UnitingCare Ageing NSW.ACT has secured a partnership role in the most comprehensive study on healthy ageing in the southern hemisphere ever.

The 45 and Up Study is monitoring 250,000 people aged 45 and over across NSW over a number of decades.

In that time it will track participants’ focusing on key areas such as physical activity, stress levels, social support and employment status.

UnitingCare Ageing is the only aged care service involved in the study and it will use the results to assist with the development of future services.

“It’s the largest sample that this country has ever known in terms of an evidence base for ageing,” said the organisation’s Director, Gillian McFee.

“We expect it will flag trends and give us a chance to follow up on those trends and tease out a little bit more about them.

Ms McFee said the organisation’s involvement in significant research projects was part of its role as a major service provider.

“We would regard this as being part of our social justice commitment because I think we do have a contribution to make in this area,” she said.

“We have an obligation to expand the research and evidence base around ageing and we also have an obligation to share that information across the community so that we have better informed public policy and improved service delivery.”

Study partners include Beyond Blue, the NSW Cancer Council, the NSW Premier’s Department and the National Heart Foundation.

Ms Mc Fee said UnitingCare Ageing hopes to build on the relationships formed through the project.

“The main supporting partners provide a very valuable networking opportunity around the concept of healthy ageing,” she said.

“Already in the meetings we have been able to talk about opportunities for collaboration.”

It is also hoped that the study will help shape the organisation’s future employment and recruitment practices.

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