Title

Important role for Notre Dame medical academic in Council's Ageing Strategy

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 11-4-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place

Sydney

Abstract

Australia’s population is ageing, presenting new challenges for public services throughout the country. All around Australia state and local governments are working out how to respond to the needs of an older population. Offering key health advice, the University of Notre Dame Australia’s Dr Aline Smith, Senior Lecturer at the Sydney School of Medicine, was a member of the official delegation that launched the City of Canterbury Ageing Strategy for 2011-2015.

Dr Smith presented practical advice to senior Canterbury residents about the benefits of physical activity, social connections and mental health.

“As we mature in age, our minds and bodies follow suit. Many preventative measures can be put into place through this period that can help us age gracefully,” Dr Smith said.

Mayor of the City of Canterbury, Cr Robert Furolo MP led the ceremony, outlining the Strategy and the Council’s commitment to assisting active and positive ageing and reaffirming the value of older people in the community.

“Ageing is a state of mind, whilst we might get older and retire from work, we do not retire from life and that’s why we saw the need to develop this Ageing strategy,” Mayor Furolo said.

Dr Smith’s says her extensive experience in treating patients of all ages has shown that people become less focussed on preventative healthcare as they age.

“Having practised medicine for 25 years, I have treated patients from womb to tomb,” Dr Smith said.

“Mothers worry about their developing babies, then their children and they make sure their bodies are nurtured with nutritious food and physical activity, but as we age, we forget the importance of maintaining these principles of living into our mature adult lives.”

Dr Smith stressed the importance of prioritising health care for the ageing population, by starting a dialogue with senior community and allowing their carers and family members to participate.

“A major cause of anxiety for elderly patients is losing their independence or becoming a burden to their children and carers,” Dr Smith said.

“As people move into their 50s, 60s and beyond, they tell me that they just wish for a healthy life. This means being able to live in their own home and to have all their physical functions, including their mental capacity.”

The City of Canterbury Ageing Strategy for 2011-2015 aims to make transport and housing for older community members safe, affordable and accessible; ensure access to services and support to allow people to remain independent, and to encourage the participation of the elderly in the broader community.

For further information please contact: Communications Officer, Elizabeth Fenech

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

T: 02 8204 4407 E: elizabeth.fenech@nd.edu.au W: www.nd.edu.au/