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Older People

Through lower death rates and high fertility rates, the ageing population is increasing in many countries. With this demographic shift comes a change in the pattern of illness towards chronic, non-communicable diseases and disability. Our research focuses on promoting healthy ageing in all populations, and on achieving better health for older people in vulnerable communities throughout the Asia/Pacific region.

We aim to promote the physical, mental and social wellbeing of vulnerable communities by focussing our research and development activities on healthy ageing from birth. 

An ageing population is a significant development issue as older people tend to be the poorest population group and may not have access to adequate health, social or financial support as they age. Older people also make an important contribution to their families and communities, but this can be undermined by illness or disability. 

There is an urgent need to reorient primary health care and social welfare services towards older people and their families. Research at Burnet focussed on older people and healthy ageing is crucial to identify systemic gaps and emerging healthcare needs that can inform policy and planning.  

We strive to improve healthy ageing in vulnerable Asia/Pacific communities by:

  • increasing knowledge about the biological and psychosocial determinants of healthy ageing
  • developing new tools and therapeutics for diseases associated with ageing
  • promoting inclusive communities and services for healthy ageing
  • integrating concepts of healthy ageing into all our research and development activities
  • increasing the capacity of health professionals, researchers, policy makers and the general community through education and training in Australia and globally.

Our projects have included:

  • studies characterising the impact of chronic and acute viral infections on immune ageing, immune dysfunction, and development of age-related diseases
  • investigating the effects of HIV on frailty and ageing diseases in HIV-positive men
  • a collaboration with Living Positive Victoria, the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) and Alfred Health to address the healthcare needs of people ageing with HIV.