We’re recognizing the 20th anniversary of our InfoLine service this May. It’s amazing to look back on the past 20 years and reflect on the growth of the service, and how we’ve expanded to support more and more Nova Scotians on the dementia journey.
InfoLine was developed in 2002 by Mary Anne Nardecchia and a group of dedicated volunteers providing support and information over the phone to families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
“The information, knowledge and support were sought by callers looking for guidance and understanding at a very difficult time in their lives,” says Mary Anne.
As the number of calls grew, the service needed to expand. This included formal training for the volunteers and a designated office space. This marked the beginning of what we know now as InfoLine.
“It began by recognizing a growing need for family support, and grew into a program that continues to evolve and keep relevant over time,” says Mary Anne. “It is truly amazing that InfoLine has continued to provide such an important service for so many people looking for help.”
Ten years into the service, we were able to transition to full-time staff coverage, an electronic case management system and a set of standards that were adopted by societies across the country.
“The staff who work on InfoLine are involved in each of our programs,” says Wenda MacDonald, who managed InfoLine from 2009-2020. “When you get in touch, a world of programs and support opens up. The staff can be in touch long term. I couldn’t be more proud of the service and where it is now.”
The move to an electronic case management system may seem like a small detail from an outside perspective, but it meant we had the capacity for much higher call volumes and regular follow ups. We went from hundreds of calls a year to over 2,000 by 2015, and we have continued to grow.
“We completed over 4,000 contacts this past year alone,” says Kaija Whittam, Manager of Client Services, who currently manages InfoLine. “We have a wonderful team of professional staff on the service who are dedicated, passionate, skilled and knowledgeable. We have registered social workers, recreation therapists and staff who have worked in the field for over 20 years. Throughout the pandemic we have been providing ongoing support to our clients, and our number of calls continue to grow. We will continue to be here to listen, and to care.”
Our InfoLine service provides help navigating the dementia journey, ongoing individualized support, registration for Alzheimer Society programs, connection to community-based services, educational material, and tips and strategies for living well.
If you have questions about dementia, we're here to help. Call us toll-free at 1-800-611-6345