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29th April 2021 Latest News Dementia

New grants aimed at preventing and managing dementia in older Australians

A blonde woman sitting at a desk

Did you know the food you eat, how physically active you are and how much sleep you get all play a role in your risk of getting dementia?

In fact, 40 per cent of all dementias are due to these lifestyle factors.
Ground-breaking new research being supported by The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group will look at how these daily activities interact with each other and influence dementia risk, in order to inform older people how to live their best life.

Reducing the risk of developing dementia

With THRF Group’s funding, Dr Ashleigh Smith from the University of South Australia is co-developing a tool which will be used by older adults and their clinicians to improve their lifestyles and reduce their risk of developing dementia.

“Some people may not know that what you eat and how much time you spend each day sleeping, sitting and being physically active can increase or decrease your future dementia risk,” Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith is one of two researchers receiving life-changing grants in the fight against dementia from THRF Group.

“Your diet and your time-use during the day interact with each other and we need a more holistic approach to how our lifestyle choices work together to influence cognition and dementia risk.

“Previously these factors have been considered independently, but they are not independent. We’re so grateful for this funding from THRF Group which will help us translate this research into a user-friendly tool which will empower older people with the information they need to support behaviour change and protect against dementia.”


Managing dementia

Associate Professor Kate Laver from Flinders University is working to help people newly diagnosed with dementia ‘take charge’ of their condition.

“People with dementia have reported that there is a need to maintain hope in the absence of a cure, and evidence-based interventions are equally as important in the first few weeks and months following diagnosis as it is in the longer-term,” A/Prof Laver said.

“This funding will allow us to tailor an existing ‘take charge’ program for people with dementia.”

Paul Flynn, THRF Group CEO, said more research was desperately needed in the fight against dementia.

“Sadly, most people have seen the debilitating affects of dementia on a loved one,” Paul said.

“Together with our researchers and with the support of our donor and lottery community, we are committed to helping older Australians fight off this debilitating condition and live their best life pre- and post-diagnosis.”