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Futures Policy Forum Webinar #2

Transforming to Integrated Community-Based Services for Older Albertans

The second FREE webinar of the AAG Futures Policy Forum took place on Wednesday, May 4h, 2022. Read the report, view the recording and see the webinar slides and other resources below.

Read Webinar #2 Report

Watch the recording!

Albertans want to remain in their community homes for as long as possible. In the first AAG Futures Policy Forum 2022, Transforming Healthy Aging Webinar, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Evan Romanow and Dr. Carol Estabrooks both referred to the economic and quality of life benefits of aging in place.

Comprehensive models of aging in place and healthy aging point to the importance of integrating and connecting traditional health services with the health promotion and prevention programming offered through community-based seniors’ services. Guest speakers in this webinar on integrating health and community services include:

  • Dr. Marie Anne Essam MB BS MRCGP MBA, General Practitioner, Pathfinder Practice, Hertfordshire, UK and  Clinical Lead and Ambassador for Social Prescribing
  • Kahir Lalji, M.A., CPG, Provincial Director, Government Relations & Programs, United Way British Columbia
  • Karen McDonald, MBA, Executive Director of Sage Seniors Association, Edmonton, and Chair of the Healthy Aging Alberta Initiative

Webinar #2 Speaker Slides

Kahir Lalji, Topic: Healthy Aging in BC – A Community Based Model

Karen McDonald, Topic: Moving Towards an Integrated Healthy Aging Community-Based Service System for Older Adults in Alberta


Dr. Marie Anne Essam MB BS MRCGP MBA is a General Practitioner, Pathfinder Practice Clinical Lead, & Ambassador for Social Prescribing. In over 30 years of GP practice, she thinks the most transformative force for individuals, communities, organizations, & society that she has encountered is social prescribing. While medicine plays an essential role in health, health is more dependent on the social determinants of health (SDOH).” The SDOH are the non-medical social and environmental conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age. “If there are problems with housing, finance, relationships, employment, and nutrition, to name a few, nothing doctors can prescribe medically is really going to help. A social prescription, however, may lead to the patient getting exactly the kind of advice and support they need.  Social prescribing enables people to use the clinical services more productively and make personal advances that are both transformative and sustainable.”

More information:


Kahir Lalji, M.A., CPG, Provincial Director, Government Relations & Programs, United Way British Columbia has deep roots in community development. Together with community agencies, local, provincial, and federal governments, and a diverse set of vested partners and donors, Kahir leads the United Way British Columbia Healthy Aging Team in creating healthy, inclusive communities. They deliver programs including Better at Home, Active Aging, Social Prescribing, Therapeutic Activation Programs for Seniors, Family Friends and Caregivers Support, Safe Seniors, Strong Communities and Community and Sector Development initiatives, such as Healthy Aging CORE and Project Impact. “Simply put, we are establishing an integrated and supportive senior’s health network that can respond to individual community needs and that can support seniors’ independence, resilience, and social connectedness.” says Kahir Lalji

Links to United Way British Columbia Initiatives


Karen McDonald MBA, is Executive Director of Sage Seniors Association, Edmonton, and Chair of the Healthy Aging Alberta Initiative. After spending a decade in seniors’ supportive housing she joined Sage, first as a program coordinator and now serves as the executive director. Sage is a community-based seniors serving organization that provides social services, community development, and life enrichment programming.

Karen co-founded MatchWork in 2015 to support older adults facing barriers to employment. This interactive employment training and assessment tool is now used by employment support organizations to guide and support those who face barriers to employment, including older workers and caregivers. Additionally, Karen acts as the chair of Healthy Aging Alberta which is seeking to create a provincial network of organizations that are united by the shared vision; “We want Alberta to become one of the best places in the world to grow old.”