Aged care research round-up

Participants wanted for downsizing survey; volunteers sought for research into making a will; link between poor fitness, low IQ and early-onset dementia; and poor sleep increases pain risk in older people.


In this story:

  • Participants wanted for downsizing survey
  • Volunteers sought for research into making a will
  • Link between poor fitness, low IQ and early-onset dementia
  • Poor sleep increases pain risk in older people

Participants wanted for downsizing survey

Senior Australians are being asked to share their experiences and opinions on downsizing for a study investigating the barriers older Australians face when looking to scale down the family home.

Researchers from University of Western Australia’s Consumer Research Unit are seeking input via an online survey to discover what seniors want and what they think about new housing concepts, such as pocket communities.

The study, which is funded by a National Seniors Australia Productive Ageing Grant, will build on current and former discussions in Australia and abroad about the impediments to downsizing.

It hopes to determine why seniors interested in downsizing choose not to, whether a greater choice of options within their existing community would make a difference, and, if so, what would be needed from a legal, planning and policy perspective to make that happen, according to the study’s webpage.

Further information including a link to the online survey is available here: Research Project: Seniors downsizing on their own terms

Volunteers sought for research into making a will

People with complicated family, asset or business arrangements are wanted for a study investigating the process of making a will and how people distribute their assets.

Professor Ben White from Queensland University of Technology’s Health Law Research Centre, which is conducting the ARC-funded research, said people sometimes shied away from the topic of will-making, especially if there were complex circumstances.

He said the study aimed to determine how much people understood about distributing their assets in wills and how much they knew about how their estate was distributed if they died intestate, that is without leaving a will.

The researchers are seeking people who, for example, are part of a blended family, have an adult child with a cognitive impairment, have a mixture of asset types valued at more than $3 million, or have substantial international assets.

Prof White said they were also interested in interviewing people aged over 45 who had made a conscious decision not to make a will.

Participants will be asked to complete a face-to-face or telephone interview of to an hour.

Contact Professor White on 07 3138 4066 or or Rachel Feeney on 07 3346 9090 or to take part in the study.

Link between poor fitness, low IQ and early-onset dementia

Teenagers with poor cardiovascular fitness and a lower IQ have an increased risk of developing early-onset dementia, according to an international study published in the neurological journal Brain.

Professor Michael Nilsson, director of Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) at the University of Newcastle, collaborated with researchers at Gothenburg University’s Sahlgrenska Academy for the research.

The study of 1.1 million Swedish boys aged 18 found that those with poorer cardiovascular fitness were 2.5 times more likely to develop early-onset dementia, those with a lower IQ were four times more likely to develop the condition and those with a combination of poor fitness and low IQ were seven times more likely to develop early-onset dementia.

Professor Nilsson said the risk also remained elevated when controlled for other factors, such as heredity, medical history, and socio-economic circumstances.

He said HMRI and the University of Newcastle would further develop the partnership with the University of Gothenburg for this research, which would influence how dementia rehabilitation was conducted and could potentially impact dementia programs internationally.

Poor sleep increases pain risk in older people

Non-restorative sleep is the strongest, independent predictor of new widespread pain in those over the age of 50, according to a UK study published recently in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Researchers collected information on pain, psychological and physical health, lifestyle and demographic information from 4,326 participants over the age of 50. All participants were free of widespread pain at the start of the study with 1,562 reporting no pain and 2,764 some pain.

When followed up three years later, 19 per cent of participants reported new widespread pain. A greater proportion of participants who reported some pain at the beginning of the study (25 per cent) developed new widespread pain than those with no pain at the start (8 per cent).

In addition to poor sleep, the study found that, anxiety, memory impairment, and poor physical health among older adults may also increase the risk of developing widespread pain, according to the findings.


Tags: downsizing, early-onset-dementia, pain, qut, uwa,

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