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Healthy Aging Alberta Systems Map

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Systems Mapping and Healthy Aging Alberta


What is systems mapping?  

Systems mapping is a tool that creates a visual representation of a sector or a system, to help name and identify the different elements and players and how they interact and work together. It illustrates all of the many actors and elements involved in the system and their links to one another. In the context of the senior serving sector, these actors could be community-based senior serving organizations, (CBSS) allied systems partners, and key stakeholders. By gaining an understanding of the relationships between each of these actors, the sector as a whole can work towards broader systems change. 


What is the CBSS Systems Map?  

The CBSS Systems Map originated with an objective to map the senior serving sector beyond a geographical representation. This involved illustrating the breadth of senior serving organizations across the province and understanding the relationships these organizations have to one another, taking into consideration the kinds of services provided and the needs of older adults in community to understand the ecosystem in which these organizations operate. These relationships help to organize the sector, noting both connections and gaps in services at local, regional, and provincial levels. 


This high-level systems map demonstrates the benefit of mapping the system and how information in a map might be organized to better understand the complex relationships between organizations in the CBSS sector, and to support future planning within the sector. 


Systems mapping was identified as a key task after the What We Heard report was released in 2018 to understand and create a more coordinated sector. Further engagement with community affirmed the desire for the sector to better understand and organize the sector, with direct feedback collected through online engagement sessions and a survey distributed to over 2,000 contacts. This survey helped to build Phase 1 of the Systems Map through collecting descriptive information about organizations and their current partnerships and collaborations. 


Why should I use it?  

The CBSS Systems Map is an organic tool that can be used by CBSS organizations to facilitate the understanding of the sector, and their position in it. Some noted examples are: 

  • Organizations are linked by their connection to each other, through partnerships and collaborations, and these connections are viewed within the map facilitating system navigation. 
  • Organizations can use the map as a visual representation of their connections to share with their funders or external stakeholders.  
  • Organizations can use the map to identify gaps in services, perform a needs assessment, and expand upon program or service offerings either by themselves or by partnering with others. 
  • Organizations can use the map to see which new relationships can be built through seeing the connections and work that other organizations are doing and making or requesting an introduction. 
  • The work that an organization undertakes with seniors may complement work done by other organizations in their community, region, or elsewhere in the province. The CBSS Systems Map is a simple tool to illustrate this alignment. 


How to use it  

To view the CBSS Systems Map, access this LINK.

You can learn how to navigate the map by viewing a video tutorial or accessing the written guide


If you have questions or would like to add information to the CBSS Systems Map, please contact your Healthy Aging Alberta Regional Community Developer (RCD). 


  • By

    Healthy Aging Alberta

  • Published

    Feb 09, 2023

  • Subject Area
    • Non-profit / Charitable sector
    • Technology
    • Organizational Development
    • Information, Referral, & Advocacy
  • Audience
    • Government (Politicians, Policy Makers) and Health Authorities
    • Service Providers (Non-profits, Community Organizations, Local government)
    • Funders
    • Academics
    • Caregivers, Seniors & Volunteers
    • Government
    • Health Authorities
  • Category
    • Provincial Resources
    • Partnerships
    • Leadership & Development


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