Oct 20, 2022

$25 million boost for dementia, ageing and aged care research

$25 million boost for dementia, ageing and aged care research

Dementia, ageing and aged care research has received a welcomed $25 million boost after the Government announced its latest round of Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grants. 

The latest round of Federal grants, announced yesterday, are spread amongst 18 research projects from leading institutions such as the University of Queensland, Monash University and the University of Melbourne.

To see the full list of research grants, head to the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Projects receiving additional funds will focus on a variety of fields, including research into a new model of home care that aims to reduce the symptoms of depression amongst older Australians and the development of a new Quality Measurement Toolbox detailing what high-quality aged care looks like and how to deliver it.

Dementia research was one of the fields to benefit the most with several projects to be put in practice to evaluate the real-world benefits of the research.

Associate Professor Michele Callisaya, of the Peninsula Clinical School at Monash University and Peninsula Health, said their $1 million grant will kickstart trials for their dementia research project, The right to rehabilitation for people with dementia: tackling stigma and implementing evidence-based interventions.

“It is really exciting to receive this funding,” Associate Professor Callisaya said.

“The project aims to tackle stigma and lack of knowledge around evidence-based allied health interventions that can improve independence for people living with dementia.

“Our multi-disciplinary investigator team has led the way in showing that rehabilitation interventions are effective in improving independence and quality of life for people with dementia.” 

Associate Professor Callisaya explained her team now has the opportunity to ensure that dementia support can be delivered directly to the people who need it.

The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) has also benefited from a combined $3.5 million for two projects, including the No More Shame project, which aims to remove stigmas and improve the recognition of, and response to, elder abuse by health providers.

Professor Bianca Brijnath, Director of Social Gerontology at NARI, said this is a chance to directly improve the quality of life for elder abuse victims.

“Health providers play a vital role in helping elder abuse victims realise that they have nothing to be ashamed of, and to create a safe environment for reporting and response. 

“This project will help to change the rhetoric around elder abuse, both in health care settings and in our society at large.”

The additional funding has been warmly received across the industry with Tom Symondson, Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), pleased to see timely Government investment into healthy ageing.

“Australians are living longer and well beyond their retirement years and research to support innovation and understanding of how we can improve the lives of older people is crucial,” Mr Symondson said.

“Research to better understand dementia is critical as it will improve the lives of those older people who will need support either at home or in residential care at some time in their lives.”

Anika Wells, Minister for Aged Care, said the funding will has the potential to make a lasting impact on the aged care industry.

“We need to have ambition for aged care and research is critical to advancing the sector,” Minister Wells said.

“These research projects have the potential to provide real, on-the-ground, benefits to our older Australians, and usher in a new era of aged care.

“It is crucial our best and brightest minds are helping advance the tools the aged care industry can use to provide better environments and resources for older Australians.”

A further $24 million worth of funding is expected to be awarded to the Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission from December, prioritising projects focused on dementia testing and supports, and healthy ageing for both Indigenous Australians and regional or remote populations.

Launched in 2020 and running until 2029, the Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission is an ongoing research program committing $185 million into healthy ageing and enhancing the independence of older people. It is a part of the MRFF which was first set up by the Government in 2015. 

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