Almost all individuals look forward to living active, healthy and socially-connected lives as they age. The is, however, that many older Australians age in isolation. Faced with this problem, researchers from the University of Newcastle developed a wellbeing programme to improve health outcomes for older people living in retirement communities.
Entitled the Live Well, Age Well programme, the Cromwell Property Group Foundation (Foundation) provided the initiative with $50,580 in FY18. The initial 12-month programme aimed to gather data and develop evidence-based initiatives, with the overarching goal to enable people to maintain their functional wellbeing and independence as long as possible, to build and maintain social relationships, and to support the activities they value.
Philanthropy in action helping older Australians
Support from the Foundation enabled the University of Newcastle research team to partner with retirement communities to:
- Fund vital equipment, project leaders and support staff;
- Develop programme materials and training videos;
- Involve residents as co-designers to test and finalise the materials; and
- Extend the program to more retirement communities across Australia.
The power to age well
The Live Well, Age Well programme is led by Professor Julie Byles PhD and Dr Catherine Chojenta PhD from the Priority Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing at the University of Newcastle.
Research by Professor Byles and Dr Chojenta recognises that while most people experience a rate of functional decline as we age, other factors like loneliness, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are making us feel older, earlier.
Developed in partnership with retirement communities, the Live Well, Age Well programme offers strategies and practical materials that residents can use to create their own wellbeing programmes backed by evidence-based research. It puts the power to age well back in the hands of residents by encouraging them to adapt the program based on their unique priority needs, community strengths and local resources.
Reaching more older Australians
The over 65-year-old age group is Australia’s fastest growing population segment. The support the Foundation provided the Live Well, Age Well programme has unlocked the potential to reach more older Australians by enabling the research team to test their model, gather crucial data and work towards future partnerships.
The overarching goal is to roll out the Live Well, Age Well programme to thousands of older Australians at risk of ageing in isolation in independent living retirement villages across Australia.
Community self-support for healthy ageing
Live Well, Age Well encourages residents to take up different activities and share their own skills around cooking, music, crafts and social activities supported by programme facilitators. The programme package includes a manual with instructions regarding establishment of a wellbeing programme, with print materials and training videos as practical resources.
Dr Chojenta expressed her gratitude towards the Foundation, stating, “Thank you to the Cromwell Property Group Foundation for making the health and wellbeing of older Australians a priority. Your support will help us reach thousands more people at risk of ageing in isolation.”
If you would like to make a difference to the lives of mature-aged Australians, you can donate to the Cromwell Property Group Foundation. Donations of more than $2 are tax deductible. To donate, request a grant or seek more information, visit www.cromwellfoundation.org.au