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Feature Article – AAGmag Summer 2022

A Call to Action


– by Marlene Rassok


Here is what is top of mind:

1. Alberta’s Plan for Change as articulated on our website has never been more important.

The large baby boom cohort (people born between 1946 and 1965) will have a significant impact on the rate of population aging over the next few decades in our province. In 2020, baby boomers were aged 55 to 74 years and accounted for about 21% of the population. By 2029, older Albertans will make up a larger share of the population than children aged 0 to 14 years. As baby boomers get older, aging is expected to accelerate until 2030, when the last of that large cohort reaches 65 years of age. In 2020, people aged 65 and older represented about 14% of the population. Under the medium growth scenario one in five, or 20%, is expected to be 65 years or older by 2046 (Alberta Government, 2018, 2021; Alberta Health, MNP, 2020; Statistics Canada, 2021).

2. We need to shift our thinking and language.

Age 65 is an arbitrary retirement number with a long history. We need to think more broadly— we are all ageing. Demographic shifts call for policies that enable older adults to move in and out of the workforce. Consequently, benefits and language need to be flexible to accommodate these moves. Let’s move from ageist language like “seniors” to older people, older adults, older Albertans, or individuals. See Frameworks Institute work on changing ageist language:

3. We need new approaches to program development that enable all Albertans to embrace a culture of healthy ageing.

Current supports are health centric. Move to the social determinants of health approach encompassing housing, age-friendly accessible communities, transportation, and integrated health services closer to home. These determinants which are critical to ensure Albertans can age in their community homes for as long as possible and are supported to be at their best levels of health and well-being.

4. The future with an ageing population needs to underpin broad-based reform.

a. Webinar with Ken Dychtwald (The Future of Medicine, Aging & Longevity)
Major focus: Healthy aging across the life course. Celebrate older persons and support with:

  • Wellness and self-care focus
  • Medical excellence, addressing lack of focus on preparing professionals for geriatric care
  • Precision medicine and bio-markers
  • Person-centered dementia care until there is a medical break-through to ensure people are living well with dementia.

b. The health care team is ageing too – see CIHI health workforce report.

  • How do we encourage younger people to enter into the caring professions; professionals to enter into the continuing care workforce, and enable people over 65 to continue caring?
  • How do we encourage innovative thinking about the future workforce? E.g., technology, shared care with family.


– new industries – lifestyle options, lifelong learning opportunities, new contributions by individuals aging well—find your champion/be a champion of health ageing with continuing purpose and value!


Alberta Government. (2018). Population projection. Alberta and Census Divisions, 2018-2046. Retrieved from

Alberta Government. (2021). Population statistics. Retrieved from

Alberta Health, MNP. (2020). Improving quality of life for residents in facility-based continuing care Alberta facility based continuing care review. Retrieved from

Statistics Canada. (2021). Alberta populations 2021. Table 17-10-0009-01  Population estimates, quarterly doi:,

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