ABOUT THE AGEING AND HEALTH RESEARCH TEAM

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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.

THEMATIC AREAS

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

CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGEING - led by Professor Deborah Black