Australian-first Research into People Living with Dementia in Retirement Villages

By Petrina Smith
Wednesday, 24 September, 2014


Living with dementia in retirement villages will be looked into for the first time with Alzheimer’s Australia NSW conducting a research project on whether people with dementia are well-supported in a village environment.
The research project, supported by IRT Foundation and the Retirement Living Council, will aim to look at the extent to which people with dementia are supported to age-in-place in retirement villages with the help of community care services, the village operators and informal support from other members of the village community.
Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins said that with an estimated 332,000 Australians already living with dementia, which is expected to soar to almost 900,000 people by
2050, it was an important issue.
“We know that when people get a diagnosis of dementia, they want to stay in their communities and carry on with their lives,” Mr Watkins said. “And they have a right to do so. Retirement villages are a popular choice for many older people and we know this is an emerging issue. The operators of retirement villages will have an important role to play in meeting the housing and support needs of people with dementia in Australia.”
The research is looking into the suitability of the design of retirement villages and the level of informal support available for people with dementia, especially those that are living alone.
The final results of the research will be released in mid-2015.
Nieves Murray, CEO of IRT Group, says: “This project is a great example of the IRT Foundation supporting research that helps older people age well in their own homes for as long as possible.”
“Working in partnership with Alzheimer’s Australia NSW and the Retirement Living Council means that the research will be able to be put into practice and help those who need it most.”
Mary Wood, Executive Director of the Retirement Living Council, says: “The results of the research will be invaluable in equipping more retirement village operators with the knowledge they need to
ensure all residents showing symptoms of dementia get the support they need.”
“A retirement village is a great environment for senior Australians who want to stay independent but need some extra support, and this research will ensure villages can support the widest variety
of people possible.”
September is Dementia Awareness Month and the theme is ‘Creating a Dementia-Friendly Nation’. Dementia Awareness Month 2014 is supported by financial assistance from the Australian
Government and the NSW Government.

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