Sharing the Wisdom of Our Elders is an outcome of a longitudinal cohort study which aims to identify risk and protective factors for dementia and other age-related chronic conditions, as well as promote ageing well with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (respectfully referred to hereafter as Aboriginal) from urban and regional communities.
The project highlights five overarching and intersecting themes of primary importance to elders for growing old well: culture, sacred grounds, spirituality, dreamtime, and sharing the wisdom of our elders. Underlying ‘growing old well’ themes were also identified and included widely recognised as well as more culturally specific ways to reduce dementia risk and age well.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are living longer but with population ageing, dementia is an emerging health issue.
- Healthy ageing programs and aged care services available to Elders are often Aboriginal-specific, in line with community preferences, and these service providers are generally working hard to meet the cultural, health and wellbeing needs of Elders through a holistic and flexible approach to service delivery.
- The main gaps and challenges identified by service providers include need for greater education for families regarding ageing and dementia and support to access the aged care system. There also is a needed trauma-informed and healing-centred approaches to aged care services.