Two Aboriginal women smiling

Indigenous people on Mid North Coast to receive better aged care support

For the first time, a dedicated geriatrician will be available for Indigenous populations on the Mid North Coast in New South Wales, a recommendation that followed research in NeuRA’s Koori Growing Old Well Study.

Professor Tony Broe, a Senior Principal Research Fellow at NeuRA (Neuroscience Research Australia), conducted the research between 2009 and 2012 in urban and regional Indigenous communities in Kempsey, Nambucca and Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast, as well as La Perouse and Campbelltown in the Sydney area. Preliminary results show that dementia is more common in urban and regional Indigenous Australians than in non-Indigenous Australians.

Tony and Colleen

The momentum generated by this study and the information gathered is now being used to develop services on the Mid North Coast and La Perouse for older Indigenous people with dementia, and their families.

These services include the Koori Dementia Care Project (2001-2012), funded by Ageing Disability and Home Care, to provide better health care and ageing support to urban and regional Indigenous populations, and visiting aged health care services, which will be delivered by geriatricians from Prince of Wales Hospital and is funded by NSW Health Connecting Care.

On March 12 and 13, Prof Broe will be chairing sessions on the Mid North Coast between Elders, health service providers and the new geriatricians.

“This is an exciting precedent initiative that heralds wonderful things for our ageing Aboriginal community,” says Prof Broe. “It is important that major gaps revealed by research in Aboriginal health are followed as rapidly as possible by health service provision for the participating Aboriginal communities.”

On Tuesday March 12, Prof Broe and his team will visit The Booroongen Djugun Aged Care Facility in Greenhills, the Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service and Dungutti Elders Council Aboriginal Corporation in Kempsey, and Darrimba Maara Aboriginal Health Clinic in Nambucca.

On Wednesday March 13, they will meet with Elders and health service providers at the Galambila Aboriginal Health Service in Coffs Harbour.

If you would like more information, would like high resolution images or would like to interview Professor Tony Broe, contact Jacqui Hayes at the NeuRA Media Office on +61 406 599 569.

Background on the initiative:

The NHMRC funded Koori Growing Old Well Study was the first study of how Indigenous people grow old in regional centres and towns – most Indigenous Australians are urban or regional, with only approximately 30% living in remote areas.

The study was conducted between 2009 and 2012, with data collection finishing in October 2012.

Preliminary results from the Koori Growing Old Well Study confirm earlier studies on remote Aboriginal populations in the Kimberly, in Western Australia, that showed the rate of dementia in Indigenous Australians is much higher than the rate in non-Indigenous Australians.

The study focussed on health, ageing and dementia in five communities: La Perouse, Campbelltown, Kempsey, Nambucca and Coffs Harbour.