New resource helps older people maintain their independence

Font Size:

A much-needed online resource has been created, giving older Australians a better chance of remaining independent into their later years and staying at home for as long as possible.

The Positive Ageing Tool (PAT), from not-for-profit aged care provider Benetas, helps older people self-screen their physical resilience, enabling them to plan and take the necessary steps to stay independent for longer.

The tool will put older Australians in a far better position to detect and address early signs of frailty or other minor health issues before a serious health decline.

“Once that happens, for many there’s no going back,” said Dr Catherine Joyce, Benetas’ general manager of quality, outcomes and research. “If someone has low physical resilience, a small incident like a fall or virus could be the tipping point that means they’ll no longer be able to live independently in the community.

“We all know someone who has been managing fine, and then an incident which might be minor for other people tips them over into being in need of high care and residential support. This is about getting in early and helping to avoid exactly that.”

The tool was two years in the making and was a joint project between Benetas and Monash University, funded with the assistance of a $1.2 million federal government department of health grant.

Users are asked to answer five questions to receive a simple health assessment that will help them monitor their physical resilience and ability and, when coupled with expert resources, will support people to continue to lead an independent life. Dr Joyce recommends people over 60 complete the simple assessment every six months.

“They seem like simple questions to answer, but collectively, they’re proven to be strong early indicators for risk of serious health decline. Importantly, there are many steps that we can take to stay healthy and resilient whether we’re 60 or going on 90,” she said.

The tool is part of a larger push to pre-empt minor health issues in older people that, left unchecked or undiagnosed, could quickly devolve into major problems.

“The traditional aged care services from residential care, home care, clinical and allied health services, are all incredibly important, but if we’re going to meet an ageing population, we really need to be at the forefront of early intervention,” said Benetas chief Sandra Hills.

“This is about ensuring that people and their families have the information they need well in advance of their health declining. Whether you’re 65 and going for runs, or 75 and facing prescription changes, we need people to be monitoring their health, taking proactive steps and not waiting until it’s too late.

“PAT is about providing people over the age of 60 with the tools they need to build strength and capacity regardless of age.”

Would you try PAT? Or do you have all the help you need to stay independent well into your later years?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.


Older Australians say aged care is a dirty word

Older Australians would rather rely on themselves than aged care.

Survey reveals surprising retirement trend

Survey reveals that more older Australians are choosing to live in retirement villages.

Friday Flash Poll: Help us solve the aged care mystery

Take part in our Friday Flash Poll and help us solve the aged care mystery.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading

Finance News

How much you can save on electricity in your home state

As we prepare to head into the colder winter months, there is good news for those worried about heating costs...


What is thrombocytopenia, and why did it stop the AstraZeneca jab?

Anthony Zulli, Victoria University; Maja Husaric, Victoria University; Maximilian de Courten, Victoria University, and Vasso Apostolopoulos, Victoria University Australia's medical...


Ways to manage death anxiety

Winston Churchill once said: "Any man who says he is not afraid of death is a liar." But while it's...

Food and Recipes

Rick Stein's Autumn Vegie Soup

"One of the rather pathetic realities of the fact that so many of the restaurants in France are disappointing these...


Australians give big thumbs down to the public service

Only 27 per cent of Australians believe the public service acts in the public interest and only 22 per cent...

Brain health

Normal tension glaucoma linked to cognitive impairment

Australian researchers say they have established a link between the eye condition glaucoma and cognitive impairment, the state that often...


Old wives' tales put to the test

Alice Shaw-Beckett, from cleaning company Cleanipedia, dissects 13 old wives' tales related to cleaning and pest control to discover whether...

Travel & Motoring

Consider this when deciding on a roadside assist deal

A reader raised an interesting point that I hadn’t considered before. When she bought her new car, it included -...