First Link®


First Link® is a program that gives persons living with dementia, their care partners and family a direct connection to a wide variety of services and supports offered through the Alzheimer Society and within the community.

Two women looking at a tablet

Contact us by email at or phone to learn more about the First Link® program: 905-576-2567 or toll-free 1-888-301-1106.

First Link® … your first step to living well with dementia

First Link®, endorsed by the medical community, is based on the Canadian Consensus Guidelines on Dementia, developed by 45 medical experts. Those experts recommend primary-care providers use First Link® as a support for patients and families living by dementia.

First Link® has decreased the average time between diagnosis and referral to local Societies from 18 months down to seven months. That’s important because the sooner you get help, the more control you have over your illness.

First Link® brings together the Alzheimer Societies in Ontario, primary-care physicians and other health professionals to provide services and treatment to people living with dementia – from diagnosis to end of life.

How does First Link® work?

Please use our online referral form available here. Or download the PDF here and fax to 905-576-2033.

Health care providers can also send referrals using the Ocean platform.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns or 905-576-2567 ext. 5245.

Individuals or health-care providers can refer consenting individuals using our First Link® referral form. The First Link® Coordinator follows up within the time frame specified by the client.

Once an individual is referred to First Link®, the First Link® Coordinator will contact them and connect them to the information and resources they need to make informed choices.

At the Alzheimer Society of Durham Region, our First Link® Coordinator provides

  • One-on-one support through online, home or office visits, telephone and email contacts
  • Tips for navigating the health system to get the care they need
  • Links to other health and social-service providers in their community
  • Help to find resources to manage issues such as decision-making, adjusting to the loss of a driver’s licence, financial planning, power of attorney and long-term care placement
  • Connection with First Link® Learning Series, which provides practical information about what to expect through the progression of the disease and how to cope

Benefits of First Link®

Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is never easy. The individual may be bewildered and distressed about the challenges ahead and unsure how to navigate the health system. Families may be too overwhelmed or not have time to manage all of the person’s needs.

First Link® gets them the help they need right away, averting possible crises and helping them meet challenges as they come up. That translates into fewer emergency room visits and lets care partners keep family members living with dementia at home as long as possible.

Please view the First Link video below:

Contact us by email at or phone to learn more about the First Link® program: 905-576-2567 or toll-free 1-888-301-1106.