The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) has announced significant funding received from the Government will be put towards improving the lives of older Australians by putting a spotlight on elder abuse.
The Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF) 2021 Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care has provided over $3.5 million in grants.
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Director of Social Gerontology at NARI, Professor Bianca Brijnath, said the grants will be split between two projects; the No More Shame project, the purpose of which is to remove stigmas surrounding elder abuse and train health providers in recognition and response to the abuse; and the other project ENJOY IM-PACT aimed at improving physical activity for seniors.
“Almost 15 per cent of older Australians experience elder abuse, and its impact can be truly catastrophic – decreasing quality of life, and increasing mortality risk by 40 per cent,” 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 [No More Shame] will help to change the rhetoric around elder abuse, both in health care settings and in our society at large.”
In a Starts at 60 community poll, nearly 50 per cent of people said they’ve come into contact with elder abuse in their own community or families.
“Given elder abuse in Australia impacts 600,000 older people each year, the whole of Australian society needs to do more now to eliminate this appalling abuse from our communities,” said Elder Abuse Association of Australia Co-Chair, Russell Westacott.
“It is truly everybody’s business to look out for the older people in our lives.”
In addition to the No More Shame project, NARI’s ENJOY IM-PACT, led by Professor Pazit Levinger, will help to improve the lives of older Australians living in Victoria through the many benefits of getting the body moving by creating Senior Exercise Parks and includes the benefits of “social connectedness … and engagement” for seniors.
“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,” 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.”
Regular physical activity has multiple health benefits, and the ENJOY IM-PACT project aims to create a space that will foster long-term sustainability.