Aboriginal ageing


Researching how Australian Aboriginal people age


“Healthy ageing is your mind staying young”. Many Australians would agree with this statement by an older Aboriginal participant in the Koori Growing Old Well Study (KGOWS). With increasing lifespan, healthy ageing is becoming synonymous with healthy brain ageing and dementia prevention is being recognized as a national and global priority.

There are growing numbers of older Aboriginal Australians, but recent research at NeuRA has found that dementia prevalence in three times higher in Aboriginal peoples compared to estimates for the general Australian population. This disparity in dementia rates is a consistent finding across remote, regional and urban communities.

Aboriginal Elders play vital roles in their communities and further research is required to understand the causes of these higher rates of dementia, reduce the burden of dementia and improve health and longevity for Aboriginal Australians, as they grow older.

Current research projects at NeuRA include: (i) a longitudinal study to investigate the major causes and risk factors for dementia in this population (KGOWS-II) and (ii) a mixed methods project to examine Aboriginal perspectives on healthy brain ageing and develop/evaluate novel, culturally appropriate programs to prevent cognitive decline (Koori Active & Healthy Ageing Project). NeuRA also has an ongoing commitment to translate research into practice with Aboriginal communities through the Koori Dementia Care Project.


The Koori Dementia Care Project

The Koori Dementia Care Project (KDCP) aims to inform, educate and build capacity in urban and regional NSW Aboriginal communities, and with associated service providers, about the effects of dementia on older Aboriginal people and their families.

Falls, ageing and dementia in Indigenous Australians

We aim to identify determinants for the high prevalence of dementia in Indigenous Australians, and will now extend these findings by exploring determinants for the high prevalence of falls.

Innovative approaches to prevent falls in older people

Physical exercise training has been the primary focus of single interventions trials to reduce falls and advance healthy ageing. However, high attrition rates suggest that current approaches are not sufficient to guarantee long-term adherence to exercise in the majority of older adults.

Neuropathology of frontotemporal dementia

Unlike other neurodegenerative conditions, people with FTD may have one of a number different underlying cellular brain changes. Patients followed longitudinally in life are enrolled into the brain bank so that we can gain insights into the pathological processes in FTD.

Ageing and dementia in Aboriginal Australians

The project examines how to implement evidence based healthy brain ageing (dementia prevention) programs in urban and regional Aboriginal communities.

What else is happening in Aboriginal ageing research at NeuRA?