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Request for Expressions of Interest:
Provincial Funding

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What is Healthy Aging Alberta?

Healthy Aging Alberta is a rich network of community-based senior serving organizations and allies across our province united by a shared vision: to make Alberta one of the best places in the world to grow older.

Healthy Aging Alberta was established to connect community-based senior-serving (CBSS) organizations with larger systems such as health, housing, and the disabilities sectors.

Organizations serving older adults play a critical role in Albertans aging at home in the community. Yet, limited coordination and the absence of infrastructure prevent us from collaborating as a formal sector with other systems and from having a strong, unified voice at tables where decisions are being made about how to best support seniors. Coordinating our efforts is critical in meeting the needs of the growing demographic of older Albertans and enabling every senior to age the way they want.

To address these issues, United Way has worked closely with the Government of Alberta to develop Healthy Aging Alberta.

Healthy Aging Alberta seeks to enhance the lives of older Albertans by uniting the organizations that serve them. This work is being done for the community, by the community. Together we will empower, support, and inspire older adults to age on their terms while improving health and social outcomes. We need to come together as a coordinated, well-supported sector ready to fulfill our role in the seniors’ continuum of care.

United Way of Calgary and Area manages Healthy Aging Alberta on behalf of the community and is guided by the Community Leadership Council (CLC).

“We know there are a lot of great things happening in regions, and we are building upon it and connecting it toward the bigger picture. [We] can all connect and pull in the same direction; any one network can’t do that alone.”
– Community Activation Session participant

What Does Healthy Aging Alberta Do?

Healthy Aging Alberta creates a unified voice for community organizations serving older Albertans. By building a framework that connects the seniors’ sector, we can have a greater impact on all Albertans. As a strong and unified voice, we  have been successful in advocating for investment to implement a regional approach to sector development; building capacity across the sector through the Constellation of Networks model; and implementing aging in community supports and social prescribing programming that will act as the catalysts for the development of coordinated, sustainable provincial models and networks.

We become stronger when we weave our knowledge, expertise, and passion together like a tapestry. United, we can create more communities where Albertans are supported as they grow older — in their homes, engaged in their communities — a future we all want and benefit from.

Healthy Aging Alberta Road Map

This high-level overview of the initiative’s goals and milestones is based on the What We Heard Report, developed in response to community consultations in 2019 (see Timeline of Healthy Aging Alberta for more information). It depicts the co-creation approach with the Government of Alberta and the community in its ongoing development.

Timeline of Healthy Aging Alberta
  • A group of senior-serving community organizations recognized the challenges stemming from a lack of provincial coordination among community-based seniors serving organizations.
  • Allies at the Ministry of Seniors and Housing with the Government of Alberta took a co-creation approach around this challenge.
  • The concept of sector development and what is possible in Alberta was inspired by the success of the Healthy Aging Model in BC through the work of the United Way BC that has been in development over the past decade.
  • According to the BC Ministry of Health, they have seen a decrease in seniors admitted to the hospital. They attributed this to the high level of integrated community-based care achieved through the initiative’s sector development and coordination efforts.
  • Out of a provincial community consultation process, the What We Heard Report was developed, capturing the sector challenges and strengths and the top drivers for collaboration and a road map for developing a sector. The report was released in early 2020.
  • Like many projects initiated in 2020, the pandemic necessitated quick shifts. The original, thoughtful community development approach envisioned was delayed in favour of pandemic response, and the need for CBSS organizations to effectively communicate, share knowledge, and collaborate was heightened.
  • Healthy Aging CORE Alberta was formed after four weeks instead of the initially proposed eight months. This platform and digital knowledge and mobilization hub quickly became the virtual connection space for organizations across Alberta to share information and host events.
  • Since the launch of CORE Alberta, the Leadership Council and government allies have refocused on the sector development roadmap. The community came together in the spring and helped brand the initiative “Healthy Aging Alberta.” These Regional Community Activation Sessions were attended by over 350 sector members and systems allies from across Alberta.
  • Healthy Aging Alberta hosted a Community Conversation on “Continuing to Serve Seniors During the Pandemic,” soliciting feedback from over 50 participants on how the CBSS sector is faring.
  • The Constellation of Networks model was launched with a Regional Community Developer from the Edmonton area.
    • Regional Community Developers from the remaining zones in Alberta join the Healthy Aging Alberta team.
    • In-person and online Regional Gatherings are launched across Alberta in the spring, bringing together organizations and sector allies and introducing them to the Healthy Aging Framework.
    • Healthy Aging Alberta is increasing making our unified voice heard through our stakeholder and government relations work and has been successful in advocating for investment to implement a regional approach to sector development; building capacity across the sector through the Constellation of Networks model, and implementing aging in community supports and social prescribing programming that will act as the catalysts for the development of coordinated, sustainable provincial models and networks.

What jumps out to me is collaboration. People see what my organization does, and we see what others are doing…. We need opportunities to connect and learn from one another. It’s exciting to be a part of something like [Healthy Aging Alberta].”

– Community Activation Session participant

Objectives of Healthy Aging Alberta

  • The Collaborative Leadership Governance Model serves as the foundation for the Healthy Aging Alberta initiative, ensuring that the Community Leadership Council has community-led, diverse representation, including geographic diversity from urban and rural lenses, lived-experience input and insight, and voices from equity-deserving communities.
  • The Healthy Aging Framework is a made-in-Alberta tool based on the World Health Organization’s social determinants of health. The Framework can be used to articulate, organize, and communicate the work of individual organizations and collaborative initiatives.
  • The Healthy Aging Framework Implementation allows organizations to describe similar work consistently, increasing the ability to respond as a unified sector. As the sector better relates to each other through the shared conceptualizations of change, language, impact, and evaluation, systems work can be accelerated where uniqueness is maintained and the variety of services offered is valued.
  • Systems mapping will help organizations and allied partners better understand the ecosystem in which Alberta’s CBSS Sector operates by identifying how different players and stakeholders intersect and where connections exist at a community, regional, and provincial level. Healthy Aging Alberta’s systems map will lead to a clearer picture of where opportunities, levers, and gaps exist within Alberta’s seniors’ sector, creating a stronger and more connected network over time that is better suited to coalesce and collaborate with itself and other systems.

CORE Alberta is a provincially coordinated learning network designed to strengthen the sector and increase organizational and sector capacity through information sharing, training, mentoring, communities of practice, policy development, resource development, and collaboration. CORE serves as the digital engagement space and platform that allows Healthy Aging Alberta to engage with the community through CORE membership, provincial groups, events, and community consultations.

Explore CORE Alberta, the knowledge hub for community-based seniors serving organizations, allied agencies, and individuals in Alberta.

“I am proud we supported the development and implementation of the Collaborative Online Resources and Education Alberta online knowledge hub – known as CORE AlbertaThis platform has been a significant enabler in building capacity and collaboration within the province’s seniors-serving (CBSS) sector.  From its May 2020 launch to now, CORE Alberta gained more than 1,000 members.”

– Honourable Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing

  • The Constellation of Networks Model aligns with Alberta Health Services’ five zones where Regional Community Developers working in the Calgary, Edmonton, North, Central, and South regions can foster local and regional sector development. This approach to a centralized infrastructure for a coordinated sector leverages local assets to identify unique pathways that will create a long-lasting impact in its groundwork.
  • The Stakeholder and Government Relations Strategy is paramount to Healthy Aging Alberta’s ability to have a unified voice when working with other sectors and key stakeholders. By finding alignment with allied partners, bold action can be taken together that benefits the CBSS sector and organizations.
  • The Advocacy and Policy Partnerships work responds to issues that have long-reaching impacts on older Albertans and have included past advocacy around the CERB GIS benefits payments, including the Community Leadership Council’s letter to the Minister of Seniors and Housing.
  • The Funders’ Table is a body responsible for coordinating the efforts of funding agencies and philanthropic organizations towards achieving common goals and may help to set the strategic direction for the funding that organizations provide in areas of common interest. This approach can reduce duplication, address funding gaps, and ensure that resources are targeted toward achieving shared goals, objectives and outcomes.
  • Priority Areas Work is undertaken to bring dedicated attention to pertinent issues affecting the CBSS sector. Healthy Aging Alberta is currently investing in Homes and Social Prescribing, focusing on mental health and social isolation. Priority Areas Work is in response to the pressing needs identified through community development and is executed through the lens of inclusion, with respect through representation from Advisory Groups. The central principle guiding this work is being seniors-centric.

Principles that Unite Healthy Aging Alberta

  • Collaborative through shared learning and leveraging existing work
  • Community-driven and led by collective needs of the sector
  • Diverse and inclusive to ensure equitable access for all seniors
  • Flexible and dynamic to incorporate leadership and expertise from all levels
  • Seniors-centric to ensure seniors are at the centre of our work
  • Action-oriented with a focus on incremental wins

Reports and Publications

Partners

United Way of Calgary and Area would also like to thank Alberta Blue Cross as a Healthy Aging CORE Alberta founding partner.

Learn More

For more information on Healthy Aging Alberta, please contact:

Mariam Elghahuagi
Project Manager, Healthy Aging Alberta
United Way of Calgary and Area
Email: [email protected]

Adam SlaterHealthy Aging Alberta