The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) has received two significant funding grants from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), to support continued research into improving the nation’s health and aged care systems.
The MRFF’s 2021 Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care grants included a combined total of over $3.5 million for two of NARI’s projects – No More Shame and ENJOY IMP-ACT.
The No More Shame project, led by Professor Bianca Brijnath, Director of Social Gerontology at NARI, aims to remove stigmas and improve the recognition of, and response to, elder abuse by health providers.
The project will comprise a co-designed training program for health providers, the implementation of a co-designed screening tool, and a site champion in 10 sub-acute care sites across Australia.
“Almost 15 per cent of older Australians experience elder abuse, and its impact can be truly catastrophic – decreasing quality of life, and increased mortality risk by 40 per cent,” Professor Brijnath said.
“Health providers play a vital role in helping elder abuse victims realise that they have nothing to be ashamed of and to create a safe environment for reporting and response. This project will help to change the rhetoric around elder abuse, both in health care settings and in our society at large.”
The ENJOY Seniors Exercise Park IMP-ACT project (IMProving older people’s health through physical ACTivity), led by Professor Pazit Levinger, is designed to increase participation in physical activity to improve health outcomes for older people in Victoria.
ENJOY IMP-ACT aims to enhance the physical and mental well-being and social connectedness of older people as well as build capacity and engagement within local health providers, seniors groups and community members to maintain sustainability long term. Five local governments will implement evidence-based, physical and social activity programs utilising specialised outdoor exercise equipment (the Seniors Exercise Park) for older people.
“We know how significantly physical activity can benefit the health of older people, by reducing risk of chronic disease, cognitive and functional decline, and improving mental health and wellbeing,” Professor Levinger said.
“These exercise parks are also powerful facilitators of social connection, and by having accessible exercise equipment readily available we can encourage exercise that is safe, effective and enjoyable.”
A number of external projects involving NARI researchers also received MRFF funding, including:
- Implementation of a co-designed exercise and fall prevention program for older people from CALD backgrounds – University of Melbourne
- EMBED: A stepped wedge cluster randomised trial of a tailored, integrated model of care to reduce symptoms of depression in-home aged care – Monash University
- Residential Aged Care – Enhanced Dementia Diagnosis – Monash University
- A Preventative Care Program to optimise mental health during the transition into residential aged care – The University of Newcastle
NARI Executive Director, Professor Briony Dow, says the MRFF grants confirm these projects have real potential to improve outcomes for older Australians.
“As the national leader in ageing research, we produce evidence, tools and resources designed to improve health and aged care systems, and inspire best practice public policy in the health and aged care sector,” Professor Dow said.
“Thank you to the Medical Research Future Fund for funding our important work so we can continue to deliver better outcomes for older Australians.” Prof Dow added.