Speed dating for a healthy future

Calvary’s Senior Medical Advisor for Aged Care calls it a “speed dating platform for research”.

Former Governor General and StepUp for Research Ambassador Dame Quentin Bryce says it will enable the voices of older people, families and communities to be heard and to be included.

The University of Sydney has launched its new StepUp for Ageing Research online platform, which aims to connect researchers investigating aspects of ageing with Australians wanting to contribute.

Already an organisational champion for its sister-program StepUp for Dementia Research, Calvary was keen to support vital research into ageing, said Dr Tony Hobbs, who spoke at the launch.

“It presents an opportunity to investigate conditions such as dementia, cancer, heart and metabolic diseases and many others, and to better understand how we can achieve healthy ageing for our population.

“So many of Calvary’s patients, clients and residents are older Australians, and with hospital, residential aged care, retirement living and community care services right across the country, it is important for us too to step up and be involved,” said Dr Hobbs, who spoke at the launch said.

“And you don’t have to be ‘old’ to be involved – I encourage everyone to register or at least find out more about how they can make an important contribution.

“This is a chance to shape the future of what healthy ageing looks like in Australia.”

The goal of StepUp for Ageing Research is to make it easier for people of any age to find out about and take part in ageing-related research. This can include the health and wellbeing of older people, positive ageing, frailty, aged care and support services, rehabilitation and policy and societal issues.

Anyone aged 18 and over can register their interest. Based on volunteers’ characteristics such as age, location and diagnosis, they will be matched to any studies for which they may be eligible, and volunteers can connect with research projects that interest them.

Professor Yun-Hee Jeon, Director of StepUp for Ageing Research, said that by 2060, around one-fifth of Australia’s population will be aged 65 or over.

“For Australia to cater to this shift we need better services, better treatments and the facilities and infrastructure to support people to age well – especially for the majority of Australians who would like to stay in their homes,” she said.

StepUp for Ageing Research builds on the successful launched in 2019. The service has enlisted close to 1700 volunteers, 26 universities and institutes, 220 researchers and successfully connected participants into more than 50 completed research projects, with another 50 studies currently recruiting through the service.

Find out more about StepUp for Ageing Research here, or StepUp for Dementia Research here.