New tool lets seniors stay ahead of trouble
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.
IN TOUCH: The Positive Ageing Tool helps older Australians to self-screen their physical resilience.