5 Key priorities in Aged Care, according to a Geriatrician

Geriatrician Professor Susan Kurrle is Curran Professor in Health Care of Older People at the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney.

Professor Kurrle is a practicing geriatrician for the Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD), specialising in the areas of dementia, frailty, elder abuse, successful ageing, and intergenerational care.

In this Re Aged Care segment, Professor Kurrle talks about the 5 key priorities in aged care reform, from the point of few of a geriatrician, especially those that are living with dementia.

In no particular order of importance, here are the 5 Key priorities in Aged Care reform, according to a Geriatrician:

1. Care settings

The group home model of care for people with dementia involves providing a small, home-like environment for individuals with dementia to live in. This model of care typically involves a residential facility that houses a small number of residents who have dementia or other memory-related conditions.

The goal of a group home is to provide a safe and secure environment where individuals with dementia can receive the care and support they need while still maintaining a sense of independence and dignity. The staff at a group home typically receive specialised training in caring for individuals with dementia, and they work to create a supportive and engaging environment that promotes residents’ social, emotional, and physical well-being.

2. Intergenerational Practice 

Intergenerational practice is a model of care that brings together children and older Australians, to participate in activities and programs such as storytelling, music, arts and crafts, games, or physical exercise together in a shared setting. The goal of intergenerational care is to foster connections and relationships between different age groups while providing mutual benefits for all involved. For the elderly, intergenerational care can provide opportunities for socialisation and companionship, which can help combat loneliness and isolation.

3. Successful Ageing

Successful aging is a multidimensional concept that refers to the ability of individuals to maintain physical and cognitive functioning, social engagement, and overall well-being as they age. Successful aging is not just about living a long life, but also about living a fulfilling life.

Some of the key components of successful ageing include physical health, cognitive function, social engagement, emotional well-being and purpose.

4. Combatting Ageism

Ageism is a form of discrimination and prejudice based on a person’s age, particularly towards older adults. Ageism can take  many forms, such as stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, and can be subtle or overt. Some common examples of ageism include assuming that older adults are not capable of certain tasks, assuming that they are less competent or less productive than younger individuals, or making negative comments or jokes about older adults. Ageism can also manifest in policies and practices that disadvantage older adults, such as age limits for employment or access to healthcare.

Ageism can have negative consequences for older adults, including reduced access to opportunities and resources, social isolation, and negative impacts on physical and mental health. It is important to recognise and challenge ageism in all its forms, and to promote respect and dignity, especially towards the elderly.

5. Dental and Oral Health

Oral and dental health is important for everyone, but it is particularly important for the elderly population. As people age, they may face a range of dental and oral health issues that can have significant impacts on their overall health and well-being. Some reasons why oral and dental health is important for the elderly includes, maintaining good nutrition, preventing systemic health problems, preventing tooth loss, preventing oral cancer and even maintaining social connections.

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