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Council on Healthy Aging

The Challenge

Canada is facing demographic challenges driven largely by the transition of baby-boomers into their retirement years and the steady lengthening of life expectancy. By the year 2015, baby-boomers will be 50–65 years old—by 2035 the youngest boomers will largely have retired. By then, almost a quarter of the Canadian population will be seniors in need of a wide range of services and supports to help them enjoy a high quality of life and, in some cases, to continue to work productively.

Our Approach

The Conference Board is establishing the Council on Healthy Aging (CHA) to address this challenge. The CHA is a new Executive Network dedicated to exploring the health-related issues and opportunities arising from this demographic change. Many studies have identified the health challenges that await this cohort as they enter life’s next phase, assured of a longer life expectancy. Consequently, the Council will examine systems, organizations and approaches that can help create the conditions for healthy aging in Canada as the aged population grows rapidly.

Mission and Themes

The mission of the Council is to enable knowledge exchange between important stakeholders, provide networking opportunities between like-minded individuals, and to facilitate connections with leading experts in the field. Potential meeting themes will include, for example; health delivery and social care models, home care and alternative care, social inclusion, housing, bias and ageism, transportation, and end-of-life strategies.

Commentaries of Interest

Canadians Call on Governments to Support Eldercare Providers Financially
October 22, 2014

Canadians Search Through Different Pockets to Fund Health Care in Retirement
October 14, 2014

Dementia: Coming to a Workplace Near You
October 10, 2014

Senior Care in Canada: A Look Back and a Look Ahead
October 08, 2014

Health Costs in Retirement Shake the Confidence of Canadians
September 22, 2014


Do Conversations Matter? How Alberta is Helping Families Better Prepare When Their Loved Ones are Dying

May 27, 2015 at 02:00 PM EDT

Did you know that 25% of the health care budget is used to care for people in their last six months of life? And as the population continues to age, this number is sure to increase. If there is a time when you are unable to speak for yourself, it is important that your loved ones and your healthcare team understand your wishes. The majority of Canadians continue to die in hospitals despite wishes to the contrary. Dying poses a great burden on patient’s finances and the wellbeing of families. Exploring the implications of advance care planning on private health expenditures, caregiving time and intergenerational wealth transfer will serve to highlight important gaps and opportunities.

We can all help. Doctors, bankers, public health administrators, lawyers, financial planners, funeral directors, spiritual advisors and social workers are but a few professions that play key roles in helping individuals and families prepare for death. Unfortunately, they are working alone sometimes without the right information. Even with the right information, conversations about treatment wishes and values and death are difficult. Imagine if we all could work together! Knowledge translation and implementation science—making evidence available in formats that can be used by everyone—are key to meaningful change and the focus of our discussion.

In this session, Konrad Fassbender and Max Jajszczok will discuss Alberta’s Advance Care Planning program and research which helps their citizens prepare in the event that they become dependent on family and loved ones to make care decisions on their behalf that respect their wishes and values. Konrad and Max will review recent research demonstrating the financial value of advance care planning from both a public and private perspective. Insight from research could help inform the sustainability of our healthcare system. They will discuss Goals of Care Designation, Alberta’s innovative medical order used to describe and communicate the general aim, or focus of care. None of us know what tomorrow might bring, nor can we easily predict our future health requirements. Planning today ensures that our wishes are known.

About Konrad
Konrad Fassbender is a PhD trained health economist, recently appointed Scientific Director for the Covenant Health Palliative Institute and Assistant Professor in the Division of Palliative Care Medicine. Konrad is a co-principal investigator on the Advance Care Planning CRIO grant. Konrad maintains cross-appointments as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health and Fellow of the Institute of Public Economics at the University of Alberta. Dr. Fassbender supervises medical trainees, graduate students and teaches health economics, health finance and econometrics. He works with clinicians, administrators and policy makers to measure cost and performance associated with the financing and delivery of health care and social services. His program of research examines the effects of health reform and technological change on health and economic outcomes of dying patients and their families.

About Max
Max Jajszczok is a multi-faceted clinical and administrative professional with 10+ years of experience covering the healthcare spectrum with focus on professional and business portfolios. Max is an elected board member and vice president with the Alberta Association of Registered Nurses in Private Practice, a specialty practice group recognized by the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta. Max leads the provincial palliative and end of life care (PEOLC) strategy department within Alberta Health Services, including the implementation and evaluation of impacts of a new provincial Advance Care Planning, and Goals of Care Designation policy and procedure. Alberta Health Services PEOLC program and service information can be found on the newly launched provincial health topic webpage:

CHA Brochure

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“Good health must lie at the core of any successful response to ageing. If we can ensure that people are living healthier as well as longer lives, the opportunities will be greater and the costs to society less.”

—Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization