Good nutrition essential for elderly living at home

9 June 2009

As the Australian population ages, ageing at home is an increasingly important part of Australian life. Good nutrition is an essential but often invisible aspect of the increasing longevity of Australians.

Federal Minister for Ageing, The Hon. Justine Elliot, will open a one-day conference, 'Ageing at Home: Nutrition and Other Aspects' on 10 June 2009, where experts will discuss present problems and possible future solutions at the University of Sydney.

Speakers will include nutrition experts and practical field workers, such as Sue Heffernan, General Manager of NSW Meals on Wheels Association; The Hon. John Watkins, CEO of Alzheimers Australia; Karen Connor, Acting Director General of the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care; Dr Renuka Visvanathan, Geriatrician and Director of the Aged and Extended Care Service at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide; and Emeritus Professor Stewart Truswell AO, Chairman of the Nutrition Research Foundation at the University of Sydney.

"The Nutrition Research Foundation at the University of Sydney held the first Australian conference on nutritional care of the housebound elderly in November 2005, and have organised this second conference to increase general community awareness and interest in this somewhat overlooked aspect associated with the longer lifespans of Australians," said Emeritus Professor Stewart Truswell, Chairman of the Nutrition Research Foundation at the University of Sydney.

"Although our special interest is food security and maintaining good nutrition, they have to be considered in the total setting of ageing," said Emeritus Professor Truswell.

"In addition to the nutrition talks, we have included in the conference program a talk about suitable exercises at home by Nicole Armstrong from MediFITT - Exercise for Health and the Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service Project Officer for Cardiovascular Research, plus a talk on the role of local authorities by Cheryl Morley, Director of Aged and Disability Services for Mosman Council," said Emeritus Professor Truswell.

"We've invited field workers and representatives of patients' organisations to attend the conference, so presenters and conference attendees can discuss real solutions to the issue of nutrition for housebound elderly."

Members of the conference planning committee were involved in writing and popularising the National Health and Medical Research Council's Dietary Guidelines for Older Australians (1999) and researching and preparing the Best Practice Food and Nutrition Manual for Aged Care Facilities (2004).

'Ageing at Home: Nutrition and Other Aspects' will be held on Wednesday 10 June 2009 in the Veterinary Science Conference Centre at the University of Sydney. Meat and Livestock Australia and Nestle Australia are providing sponsorship for the conference.

Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 2757021e082452692f2b59590f1e4a4e061f2b56231c2e1d