Postdoctoral Fellow, NeuRA
NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow.
Conjoint Lecturer, Prince of Wales Clinical School, Medicine.
UNSW Honorary Research Fellow, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney.
Morag is an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Fellow (2016-2019) undertaking a suite of studies investigating disability and fall prevention in community-dwelling older people living with dementia. She completed her PhD (part-time) in 2014, titled ‘Understanding fall risk in cognitively impaired older people’. Prior to this, Morag completed her Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy in 1999. She worked clinically for more than 15 years, predominantly at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney on the Aged Care Rehabilitation ward and in the Falls, Balance and Bone Health Clinic.
What factors influence participation and adherence to a fall prevention intervention in community-dwelling older people with dementia?
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.
: +612 9399 1124
ELIZABETH ARMSTRONG Senior Research Facility Manager
STEFANIE MIKOLAIZAK Postdoctoral Fellow
CHRISTINA NORRIS PhD student
BARBARA TOSON Bio-statistician
ASSOC PROF REBECCA MITCHELL Visiting Senior Research Scientist
LYNDELL WEBSTER Research assistant
NARELLE PAYNE Research assistant
JACQUELINE WESSON Research assistant
CECELIA KOCH Research assistant
GENEVIEVE ZELMA Research assistant
ROSLYN SAVAGE Research assistant
SANDRA O’ROURKE Research assistant
BEATRICE JOHN Research assistant
This study aimed to document change in neuropsychological, physical and functional performance over one year and to investigate the relationship between baseline gait speed and cognitive decline in this period in older people with dementia. Older people with mild to moderate dementia demonstrate significant decline in neuropsychological, physical and functional performance over one year. Baseline gait speed is associated with decline in executive function over one year, suggesting shared pathways/pathology between gait and cognition.
This trial of a tailored home-based exercise intervention presents preliminary evidence that this intervention can improve balance, concern about falls, and planned physical activity in community-dwelling older people with dementia. Future research should determine whether exercise interventions are effective in reducing falls and elucidate strategies for enhancing uptake and adherence in this population.
To explore the relationship between cognitive performance and falls in older people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment (CI) by investigating the mediational effects of medical, medication, neuropsychological, and physiological factors. Within this sample of older people with mild to moderate CI, poorer EF increased the risk of multiple falls. This relationship was mediated by reaction time and postural sway,suggesting cognitively impaired older people with poorer EF may benefit from fall prevention programs targeting these mediating factors.