AW&H Logo


The Ageing & Health Research Team conducts multi-disciplinary research that informs constructive responses to population ageing and the connection between ageing and health, which are inextricably linked. Health is a both a consequence of ageing and a resource that enables active and positive ageing.

The team is comprised of three thematic areas: Ageing and the Life Course, Participation and Ageing, and Climate Change and Ageing. We aim to better understand ways to enhance the health, independence, well-being, and participation of older Australians, and to translate this knowledge into effective practice and policy for service agencies, consumer groups, government and older people.


PARTICIPATION AND AGEING - led by Professor Lindy Clemson

The Participation and Ageing Research Team investigates ways to improve the well being of older people and how best to prevent falls. Participation and meaningful engagement in everyday life is strongly associated with well being.

Our focus is on conducting evaluation research, performing assessments and developing interventions to develop better preventative care outcomes. The increasing numbers of older Australians and the resulting increase in hospitalisation costs is driving government to take greater notice of research focused on preventative care. Within this wider focus we are also interested in improving the access to preventative care for specific cultural groups.

The research team is led by Professor Lindy Clemson and includes a core group of team members with expertise in psychology, occupational therapy, epidemiology, nutrition and sociology. We work collaboratively with other Research Groups within the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine and other faculties at Sydney University, and outside bodies such as the George Institute and the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute.

The team has a strong record of achievement in developing and testing intervention programs in areas that have been identified as major markers of downward health trajectories. These have largely been in the area of falls prevention and more recently the challenges of coping with dementia into later life and remaining engaged in meaningful activity. These programs are underpinned by principles of enablement and are designed in consultation with older people. They aim to maintain independence and engagement in life roles and activities.

One example is the recently published LiFE program in the British Medical Journal, a program where balance and strength training is embedded in daily activity. This program arose from older people voicing the need for an alternative approach to traditional routine exercise. A joint symposium at the GSA in San Diego later this year will highlight four years of collaborative work with the University of Madison, Wisconsin to explore issues of sustainability and reach of community based falls prevention. This work has important implications for equity of access for urban and rural older people.

AGEING AND THE LIFE COURSE - led by Associate Professor Kate O’Loughlin

The Ageing and the Life Course Team is involved in several projects associated with Australia’s ageing population, with a particular focus on the post-World War 2 baby boomers. The projects investigate the interplay between paid work and unpaid care-giving and its relationship with health and wellbeing; behaviours and exposures across the life course and their effect on health outcomes in later life; and individual and community attitudes to ageing, with a specific focus on age discrimination in the workplace.

The research team is led by A/Professor Kate O’Loughlin and includes team members with expertise in health and social policy, sociology, psychology, occupational therapy and epidemiology. We work collaboratively within the Faculty of Health Sciences and other USyd faculties, as well as internationally (ULeeds, UAlberta, Massey, Manchester), and with investigators in the three nodes (UNSW, ANU, USyd) of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR).

The team has a strong record in carrying out and disseminating research to build knowledge on older workers to inform both national and global initiatives in socioeconomic policies and work towards sustainability in policy-relevant population ageing research. Team members also have the opportunity to engage with external stakeholders in developing research goals, and disseminating and translating research output into accessible forms for policy makers and practitioners. Recent examples include: participation in a CEPAR Roundtable with the Department of Social Services (August 2014); a successful proposal for a Special Issue on Older Workers and Caregiving in a Global Context in the Journal of Cross-cultural Gerontology.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGEING - led by Professor Deborah Black

March Visit from Dr Laura Gitlin

In March, Dr Laura Gitlin gave a lecture, "WE CAN DO BETTER: Helping People with Dementia and Their Families Live at Home with Quality of Life". Click hereto view the slides from this presentation.

View the presentation here (note: case study videos have been extracted for copyright reasons):