Roadmap to research for older people welcomed

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Roadmap to research for older people welcomed

March 2, 2020

The Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria has commended the Federal Government on its draft Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission Roadmap as a way of helping the government to prioritise funding for dementia and aged care research.

“What is pertinent is that the main aim of the Mission is to support older Australians to maintain their health and quality of life as they age, to live independently for longer, and to access quality care when they need it. That is to be welcomed,” said OCAV’s Director of Nursing Shaaron Robilliard.

OCAV has, however, recommended that the goals of the Mission are strengthened to specify the main issues of ageism, including attitudes and beliefs, behavioural discrimination, and policies and practices.

The Association also wants the goals for dementia research to be refined to include understanding causes and risk factors of dementia as well as ways to prevent cognitive decline, and to research policy and practice of dementia friendly communities.

“We believe that currently the emphasis is on treatment and dementia specific practice and policies. As the incidence of dementia grows in our society, we must find ways of helping people stay in their own homes and be supported by communities which understand and are empathetic,” Ms Robilliard said.

She said the funding priorities, which include dementia, ageism, healthy ageing, falls and frailty, reflected the current situation facing older Victorians but said that OCAV was keen to see extra elements introduced into each of the priorities.

“For instance, in the dementia priority we would like to see research into hearing loss which the Lancet Commission recently identified as the largest potentially modifiable risk in mid-life for dementia,” she said.

“The focus on healthy ageing should incorporate research into evidence-based interventions around exercise,” she added.

OCAV with National Ageing Research Institute are partnering currently on the ENJOY trial which is looking at the benefits of outdoors senior exercise parks.

“We also to see much more done on how to effectively treat falls, one of our residents’ main concerns because falls can be a serious threat to the quality of life and independence of older people,” Ms Robilliard said.

Other gaps in the roadmap include the need to consider multi-morbidity and medication management for older people, according to OCAV.

“Many older people have five to 10 conditions simultaneously which present challenges for choosing treatment options as each condition cannot be treated separately. Most (95%) people over 65yo are on at least 1 medication and two thirds are taking five or more medications,” Ms Robilliard said.

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Dorothy Clayton has felt very much ‘at home’ since she moved into Braeside Park nine years ago. Now, Dorothy, the village’s volunteer pastoral care worker, tries to ensure that others also feel a sense of belonging in the Berwick village.

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