Addressing health gaps for elderly Indigenous Australians
An increasing proportion (~15%) of all Australians are aged 65 years and older. However, while Australians are living longer, many of them experience chronic conditions.
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, ageing-related conditions are experienced at earlier ages than non- Indigenous Australians. Historical and contemporary experiences of colonialist policies and racism (direct and indirect) have contributed to this gap and have severely disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including those in urban areas.
Difficulties accessing culturally safe health and aged care compound the challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Solutions to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait people to live with autonomy and safety on Country are needed.
Assessing cultural appropriateness of technology in communities
Emerging digital technologies have been developed by health and medical research to assist older Australians to live safely and independently (where possible) in their homes or in residential aged care facilities. Such technologies offer passive remote monitoring of the activities of daily living through sensors which feed activity data to a central portal. Family members and clinicians can view details of data to identify any gradual or sudden changes in the wellbeing of the resident, prompting contact to clarify the cause of changes.
A scoping study was conducted to consider the use of Smarter Safer Homes technology and its cultural appropriateness for urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander older people in partnership with the Winnam Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation (WATSIC).
Initial results positive but more work is underway
Planning for an ongoing trial in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland is underway.