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From our President

In 2019, as we began to see the results of our current three-year strategic plan, Sage settled into the breadth and depth of our programs and services. We solidified our integrated model, and fully staffed the Health Services program. A great sign of the success of integration was that 65% of clients using Health Services also accessed one or more other programs or services at Sage. Through the Board’s fiscal management, we eliminated our accumulated deficit in 2019.

We also responded to changes in government throughout the year. The Strategic Communications Committee worked to help elected officials and the public service understand the impact of their policy decisions on Sage’s clients. Because of these strong relationships, our Executive Director was invited to represent Sage at the provincial Minister of Seniors and Housing’s Seniors Advisory Council.

We highly value our partnerships across the sector. This was displayed in our involvement in provincial engagement sessions to establish a coordinated community-based seniors serving (CBSS) sector. Throughout 2019, the Board gave priority to that work because we understand that a collective sector voice is necessary when advocating for the people that we serve.

One of our key strategic objectives is to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience in the senior’s population. We were pleased to get funding in the Fall of 2019 for a quality improvement project through the Advancing Frailty Care in the Community initiative. The DRAGONFLY (builDing Resilience And respondinG tO seNiors FraiLtY) project aims to identify mild to moderate frailty, complete an in-depth assessment, and then respond with tailored health and social interventions. This project has a lot of potential to efficiently identify frailty and effectively respond in community-based settings.

Finally, the Board undertook work in the Fall of 2019 to update our strategic plan. We re-committed our understanding that Sage is a community-based seniors serving organization that exists to enhance the quality of life of older persons and their families. We do this through the work of staff and volunteers, in collaboration with stakeholders. Our new guiding strategic principle is that we will leverage Sage’s model to ensure services in Alberta optimize health, agency, and inclusion for seniors.

So far, 2020 has been another year of change for Sage. The staff has shown incredible leadership in navigating these changes and challenges. This October marks Sage’s 50th anniversary and we could not be prouder of all that we have achieved. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in the coming years.

Joyce Tustian

From our Executive Director

Thank you for taking a moment to read Sage’s 2019 Annual Report – a report to our community, members, volunteers, and stakeholders. Looking retrospectively at 2019, it feels a bit like the calm before the storm that has been 2020. The storm and turmoil that has led to the delay of our AGM and Annual Report for the first time in the history of the organization. However, the unexpected benefit of the delay and challenges of 2020, is the enriched perspective and clarity of the achievements of 2019 and appreciation for the Sage community and those that make it so special.

In 2019, a significant focus was the continued development and growth of the Health Services program at Sage. This unique model of integrated social supports, life enrichment programming, and physical and mental health supports is the embodiment of Sage’s commitment to innovative, holistic, person-centred services. The delivery of the program also exemplifies an organizational culture that is committed to partnership and collaboration. In the second year of operations of the Health Services program, we saw a deepening of the collaborations with the University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing, the Family Centre, Ashbourne Assisted Living (transportation), mobile and allied health service providers, and many others. Sage’s programs and services are stronger as a result of the expertise, networks, and values shared by these organizations.

We saw a provincial election in 2019 that had a significant impact on the policy direction of government, a significant funder of services, housing, and financial benefits for older adults. We worked extensively over the past year with our colleagues in all three levels of government to share our knowledge about the needs of the population we serve, the impact of policy directions on seniors in Alberta, and opportunities for innovative, evidence-informed services and policies. The wellbeing of seniors in Alberta depends on effective collaboration and communication between government, industry, and civil society, and we continue to commit to this important work.

Sage’s volunteers continue to be the essential bedrock of our Sage community, programs, and services. Contributions of time, talent, and emotional labour by our volunteers has allowed Sage to grow and respond to the needs of seniors, and to create a community at Sage that is inclusive, safe, and welcoming. As we look back at 2019, I’m overwhelmed by gratitude for the people who have chosen Sage as the recipient of these gifts. Heartfelt thanks to each of you.

With the support of our volunteers and Board, Sage’s staff showed leadership, creativity, and determination as services and programs grew and evolved in 2019. Change can be challenging for an organization, and for us as individuals, but the team rose to the occasion, with a steely focus on Sage’s vision and values. I have so much appreciation for our staff and am honoured to be part of this team.

And finally, I thank you, dear reader of our Annual Report. Sage works as a community, for communities. This approach only works because people like you chose to engage and connect. Thank you!

Karen McDonald

DRAGONFLY: BuilDing Resilience And RespondinG tO SeNior FraiLtY Program Selected For Funding

In 2019, we received support from the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement and Canadian Frailty Network to pilot ways of identifying frail older adults, and to trial new ways to connect those older adults to services which improve their resilience. The funding will allow us to hire a frailty assessment coordinator for the clinic, furthering our commitment to to increase knowledge of frailty in primary care, advance best practices, and build capacity.

In the delivery of DRAGONFLY, Sage will use a modified version of the Seniors Community Hub intervention and existing systems in place to address three core elements of practice change: frailty identification, geriatric assessment, and tailored intervention. Using a combination of both the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) and Vulnerability/Resiliency assessment, this project will identify opportunities for interventions that will seek to decrease vulnerability and increase resilience. After the tailored intervention(s) are implemented, the primary care providers will reassess the patient’s CFS score at three, six, and 12 months.

Health Services - Expanded Services to Meet the Needs of Seniors

Health Services at Sage exemplifies the potential of global funding in a community-based, Nurse Practitioner-led clinic. Embedded within an established senior serving organization, Health Services @ Sage has successfully overcome the artificial barrier between the physical and social determinants of health to provide quality, innovative, person-centred care to seniors across the greater Edmonton area.

Health Services at Sage, along with all of Sage’s programming, aims to meet the physical, mental, and emotional health needs of low-resourced older adults - defined as those who are marginalized or hard to reach, homeless or near homeless, caregivers, living with a physical or mental disability, newcomers, or financially challenged seniors with limited disposable income and limited access to financial resources. As such, Sage places great importance on being as accessible as possible - it has a central location; excellent access to public transit; and accessibility for those who use have limited mobility. In addition to seniors being able to access Sage’s physical location, Nurse Practitioners also provide outreach and home visits to older adults all over Edmonton.

The program employed four Nurse Practitioners in 2019, and contributed to integrated, wraparound services at Sage which incorporate both health and social components. The benefit of using Nurse Practitioners as the primary providers in the Health Services at Sage model is the opportunity this provides for seniors to discuss the full scope of their health challenges and learn more about managing their own health/wellness concerns.

Because health is about the whole person at Sage, when our patients use our Health Services program, we can also help them with non-medical related issues like housing and financial concerns or connecting them to social supports and opportunities to meet new people and get involved in the Sage community.

Seniors Housing Forum

The Seniors Housing Forum, presented by Age Friendly Edmonton, was held on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at the Central Lions Seniors Recreation Centre. The event was attended by over 800 people, who received information and resources that expanded their knowledge of housing options in the Capital region, and enabled them to make more informed choices regarding this critical topic.

This annual event continues to be important, as increasing numbers of "Boomers" reach retirement age and beyond, and need to make decisions about where and how they want to live. This informative, free event provides seniors, their families, and caregivers with an excellent opportunity to learn more about housing and related resources that support older adults in the Greater Edmonton area. The Seniors Housing Forum also provided education and support to those considering things like supportive and facility living, others who want to downsize or adapt their current homes, and those who are just beginning to think about this next phase.

Seniors Health & Wellness Forum

On Saturday, November 2, over 650 seniors packed the Central Lions Seniors Recreation Centre for the Seniors Health & Wellness Forum - a free, one-day event where attendees obtained information and resources related to the health, wellness, and social supports vital to aging in place.

To develop sessions for the Forum, Sage and a committee of community partners used the guide Thinking About Your Future? Plan Now to Age in Place—A Checklist released by the Forum of Federal/Provincial/ Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors. The checklist covers important points, like how seniors plan to take care of their physical and mental health, where seniors plan to live as they age, how they plan to get around, how they will afford to live after retirement, how they plan to stay connected and safe, and how they will access necessary services and supports.

Sage would like to thank the many sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and volunteers who helped to make these Forums a success!

Our Wonderful Volunteers

Did you know that 336 people volunteered for Sage in 2019, and that together they logged over 23,000 volunteer hours? That's a lot! Simply put, we couldn't do what we do without them.

Volunteer Appreciation events at Sage were held in April and December. The spring event, held during National Volunteer Week, had a theme of “birds of a feather, volunteer together” from the Welsh proverb "birds of a feather, flock together". Volunteers were treated to a sit down lunch, served by staff and student volunteers. Entertainment followed the meal and volunteers received a small gift. In December, we tried something new - a Volunteer Christmas Party Brunch - where students from Norquest’s Transitions to Employment Program assisted with decorating and setting up the auditorium, and helped serve the brunch alongside Sage staff on the day of the event. For entertainment, we had the Richard Eaton Songsters - a small group of choristers associated with the Richard Eaton Singers, a premier symphonic choir - lead our guests in a Christmas carol sing-a-long. Their dulcet tones helped to brighten everyone's spirits during the holiday season!

The volunteers at Sage have built a supportive, caring community, making Sage feel like a second home. Our annual volunteer appreciation events are an opportunity to show our volunteers how much we value their work and dedication , and to celebrate their enormous contributions to the organization. Thank you!

It takes a community a build community.

Sage works with a wide variety of organizations to help seniors live their best lives possible. We would like to acknowledge to that we could not do our best work without the numerous agencies that we work with collaboratively within the community. The following organizations partnered with us in 2019 - thank you!

  • Age Friendly Calgary
  • Africa Centre
  • Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters
  • Ashbourne Community Service Centre
  • Assist Community Services Centre
  • Beacon Heights Community League
  • Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters Edmonton
  • Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton
  • carya
  • Catholic Social Services
  • C5 Edmonton Northeast Hub
  • City of Edmonton
  • Communities United
  • Covenant Health
  • Drive Happiness
  • Edmonton Community Legal Centre
  • Edmonton Economic Development Corporation: Health City
  • Edmonton John Howard Society
  • Edmonton Policy Service
  • Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
  • Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council
  • Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta
  • Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
  • Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta
  • Gateway Association
  • GeriActors and Friends
  • Greater Edmonton Foundation
  • Government of Alberta: Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
  • Homeward Trust
  • MacEwan University
  • Men’s Sheds Edmonton
  • Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative
  • Oliver Primary Care Network
  • Pride Centre
  • Pride Seniors Group
  • South Clareview Community League
  • Southside Primary Care Network
  • The Family Centre
  • University of Alberta: Community Service Learning
  • University of Alberta: Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Westend Seniors Activity Centre
  • Age Friendly Edmonton
  • Alberta Sport Connection: InMotion Network
  • ATB Financial
  • City of Edmonton: Family and Community Support Services
  • Douglas Milton Campbell Estate Fund
  • Edmonton Community Adult Learning Association
  • Edmonton Community Foundation
  • Government of Alberta: Community and Social Services
  • Government of Alberta: Health
  • Government of Alberta: Justice and Solicitor General
  • Government of Alberta: Seniors and Housing
  • Government of Canada: Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Government of Canada: Employment and Social Development Canada (New Horizons)
  • No Room in the Inn
  • Realtors’ Community Foundation
  • St. Paul’s United Church
  • Stollery Charitable Fund
  • Union 52 Benevolent Society
  • United Way

Summarized Financials:

Your support has an impact on the lives of the people we serve and helps us to meet the needs of our community.