Growing old in rural and remote Australia
The Australian Journal of Rural Health has published a special issue focusing on older persons’ health in rural, regional and remote Australia.
Jointly edited by Dr Evelien Spelten (La Trobe University) and Professor Oliver Burmeister (Charles Sturt University), the issue draws together 13 research papers that show ageing is not just about institutionalised care, illness and death.
“We have a rapidly ageing population, that is also wealthier, better educated, better housed, and contributes more to both paid and volunteer work,” the report editorial stated.
They point out that “with this growing ageing population, the challenge for our rural health care system is to relate to this population and to align our system of health care with their needs”.
They note that this may need to “... be more diverse and not fitted to a ‘one size fits all seniors’ approach.”
The 13 articles in this special issue of the Journal together advocate for rural health issues, address health research and policy, examine Indigenous and multicultural issues in rural communities, palliative care, and more.
Professor Russell Roberts emphasised the importance of the broad scope of articles which are presented in this issue.
“This issue presents the latest research on a vast variety of topics such as the extent of elder abuse, treating anxiety and depression in older adults, the ageing farming workforce, increasing social participation and examples of successful program initiatives so that older people in the bush get the same level of access to mental health services as those living in the capital cities.”
In addition to challenging widely held misconceptions about growing old, this issue highlights the importance of involving seniors in the research and in the shaping of health care solutions that affect them. This fits closely with the increasing trend to engage with service users to tailor appropriate solutions.
Do you live in a rural or remote area of Australia? What challenges do you face ageing in these areas? Do you think there are benefits? Do the benefits outweigh the challenges?