A $2 million commitment by the provincial government to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. will filter down to programs in northern B.C.
The government announced the one-time grant on Monday which will be used to bolster the First Link program around the province.
"We think that this means that our First Link co-ordinator in Prince George will be able to outreach around the whole of the Northern Health Authority," said Alzheimer Society director of advocacy and public policy Barbara Lindsay.
In Prince George that could mean more support for Minds in Motion, which gives Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers a chance to exercise and socialize.
"The people get a chance to meet other people in the community who are in a similar situation," Lindsay. "For caregivers it's a really great thing."
The Prince George office services the entire northern portion of the province and Lindsay said it's possible other communities like Prince Rupert or somewhere in the Peace region could also get a Minds and Motion program.
First Link also provides support for families of people with dementia. In Prince George, co-ordinator Laurie De Croos helps people navigate the challenges of dealing with the disease through regular phone calls.
"Every three months [De Croos] phones the families that are referred to us by the physicians or case managers or acute care," Lindsay explained. "Then she sends them an information package according to their needs."
Given the vastness of the north, the society uses technology to provide its educational programs to outlying areas, something the new funding will help sustain.
"In the north we have to get creative about how to get education out to people," she said, noting it's been made easier with the help of Northern Health and their video conferencing equipment.
The funding announced Monday also means First Link will be available in the Peace for the first time. Lindsay said that could mean more proactive counseling for people and caregivers in that region.
"Now with this funding we're going to be able to make sure First Link can operate in that area," she said. "And that our support and education co-ordinator in Dawson Creek is going to be in a position to support the families."
Exactly how the $2 million will be apportioned has yet to be determined, but Lindsay said it's important that they fund programs that will still be viable once this grant runs out.
"We have to build programs that can be sustained," she said. "We need to be prudent and really steward that money so we can build programs we can sustain."