Ageing Well eNews
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NARI Ageing Well eNews                  November 2018

From the Director  

Dear Friends

As I have said many times, the shocking stories of ill-treatment and abuse in nursing homes, whilst hopefully rare, are never acceptable. It is therefore pleasing that a Royal Commission into Aged Care has been established as it will shine a spotlight on what we as a nation want for our older Australians.

From our perspective, we hope that the Royal Commission will ensure that the sector offers the quality of life and quality of care that all older Australians deserve. These include the special needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender.

Having evidence-based research to draw on as we begin to discuss quality of life and care is vital.  Not only does research help to identify strengths but it is also helps to expose gaps in knowledge and weaknesses in putting evidence into practice.

As the independent medical research institute in Australia focused on ageing and aged care, we have over 40 years of research findings aimed at improving health outcomes and aged care practice aimed to guide policy to invest in solutions for positive ageing for all older people in Australia.

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Book your tickets: NARI Annual Dinner

16 November

The National Ageing Research Institute has pleasure in inviting you to our Annual Black Tie Dinner on the evening of Friday 16th November 2018 at 7pm for 7.30pm.

The dinner will include guest speaker Mr Michael Bennett, the great grandson of Sir John Monash who will provide new insights on the life and career of Sir John, a distinguished Australian.

There will also be exceptionally beautiful operatic performances during the evening.

This dinner is an important event for NARI as it provides us with a significant opportunity to highlight our research and how we are contributing knowledge and building an evidence-base to tackle some of the very real issues facing Australia’s ageing population.

Tickets cost $238 per person.

Funds raised from the event will be directed to NARI’s research.

To book seats, please go to:

Contact Details:  Judith Hooper 0406 369 877

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News From NARI

NARI President appointed interim Chief Clinical Advisor  

NARI President Associate Professor Michael Murray has been appointed interim Chief Clinical Advisor to the new Australian Aged Care and Quality Commission.

Associate Professor Murray will assist Commissioner Janet Anderson who is charged with establishing the commission as it starts intensified compliance monitoring from 1 January 2019.

Associate Professor Murray has a broad range of management, clinical and clinical teaching experience in aged care as the Medical Director of Continuing Care and Head of Geriatric Medicine at Austin Health, Melbourne.

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 LGBTI advocate wins Senior Achiever Award

Transgender Victoria volunteer Brenda Appleton, 67, was one of Senior Achiever Award recipients at the 2018 Victorian Seniors of the Year awards hosted by the Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau AC at Government House.

Brenda, from South Yarra, was nominated by NARI for her advocacy, education and research participation on care services for older members of the LGBTI community, particularly transgender people.

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Mental health breakfast


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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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:

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.

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Diagnosis and Access Through e-interpreting


Early findings from a project looking at whether video-interpreting during in-home assessments of older people with dementia and from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds reveal that the experience is positive if the technology works.

The NARI project is looking at how technology can help older people from CALD backgrounds who often have difficulty accessing face-to-face interpreters, a factor which can lead to delayed diagnoses of dementia.

Although the concepts of telehealth in aged care and video-interpreting have been explored separately in previous studies, no studies have explored video-interpreting specifically for cognitive assessments conducted in a home setting.

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Connecting students with ageing research


Student Thalia Kourelis came to the Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC) to learn more about ageing research and left with more than she anticipated.

While her main task was to research and undertake a literature review on older health consumers’ involvement in research, she helped to organise forums, collected and analysed data and observed interviews.

Thalia is one of ten student placements taking part in a partnership between NARI and the RMIT Social Work Department aimed at supporting and facilitating student placements in the ageing sector.

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Hospital admissions for people with dementia


Around 6.5 per cent of all hospital admissions are potentially avoidable, according to research conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Older people with dementia comprise up to a quarter of these admissions, often with conditions such as influenza, gastroenteritis and diabetes complications which could potentially be treated by General Practitioners.

Compared to age-matched peers, people with dementia require medical care at higher rates, are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital, and on leaving hospital are three times more likely to be less well because of their time in hospital. 

A recent project was completed by the Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration, Preventing Hospital Admissions for People with Dementia project, and included Austin Health, Dementia Australia, DHHS, NARI, Northern Health, North Western Melbourne PHN, Melbourne Health, and University of Melbourne as collaborators.

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Elder Abuse in the spotlight at NARI’s annual seminar


Elder abuse was in the spotlight at NARI’s annual seminar with presenters addressing different aspects about the issue to a 100-strong audience.
Hosted by Australian Unity, policy makers, researchers and health professionals gathered to hear the latest in innovation, policy and practice from a variety of perspectives.

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