Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2014 Contents L-R: Lyn Clarke takes part in Work it Out; Adrian Jones
participates in the exercise program; Exercise physiologist
Dr Tim Adair,
make people aware of some
of the challenges," says Dr
Tim Adair, a demographer and
director of PAC.
"One focus of our research
is mature age employment,"
Adair says of PAC's research
agenda. "We have also conducted
research on age discrimination
in the employment market; we
released a report on that topic
earlier in 2013."
Adair says the research
didn't simply consider paid
employment; it also looked at volunteer
work, community participation and
caregiving. "We plan on releasing a report
on the interaction between caregiving and
labour force participation in the coming
months," he adds.
As well as producing its own
research, PAC also collaborates with
university researchers across Australia
through its annual grants program.
Each year, two research projects
on an ageing theme are funded in a
Beyond producing or
facilitating this growing body
of research, a key part of PAC's
mandate is also ensuring the
findings and their implications
are made available to older
people, policy makers and the
The reports are disseminated
through NSA's 200,000
members, as well as through a
series of public events across
Australia, Adair says.
Furthermore, the PAC holds
an annual public forum on a key issue
affecting older people. The most recent
focussed on education and lifelong
learning and included a range of expert
speakers and showcased educational tools.
"We also do an annual survey amongst
our members which covers a range of
themes," says Adair, adding that over a
number of years the survey will track the
financial, health and social wellbeing of
the participants. n
For more information, go to
What began as an exercise
and health awareness
program at the
ATSICHS health service
at Woolloongabba in
Brisbane has sprawled out to seven other
sites across south east Queensland.
The Work it Out program, operated
by the Institute for Urban Indigenous
Health (IUIH), is a self-management and
chronic disease rehabilitation program for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island clients.
Samara Dargan, exercise physiologist
and manger of the program, says it
began when staff at the Woolloongabba
medical service identified a need
for their clients to better manage
their health through help from allied
health professionals. It was trialled in
November 2011 and has been running in
earnest since January 2012.
Through the program, which
combines an education or "yarning"
component and an exercise regime,
clients have access to an exercise
physiologist, occupational therapist and
Clients are referred by their doctor
and either have a chronic health
condition or at risk of developing one.
A typical session begins with the
education session, which covers a variety
of topics such as self-management of
chronic conditions, medications and
effective ways to get good sleep.
"It's very interactive, we all sit in a
circle and go through some techniques
or tools the clients have found helpful in
the past," says Dargan.
This is followed by the exercise
program, which typically runs for an hour.
Clients attend two sessions each
week and the program runs over a 12-
week cycle. At the end of the 12 weeks,
the client does a "review assessment"
where the detail captured in an initial
assessment is reviewed for positive or
negative changes. The client has a week
off, and then returns for another 12-
Dargan estimates that up to 150
clients are currently taking part in the
program, which is running at medical
services in Woodridge, Logan, the
Gold Coast, Capalaba, Morayfield and
Strathpine. The IUIH is also about to
launch the program on Stradbroke Island.
When asked about the impact of the
program on clients, Dargan says they
are seeing increased energy levels,
better balance, weight loss and stronger
She says clients have an overall
greater sense of wellbeing. Many have
improved their diet, by buying and
cooking healthier food, while others have
reduced their tobacco and alcohol intake.
The program has "put a new spin on
life" for many of the clients, Dargan says.
Just as importantly, Dargan says
the program has an important social
inclusion aspect. "It has created a
continuity of culture. It's us staying
together, keeping together. Through the
exercise and yarning, we're connecting
with the elders again, connecting
with our stories again and connecting
with the community and making that
stronger," she says. n
For more information, go to
A new spin on life
PAC hosts a range of research forums.
www.australianageingagenda.com.au | 49
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