New tool lets se­niors stay ahead of trou­ble

Central and North Burnett Times - - OLDER & WISER -

LEAD­ING Vic­to­rian not-for­profit aged care provider Bene­tas has launched an on­line re­source for older Aus­tralians to self-screen their phys­i­cal re­silience and take the steps they need to stay in­de­pen­dent for longer.

The Pos­i­tive Age­ing Tool, com­monly re­ferred to as PAT, has been de­vel­oped on the back of gov­ern­ment-funded re­search that Bene­tas un­der­took in 2018 in con­junc­tion with Monash Univer­sity. Older Aus­tralians will be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to de­tect and ad­dress early signs of frailty be­fore a se­ri­ous health de­cline oc­curs.

Dr Cather­ine Joyce, Bene­tas’s gen­eral man­ager of qual­ity, out­comes and re­search, said one in two Aus­tralians over the age of 60 who live in their own home are at risk of a rel­a­tively mi­nor health is­sue trig­ger­ing se­ri­ous de­cline.

“Once that hap­pens, for many there’s no go­ing back. 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,” she said.

“This is about get­ting in early and help­ing to avoid ex­actly that.”

With five sim­ple ques­tions, PAT of­fers older Aus­tralians an ev­i­dence-based, user-de­signed health as­sess­ment for peo­ple as early as 60 to mon­i­tor their phys­i­cal re­silience. It cou­ples this with ex­pert re­sources to sup­port peo­ple to con­tinue to lead a life they love.

“We rec­om­mend that peo­ple com­plete the quick as­sess­ment ev­ery six months,” Dr Joyce said. “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.”

Bene­tas CEO San­dra Hills said health pro­mo­tion and early in­ter­ven­tion were where aged care needed to be headed.

“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,” she said.

“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 and tak­ing proac­tive steps and not wait un­til it’s too late.”

Go to www.bene­tas.com.au/ pat to use Bene­tas’s Pos­i­tive Age­ing Tool.

Pic­ture: iStock

IN TOUCH: The Pos­i­tive Age­ing Tool helps older Aus­tralians to self-screen their phys­i­cal re­silience.

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