The Alzheimer Society of Montréal launches First link to physicians and health care professionals

    MONTREAL, Jan. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The Alzheimer Society of Montréal hosted
an early breakfast-launch today at the Montefiore Club, in downtown Montréal,
to present First Link, a new tool designed to help family physicians and
health professionals better address the needs of people with Alzheimer's
disease and related disorders.
    The Society was pleased to welcome, as honorary guests, the Minister
responsible for Seniors, Marguerite Blais, and Dr. Howard Bergman, the first
Dr. Joseph Kaufmann Professor and Director of the Division of Geriatric
Medicine at McGill University and the Jewish General Hospital. Dr. Bergman is
also heading a multi-disciplinary committee drawn from several areas of
expertise and from across the province to develop, in the upcoming months, a
provincial action plan on Alzheimer's disease.
    First Link aims to link persons with the disease and their family
members, immediately upon diagnosis, to a network of services and ongoing
support, throughout the sinuous path of Alzheimer's.
    During her speech at today's breakfast-launch, Ms. Marguerite Blais
stated, "One of the messages we retained during the public consultation on
seniors' living conditions, is the importance of accessible services and
support," she says. "Seniors also expressed their wish to reside at home for
as long as possible, while receiving appropriate help. First Link responds in
part to these demands," she added.
    Ms. Blais, who ended the public consultation last November 16, will be
featured on the informative French-language show "Second Regard" on CBC
Television, this February 10 at 1:30 PM.
    The Alzheimer Society of Montréal's Executive Director, Gérald Hubert,
states that "The enthusiastic speeches of Marguerite Blais and Doctor Bergman
respectively, gave us much hope and added determination to pursue our mission
at the Alzheimer Society," he says. "Those present at today's launch welcomed
our initiative and we would be happy to share this information with our
partners throughout the community, as well as with the general public."
    During her presentation of First Link, April Hayward, Specialised
Counsellor and person responsible for carrying out First Link at the Alzheimer
Society of Montréal, acknowledged that it is not always easy for physicians to
announce a person's diagnosis. "The word 'Alzheimer' is terrifying to a lot
people," she says, "and can leave families feeling numb and powerless. They
may not know where to get help, or even what questions to ask. First Link is a
way to overcome this hurdle," she continued. "It is essential to link families
to a community of learning and support, as early as possible - from the onset
of diagnosis - to enable the person with the disease to remain at home, close
to his or her loved ones, for as long as possible."

    The Alzheimer Society of Montréal is a non profit organisation that seeks
to alleviate the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer's disease and
related disorders, as well as promote the search for a cause and cure.

For further information:

For further information: Mélissa Bellerose, Communications Coordinator,
Alzheimer Society of Montréal, (514) 369-0800, Ext. 226,,

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Alzheimer Society of Montréal

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