Research aims to reduce falls in CALD communities

A research program that aims to prevent falls in older Australians born overseas has received more than $2 million of government funding.

A research program that aims to prevent falls in older Australians born overseas has received more than $2 million of government funding.

Associate Professor Cathy Said

“The purpose of this program of research is about reducing falls in older Australians with a particular focus on people who are from culturally and linguistically diverse communities,”  Associate Professor Cathy Said tells Australian Ageing Agenda

Associate Professor Said – who specialises in physiotherapy at Western Health and the University of Melbourne – says the health outcomes of people from CALD communities tend to be poorer.

“They often have so much more difficulty in accessing the health system than people who are English-speaking or who were born in Australia.”

Falls are a major problem for older people, says Associate Professor Said. “It’s the second leading cause of disability in Australasia in people over 75.”

Granted by the Medical Research Future Fund, the $2.3 million of funding will go towards designing and implementing a program that encourages older people from CALD communities to exercise more.

“We know there is strong evidence that you can reduce falls in older people by doing tailored exercise – exercise that includes functional training and balance training,” Associate Professor Said tells AAA.

“We also know that most older people don’t do the types of exercise that reduces falls or the amount of exercise that reduces falls,” she adds. 

Working collaboratively with a range of stakeholders – including aged care providers  who deliver community care – “the research,” says Associate Professor Said, “is trying to bridge a gap between what we know and what the evidence tells us, and what people are actually doing.”

Funded over five years, the research will adopt a staged approach, says Associate Professor Said. “The stage we’re doing at the moment is co-designing a program.”

Once designed – which will take until the end of the year – it will then be piloted. “We’ll start testing it and evaluating it which will take us through the next four years,” she says.

Associate Professor Said tells AAA the desired outcome is to develop an exercise program that people from CALD communities find acceptable and one that they can engage with. “We want to show that the program actually works and that it reduces falls in these groups.” 

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Tags: Associate Professor Cathy Said, cald, falls, university of melbourne,

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