André Picard, the Globe and Mail’s health columnist, explored challenges to health care in Flourishing Halifax keynote address

Andre Picard and Moderator Carmen Lansdowne pose for the camera with 6 other people
André Picard and Moderator Carmen Lansdowne are pictured with members of Alzheimer Society Nova Scotia. From left to right: Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Andrew Howe, Sacha Nadeau, Connie VanBerkel, Rosanne Burke, and Lauren McLennan.
Credit: Ronda Parkes/The United Church of Canada
Published On: April 29, 2024

When Sacha Nadeau, Director of Programs & Services for Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, read about the Flourishing keynote address in Halifax earlier this month, she bought tickets for several members of her team.

“Each day, our team supports people with dementia and their care partners navigating the complexities of our health care system. While we support dementia specifically, it is important for us to understand the interconnections and pinch points of the health care system,” says Nadeau. “We were intrigued by the event largely to get a bird’s eye view of health care in Canada and understand how our charity can contribute to addressing gaps in Nova Scotia.”

André Picard, the Globe and Mail's health columnist and author of six bestselling books, explored health care challenges and solutions through a lens of flourishing in his address, “From Struggling to Thriving: How to Revitalize Canada’s Medicare System.” The event supported Moderator the Right Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne’s Flourishing initiative, inviting the community to engage in imaginative conversation about our future common flourishing.

“The idea is to engage in changemaking conversations about flourishing both inside and outside of the church,” says Lansdowne. “This keynote was intended to inspire us about a flourishing future for all, one where we think differently about our systems, especially health care in this case. The aim is to get Canada imagining what a flourishing future could look like.”

Nadeau’s team has been working hard on creating dementia-friendly communities. They recently launched Community Changes Everything: Dementia-Friendly Communities Nova Scotia, designed to support, respect, and include people living with dementia and their partners in care in the places they live, work, and play. They’re communities that enable contribution, opportunity, and choice.

In other words, they enable people to flourish, even with dementia.

“It was encouraging to hear how much can be done at a community level to better support people on the dementia journey,” says Nadeau, adding, “We also deeply appreciated that he shared his personal experience supporting both parents with dementia—his comments go a long way in raising awareness and reducing stigma.”

Flourishing: Bold Ideas, Daring Connections is a gathering of brilliant minds, innovators, and thought leaders who are ready to make daring connections and to explore groundbreaking ideas that have the power to shape the future.

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