Translational research coordinator (PT)
Sharon is a Registered General and Geriatric Nurse, has a Diploma of Nursing Education, a Diploma of Counselling, a Degree in Health Sciences and a Masters of Public Health and is a level two Executive Coach.
She has a history of over 40 years working in the area of ageing at the interface of education and training, clinical practice and research. She has over this time, developed special interests in caring for those living with dementia as well end of life issues and end of life decision making for older people and is published in these areas.
She has authored several books, book chapters and educational resources particularly focusing on dementia and other challenges and inequities of ageing.
Sharon has worked as part of the Aboriginal Health and Ageing team at NeuRA for a decade at the interface of translating research undertaken into practical resources and outcomes for Aboriginal communities. She is currently the Translation Research coordinator working across all Aboriginal Health and Ageing projects.
The Caring for Spirit project is focused on providing a centralised online source of evidence-based resources and information that are culturally appropriate and appealing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The team is translating the results of current research into culturally relevant and accessible information, education and training for people living with dementia, their families and carers, as well as for Aboriginal Health Workers.
We have engaged the services of Aboriginal staff, consultants, and graphic and website designers to achieve the appropriate look and feel. Community engagement and approval is essential and we are working with our Aboriginal community partners across NSW, as well as through our diverse networks to ensure national impact. Advice and feedback from these partners will be used to refine the resources. Growing old well is something we all want for our communities, but we also know that many things happen in our lives that could influence this process. A diagnosis of dementia can have an influence on our mind, body and spirit. This project is focused on translating the results of current research to keep our mind, body and spirit well, through education and training. This is important for people living with dementia, their families and carers, as well as for Aboriginal Health Workers. It is anticipated that these resources will contribute to enhancing the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their carers who are living with dementia, and contribute to alleviating the high burden of dementia in this population.
“Healthy ageing is your mind staying young” – Koori Growing Old Well Study participant
Healthy Ageing calls for cognitively, physically and socially active lifestyles. The current project seeks to recognise existing community strengths but work to enhance participation and engagement, provide new resources specific to healthy ageing and develop an accessible platform for rolling out this intervention to diverse older people and communities, enabling widespread benefit. We will trial a cutting-edge approach to advance healthy ageing with implications for many Australians to benefit, particularly older Aboriginal people.
The project examines how to implement evidence based healthy ageing programs in urban and regional Aboriginal communities. Elders play a vital role in Indigenous communities, providing leadership, caring for family, and transmitting cultural knowledge and practices. However, the health, well-being and quality of life of the increasing numbers of older Indigenous people, are threatened by high rates of dementia, falls and depression. Novel culturally-safe approaches are needed to better engage and support Indigenous peoples in terms of healthy ageing. This research will develop and evaluate effective, culturally appropriate, and accessible strategies to promote healthy ageing in Aboriginal communities. It will also investigate whether and how resilience related to social and cultural cohesion can protect well-being in Indigenous communities.
The project, Sharing the Wisdom of Our Elders, comes in response to research highlighting the limited awareness of ageing and dementia across Aboriginal communities and requests from partnering communities (as part of the Koori Growing Old Well Study) for a strengths-focused and Aboriginal specific teaching resource to increase community knowledge of dementia prevention. This project acknowledges the central role that Elders have in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Communities, and the role that art has in representing their stories and traditions.
This project is funded by The Lowitja Institute (2018-2019), and focuses on the theme of Strong Elders and responds to the question: “what is good and healthy ageing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?” In the Koori Growing Old Well Study, participants were asked to described what they have learnt, throughout their lifetime and diverse experiences, is important for growing old well. This project will represent the responses of Elders in artwork and stories.
GAIL DAYLIGHT Aboriginal Dementia Education Officer (PT)
SANDRA FORSTER Admin Officer (PT)