What are we doing about high rates of dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations?

Rates of dementia in Indigenous Australians are 3–5 times higher than the general Australian population and onset of dementia starts earlier. However, the major causes and risk factors for dementia in Indigenous Australians are not yet known. Understanding the causes and risk factors of dementia in Indigenous Australians is essential for developing targeted, effective dementia prevention strategies.

On February 28 and March 1, 2019, NeuRA will host the ‘Growing Old Well Gathering’ to translate research findings for Aboriginal healthcare workers, community partners and community Elders. Presentations will include best practice advice for dementia assessment, discussion of what healthy ageing looks like, and strategies for preventing the early onset of dementia.

The Aboriginal Health and Ageing Team at NeuRA has extensive engagement with urban and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations across NSW. The Koori Growing Old Well Study (KGOWS) completed in 2018, partnered with a number of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations across NSW (Campbelltown, La Perouse, Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Heads, and Kempsey) to explore dementia and the role of life course social determinants in these communities and to translate findings to promote healthy ageing.

 “Close community engagement is the cornerstone of our research. The Gathering is an important opportunity for researchers, health professionals, service providers and community members to come together to exchange ideas on how to support the increasing numbers of older people in these communities to age well,” says Dr Kylie Radford, Aboriginal Health & Ageing Program Leader.

Ageing well should be a high priority for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This Gathering is a step in the right direction to understanding the services on offer to Aboriginal communities and how we can better them,” says Mrs Lauren Poulos, a Biripi woman and Project Coordinator with the team.

Keynote speakers at the Gathering include Professor Gail Garvey, a prominent Aboriginal health researcher from the Menzies School of Health Research, and Professor Tony Broe, a leading Geriatrician and Neuroscientist at NeuRA who will discuss Aboriginal ageing and dementia in more detail. There will also be a panel discussion from industry experts on topics such as dementia, depression and mental health, falls and exercise, and medications.


WHEN: 12.30pm, February 28 to 1pm, March 1

Smoking Ceremony will begin at 12.15pm on February 28

WHERE: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), Margarete Ainsworth Building, 139 Barker St, Randwick NSW 2031

For media enquiries:
Dr Kylie Radford m: 0402 300 852 e: k.radford@neura.edu.au

Ellice Mol m: 02 9399 1037 media@neura.edu.au