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Focusing on wellness and prevention

It’s expected that by 2031, one in five Albertans will be a senior citizen. This will mean an increased demand on our healthcare system to manage more complex and chronic disease. As the healthcare system in Alberta evolves, our goal is to be able to better meet these demands, and also to aid with preventing chronic disease before it happens.

Many discussions about the future of health care in Alberta have been happening between Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health and Albertans in rural and urban areas. A key theme that has emerged is the need for all of us to focus more on wellness than on illness, moving our focus from hospital care to well-supported, community-based preventive care.

A key piece to wellness is addressing the health factors that we have some control over, and preventing illnesses that are partially caused by those factors (diet and nutrition, physical activity, smoking, and substance abuse). Typically, before major medical conditions show up, smaller health issues are present and impacting people’s daily lives and activities. Oftentimes this is related to the health factors above. Over time, poor choices, or impacts on the factors above related to other socioeconomic factors that challenge a person’s ability to make good choices, often lead to illness; illness/chronic disease that could have been prevented, or at least delayed, until later in life.

In recent engagement sessions, Albertans have told us more attention needs to be paid to:

  • Services related to addictions and mental health with a focus on prevention, and enhanced supports in the community.
  • Enhanced services for our aging population to support healthy aging, and seniors care. This could include strengthening community partnerships to support the health and wellness of Albertans in their homes and in their communities.
  • Focusing on wellness in our communities including a holistic approach to health that includes prevention, promotion, and the tools to support all Albertans to make healthy choices. For example, supporting schools, workplaces and municipalities to implement healthy food policies that include healthy options at meetings, and in vending machines.
  • Investing in our primary care system first, looking at community based/wellness models of service delivery, then shifting away from our current model of care that is more responsive/illness based.

For more information, please visit the Passion for Health blog:

For more information on some examples of current programs and services aiming to support Albertans living well, visit: