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Staying healthy and strong as we age

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Staying healthy and strong as we age

It's not just chronic diseases where lives can be changed–and saved–as we age.   

"Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital  admissions; even greater than the number of people  admitted due to car accidents," says Cathy Said,  the inaugural Associate Professor Physiotherapy,  Western Health and University of Melbourne.   

A/Prof Said is an international expert in optimising health and helping people stay independent, strong and mobile.   

Each year in Australia, one in three people aged over 65 will fall, and 243,000 people will be admitted to hospital with serious injuries such as head injuries and fractures.   

There is strong evidence to show that specific exercises reduce the risk of falls by at least 25 per cent – and up to 42 per cent. 

A comprehensive new exercise and falls prevention program will focus on older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.   

One in four older Australians were born overseas. They can face additional challenges in managing their health, including language and cultural barriers. Italian, Chinese and Arabic-speaking communities will be engaged to design the program to encourage more people to exercise.  

Fellow Western Health collaborators include: physiotherapist Dr Emily Ramage, Consultant Geriatrician Dr Jesse Zanker and Manager of Language Services Lyn Bongiovanni.   

"We want to provide Western Health's multicultural community with a program that helps reduce their risk of falling," A/Prof Said says.  

The project ,called Move Together, has also benefited from the valuable input of the Consumer Representative Rosa Cursio-Barcham, who provides insights from her lived experience to the researchers and clinicians.  

"I am pleased to contribute and represent the older Italian community as a consumer of this vital   

and important research and I hope we can make a difference," Mrs Cursio-Barcham said. 

The research project is being funded by the Medical Research Future Fund. 

Pictured above (L-R) Cathy Said Professor of Physiotherapy, Western Health and University of Melbourne, consumer Rosa Cursio-Barcham and Western Heatlh Physiotherapist Dr Emily Ramage.