Grant secured to optimise aged and dementia home care

Friday, 06 December, 2019

Grant secured to optimise aged and dementia home care

Flinders University has secured an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant to optimise the home environment to promote healthy ageing.

Funding of more than $800,000 has been awarded in the form of an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) to two Flinders University researchers, including a $418,280 grant to continue research into better use of technology in aged and dementia home care.

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow Dr Kate Laver says falls by older people are a leading cause of hospitalisation and even premature death.

“Randomised trials have shown that home assessments completed by an occupational therapist improve function in older people and reduce the rate and risk of falls among older adults,” she said.

“However, access to occupational therapy home visits is limited; they are usually available only after injury or illness and are often not available at all in rural areas.”

Dr Laver and her team are working on new software to help people make self-assessments of potential risks — occupational therapists and other experts can use these reports to make recommendations and take steps to improve safety around the house before an accident occurs.

“People prefer to remain in their own homes as they age, and the Australian Government is taking steps to support more people to remain in their own homes as long as possible,” Dr Laver said.

“Simple home modifications include decluttering of overcrowded bedrooms, replacing uneven pavers and other trip hazards, and grab rails in the shower.”

Technology including 3D software, video conferencing, digital cameras, mobile apps, artificial intelligence and even robotics will increasingly support older people with their daily activities, with simple changes sometimes able to make all the difference to health, independence and safety.

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