Koori Growing Old Well Study

Athol is a participant in the Koori Growing Old Well Study at Neuroscience Research Australia
Athol Dixon lives in La Perouse, one of the five communities taking part in our study.

Please note, these pages may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased.

Welcome to the Koori Growing Old Well Study site. We are exploring healthy ageing and cognition in urban Aboriginal communities in New South Wales, in particular looking at how life events affect healthy ageing.

This site is an Aboriginal health and ageing resource for both the community and for researchers.

Please use the index on the left to navigate through these pages.

A study of Aboriginal health and ageing approved by AHMRC and funded by the NHMRC.

Not much is known about how urban Aboriginal people grow old. Now is the time – as people in Aboriginal communities are starting to grow older in greater numbers – to look at both well-being and at health risks in older Aboriginal people. 

Older people have different problems. Some have problems with their memory, and in some cases this can really affect their lives and can lead to dementia. Our project is interested in finding out how many older Aboriginal people have memory problems and dementia, what causes it, when it begins, how dementia is related to what has happened over someone’s life, and how people can be helped who have memory loss. We have been asked, by many Aboriginal people over the years, why people always assume that Aboriginal people don’t always grow old. This study has come from those original questions. 

The Koori Growing Old Well Study wanted to talk to the older Aboriginal people in NSW, aged 60 years and over, in five urban communities: La Perouse, Campbelltown, Kempsey, Nambucca, and Coffs Harbour. With the assistance of these people we hope to find answers to some common questions about growing older: 
  • What does “growing old well” mean for Aboriginal people? How many Aboriginal people get there? How healthy are older Aboriginal people? 
  • What are the causes - across the Life Cycle - of premature heart, lung and vascular diseases etc? How common are they in older Aboriginal people? Can they lead to memory loss or dementia in later life? 
  • What factors across the Life Cycle affect our minds and our memory? Do schooling, education and parenting affect our minds in later life? How common is dementia in Aboriginal people?
    What will the Study do for the local community? 
  • We hope to find the things we can prevent or avoid - across the whole Life Cycle - that affect health in mid-life and lead to memory loss in later life. 
  • We will help the local community to find the best ways of looking after older people with memory loss or dementia. 
  • We will employ local Aboriginal Researchers to be trained in the Project team who will work with the local community. 
  • We will make sure that our work will be guided by you in the communities. 
  • We will report our results back to the community, leave skills on the ground, and increase local knowledge about research and services.