems. Participants have the opportunity to learn and share with others who are affected by dementia.

Each course is presented in two segments, spaced one week apart and lasting for two and a half hours each time. The courses will be available throughout the Chatham-Kent communities.  There are five different courses in the series. Caregivers can choose to attend only the courses which will be most useful for them.

Course #1: First Steps for People with Dementia and Caregivers

This course is to help individuals newly diagnosed with a dementia, and their caregivers, understand their diagnosis and the changes that they experience. Topics discussed include:

  • What is dementia?
  • Memory loss, changes to the brain, and resulting behaviours
  • Coping strategies
  • Drugs, treatment and research
  • Future planning - legal and financial matters
  • Community resources and support systems

Course #2: Next Steps for Families and Friends

This course will offer family members and friends caring for individuals with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia an overview of dementia. Topics covered will be similar to those in Course #1.

Course #3: Care Essentials 

This course will offer family members and friends problem solving strategies, approaches for communication and available avenues for support, all of which can strengthen their ability to provide care. Topics discussed include:

  • The progression of dementia
  • Understanding behaviour 
  • Day to day care
  • Community resources and a personal story 

Course #4: Options for Care

This course is to help family members and friends evaluate their current care giving needs and explore other possible care options available, including long term care. Topics discussed include:

  • Where to turn when care needs are increasing 
  • Long Term Care - How the system works
  • Coping with change - how to make the transition

Course #5: Care in Later Stages

This course is to help family members and friends understand what to expect in the later stages of dementia. The series will also explore how participants can provide comfort to the person with dementia as well as review the experiences of grief and loss. Topics discussed include:

  • Natural course of the later stages
  • How to recognize pain and distress
  • How to provide care that promotes dignity, comfort and quality of life

Please contact our office for our schedules of dates, locations and times for any of these sessions.

First Link Referral Form




First Link



Last Updated: 11/08/2017