Pictured (L-R):  Dr Helen Barrie (University of South Australia), Professor Renuka Visvanathan (University of Adelaide),  Lissy Oxford (Charles Sturt Council) and Helen Exley (Adelaide PHN)

Helping older Australians AVOID frailty

Pictured (L-R):  Dr Helen Barrie (University of South Australia), Professor Renuka Visvanathan (University of Adelaide),  Lissy Oxford (Charles Sturt Council) and Helen Exley (Adelaide PHN)

AVOID Frailty is a new project to empower people aged 60 years and over to take up behaviours that prevent frailty and support healthy ageing. Adelaide PHN is proud to be partnering with the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and the City of Charles Sturt to improve understanding of local population needs and co-create solutions to address the needs of the local community. 

AVOID is based upon the notion that physical Activity, Vaccination, Optimised medication, social Interaction and a healthy Diet meaningfully contribute to better health in old age. The project includes access to the AVOID tool, which encourages people to undertake a self-assessment of their potential risk for frailty. This also support people to consider behavioural changes that can be made to improve their health and wellbeing. 
The project will be delivered in 3 phases, the first involving 50 participants who will attend training workshops and participate in fortnightly focused coffee chats, with project co-lead Dr Helen Barrie from the University of South Australia. They will record their daily activities over a 12-week period and provide feedback on the program through an online portal.

Phase 2 of the project will see participants and key stakeholders come together to interpret the findings of Phase 1, and in turn inform Phase 3.  During this phase residents of the City of Charles Sturt aged 60 years or older, will be recruited for a 6-month period to test whether engaging in AVOID Frailty, rather than usual care, reduces their frailty risk.

Community engagement is crucial to the success of the AVOID program. Dr. Joanne Dollard emphasises the importance of interventions aligning with local context and involving residents in the adaptation phase of the project. Participants known “Citizen Scientists”, will be recruited from the City of Charles Sturt area and will contribute local knowledge and expertise to the project. The City of Charles Sturt with 20% of residents aged over 65 was chosen as the ideal community for co-designing a program that promotes healthy ageing and prevents frailty. 

Professor Visvanathan and Dr. Dollard, along with colleagues from the University of Adelaide and University of South Australia, will collaborate with partners at Adelaide PHN and City of Charles Sturt. Funding is provided by The Hospital Research Foundation. 

For more information or to be involved as a Citizen Scientist, please contact the research team:

  • Ms Joanne Wilson (Monday to Friday): 8302 1381 or joanne.wilson@unisa.edu.au  
  • Dr Joanne Dollard (Monday Tuesday): 8222 7349 or joanne.dollard@adelaide.edu.au  

29 April 2024