Senior Research Scientist
Conjoint Senior Lecturer, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW
Research Fellow – Career Development Fellowship (Level 1), NHMRC
+612 9399 1066
Kim Delbaere is a Senior Research Scientist at NeuRA supported by the Australian NHMRC and a senior lecturer at UNSW, Sydney. She graduated in 2001 as a master in Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy at the Ghent University (Belgium) and completed her PhD in the area of falls in community-dwelling older people in 2005. In 2006, she moved to Australia to work at NeuRA on fear of falling in older people. She is a leading international researcher in the area of falls in older people. Her research has enhanced the understanding of interrelationships between falls and various physiological, psychological and cognitive factors. In 2011, she was awarded a prestigious NHMRC Achievement Award acknowledging her vision to find technological solutions for older adults to stay independent for longer through improved physical and mental health.
Falls and functional decline are common in people with dementia. Falls are more likely to result in injury, death and institutionalisation when compared to older people without dementia. There is limited evidence that falls can be prevented in people with dementia. Strategies aimed at maintaining independence and preventing decline and falls are urgently needed. This research will a) further our understanding of fall risk and functional decline and b) explore novel fall and decline prevention programs, including the use of technology in older people with dementia.
High rates of dementia have been observed in Aboriginal Australians. This study aimed to describe childhood stress in older Aboriginal Australians and to examine associations with late-life health and dementia. Childhood stress appears to have a significant impact on emotional health and dementia for older Aboriginal Australians. The ongoing effects of childhood stress need to be recognized as people grow older, particularly in terms of dementia prevention and care, as well as in populations with greater exposure to childhood adversity, such as Aboriginal Australians.
The MMSE is an effective cognitive screening tool in urban Aboriginal populations. The mKICA is a good alternative when illiteracy, language or cultural considerations deem it appropriate. The RUDAS also has adequate validity in this population.
Consistent with previous findings in a remote population, urban and regional Aboriginal Australians face high rates of dementia at younger ages, most commonly Alzheimer's dementia.