NARI Director of Social Gerontology Dr Bianca Brijnath and researcher Dr Josefine Antoniades were among the guests taking part in a mental health breakfast at Government House recently.
The breakfast was held in conjunction with Mental Health Foundation of Australia, and was part of the 2018 Mental Health Month.
Contributing to the debate about ageing in Australia
NARI’s Director Associate Professor Briony Dow and Director of Social Gerontology Dr Bianca Brijnath have contributed opinions on dementia in multicultural communities and why we need a Royal Commission into aged care.
The opinions were in the well-regarded online publication Pearls and Irritations, published by John Menadue, a former diplomat, director of many public companies and media commentator.
Do we need a Royal Commission into Aged Care?
Associate Professor Briony Dow
With the recent announcement of a Royal Commission into Aged Care, debate is raging in the aged care sector and beyond as to whether it is really needed.
On one side of the argument is the view that we have had numerous reviews and inquiries over the past two or three years and so we already know what the problems are and have recommended solutions. Some believe if we spent the money that the Royal Commission will cost implementing these recommendations, we would go a long way to solving the problems. There is also the concern that existing recommendations and reforms will be stalled. For example, the recent Aged Care Workforce Taskforce has done a great job in identifying the workforce issues that the sector is facing and recommending practical strategies. These should be implemented.
Improving dementia awareness in Australia’s multicultural communities can mean better care for all.
Dr Bianca Brijnath
Sheila holds 10 teaspoons in her hands and every time the cooker whistles, she puts one down. After 10 whistles, she switches the cooker off. The rice is done. She takes down two pots and prepares one of the five vegetable dishes she remembers. When dinner arrives at the table, there are two places set for five people but she is resolute about particular people being assigned particular plates. There is to be no intermingling or sharing of plates; everyone must know their plate and place at this table.
For 56-year-old Tamil-speaking Usha Rao, attending this dinner at her in-laws’ home was a fundamental moment, signalling to her that something was wrong with her mother-in-law, Sheila. Whereas previous lapses of Sheila’s memory were dismissed by extended family and friends as, ‘a little memory loss’ associated with ageing, the decline in her cooking skills alerted Usha to the possibility of dementia.
Pain on the agenda in Parliament
The importance of managing pain in residential aged care has been highlighted in the recently published House of Representatives Inquiry into quality of care.
The Inquiry’s report has drawn from The Australian Pain Society’s resource Pain in Residential Aged Care Facilities: Management Strategies. One of the authors was NARI researcher Dr Steve Savvas.
The publication provides a guide to ‘what should be happening’ in aged care.
Exercising is fun
The National Ageing Research Institute is looking for people aged 65 and over who are generally active in the community to participate in an outdoor exercise study in Thomastown and Hoppers Crossing. For further details please contact the research team phone: 03-83872536, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In a novel way to combine exercise with fun, a new playground has opened in Hoppers Crossing… for seniors.
The new seniors' exercise park has been installed in partnership with the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) and funded by Gandel Philanthropy.
The playground has been set up to see if older people get as much out of play as pre-schoolers in terms of physical and mental health.