Research focus and projects
Mental and cognitive health
A particular focus of our research is mental and cognitive health. Older people commonly experience distressing mental health and cognitive problems, including depression, anxiety and dementia. Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in Australians over 65 years of age.
At an epidemiological level, we investigate the modifiable lifestyle factors that influence dementia, and how these factors are impacted by the environment in which we live. At the person level, we develop practical, individually-tailored, evidence-based interventions with the goal of promoting independence and enhancing quality of life. The impact of the wellbeing of the older person on carers and family members is another key element of our research.
The projections for aged care, in both community and residential care, suggest that considerable change will occur in the coming decades. People in residential care are older than ever before and they require different levels and demand different standards of care.
Our research is highly translational and covers the key areas of dementia (particularly behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia - BPSD), depression in people transitioning to aged care, consumer directed care, caregiver wellbeing, and organisational change in residential care. The challenge is to embed research into the planning and delivery of aged care. At HARG, we have strong partnerships with aged care providers who share our vision for improving the lives of older people.