Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration Annual Symposium
Royal Melbourne Hospital, Charles Latrobe Theatre.
Future Directions in Ageing Research – What do the Leaders Think?
This event will be an opportunity to hear from leaders in the fields of Dementia, Falls, Healthy Ageing, and End of Life and Palliative Care.
You will hear the latest research and future directions for ageing research. Speakers include Professor Susan Kurrle (University of Sydney), Professor Anne-Marie Hill (Curtain University), Professor Andrea Maier (The University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital), Professor Lorna Rosenwax (Curtin University), and Dr Frances Batchelor (National Ageing Research Institute). The program includes:
- Presentations from key leaders in Dementia, Falls, Healthy Ageing, and End of Life and Palliative Care
- An interactive expert panel, which will provide an opportunity for questions and discussion
- Discussion of findings from the first completed collaborative MARC project — A Pragmatic Approach to Developing Falls Prevention Interventions in a Hospital Setting
Morning tea and lunch will be provided.
This event will be free of charge for employees of MARC partner organisations, and $85 per person for non-MARC members.
For employees of MARC partner organisations please request a discount code from your manager or email Natalie James: firstname.lastname@example.org
Places are limited, so to register please go to
Can Technology Make Ageing Better and Cheaper?
Dr Richard G. Caro
2 May, 2017
The “Can Technology Make Ageing Cheaper and Better?” seminar by Dr Richard G. Caro was held on the 2 May 2017. This event was hosted jointly by MARC and Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative, and provided an opportunity for experts, researchers, and workers in the fields of technology and ageing to come together to hear Dr Caro’s views on how technology has a role as people age.
Dr Caro is the CEO and co-founder of Tech-enhanced Life, a Public Benefit corporation with the mission of improving the quality of life of older adults and their families. Dr Caro started his career as a researcher at Stanford University, and then spent a number of years developing novel medical products (such as the world's first LASIK device for changing the shape of your eyes) at a series of start-ups in Boston and Silicon Valley. Dr Caro received a B.Sc. (Hons) degree from Melbourne University, and a D.Phil. in experimental physics from Oxford University — where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
While much of the western world worries about the economic and human costs of an ageing population, Dr Caro argues that there is room for optimism and a “silver lining”, and that by harnessing the power of technology and the untapped wisdom of the older adult population we can improve the quality of life as we age, expand the capabilities of caregivers, and even make the costs associated with care and services for older people less.
Tech-enhanced Life aims to improve the quality of life of older people and their families, and have started to do this by collaborating with groups of older people. Dr Caro spoke about an experimental sharing, ideation, and evaluation community called the Longevity Explorers — made up of entrepreneurial older adults in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The Longevity Explorers are a collaborative community that identify, invent, trial, review, and evaluate better solutions and products to overcoming the challenges that come with growing older. The Longevity Explorers not only add value to the community by utilising their expertise and life experience, but are also able to stay engaged and intellectually challenged.
Above (L-R): Jenny Waycott - Lecturer in the School of Computing and Information Systems, Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative; Ruth Williams - Academic Convenor of Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative; Dr Richard G. Caro – CEO and co-founder of Tech-enhanced Life; Briony Dow – Director of the National Ageing Research Institute and Associate Professor, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne; Frances Batchelor - MARC Program Manager and Director Health Promotion, National Ageing Research Institute.
Making Healthy Normal
Jo Boylan, Southern Cross Care
27 April, 2017
The MARC “Making Healthy Normal” Forum was held on the 27 April 2017 with Jo Boylan, Operations Director at Southern Cross Care. Jo has significant aged care and management credentials from a 25 year career within the aged care industry, spanning companies such as ACH Group and Lutheran Homes. She has also had close involvement with a range of policy issues affecting the aged care sector as an advisor to government departments and as a member of aged care sector reference groups and programs.
As well as holding a Masters in Nursing, in which her principal area of study was Transforming Leadership in Aged Care, Jo Boylan is in the process of completing her PhD in Nursing in which she has been studying the integration of healthy ageing into aged care services.
The “Making Healthy Normal” forum brought together allied health professionals, aged care workers, researchers, and even architects specialising in residential care design to hear Jo speak about the importance of healthy being the ‘norm’ in residential aged care, and how care and health services often focus on ill-being rather than well-being. Jo advocated for the importance of promoting the shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset in organisations to enable change in practice.
Jo spoke about her work in Southern Cross Care’s residential aged care facilities, where she has worked closely with care workers, nurses, and management staff to embed a change in attitude and culture. Jo discussed how empowering all people to improve their health-related physical, mental, social well-being, and a focus on developing intrinsic capabilities should be a standard part of care provision. This involves ensuring that employees are provided with education and training, and that consumers have access to health literacy, recovery pathways, and meaningful goal setting.
An example of how Jo has implemented this change in approach within Southern Cross Care was by opening 15 Health and Wellness Centres in residential care facilities across South Australia, where residents have access to physical activities with support from health professionals. This change resulted in 63% of residents feeling more energetic and fitter, 82% of residents feeling stronger, and 93% of residents believing that their quality of life has improved.
Positive feedback from a forum attendee indicated that they gained a number of key messages from Jo’s presentation, stating:
“For me, a key element of the making healthy normal program is that it taps into the innate urge of all people (regardless of age or circumstance) to learn, to be engaged, to be creative and to be able to exercise independence in thought and action.”
The take home messages from Jo’s presentation were that taking positive action towards making healthy normal will:
- prevent or delay avoidable decline, regardless of age or illness
- give access to interventions that promote health and wellbeing, with every interaction
- identify frailty early and reverse it through a dedicated recovery plan
- support people to ‘walk until they die’
- enable people to ‘do the things they love most’
For more information on Jo Boylan's presentation please view the Making Healthy Normal slides:
Above (L-R): Bruce Barber – Honorary Senior Research Fellow, National Ageing Research Institute; Jo Boylan - Operations Director, Southern Cross Care; Briony Dow – Director of the National Ageing Research Institute and Associate Professor, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne; Frances Batchelor - MARC Program Manager and Director Health Promotion, National Ageing Research Institute.
Healthy Ageing Forum
Thirty five participants attended the MARC Healthy Ageing Forum at Kensington Town Hall.
MARC organisations – University of Melbourne, Austin Health, DHHS/local council, Alzheimer’s Australia, NARI, Western Health, Mercy Health together with older people, clinicians, case managers, students, researchers and policy makers attended the event.
The forum resulted in 63 Healthy Ageing themed project ideas being generated. They included all domains, all settings. All ideas are being reviewed and a summary of the potential projects will be presented to the MARC Steering Committee on 24th March 2017.
Speakers included Dr Sue Malta on Healthy Ageing and Sexuality, Deepa Prahbu on Consumer Wearables, and Anita Goh on Healthy Lifestyles to support brain health.
More details here: Healthy Ageing Forum summary
MARC Take Care Colloquium
26 August, 2016
The MARC “Take Care” Colloquium was held on 26th August at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Function and Convention Centre to showcase innovations within MARC partner organisations in caring for carers. Covering the themes of formal and informal carers, presentations included workforce innovations that attract and retain health care and aged care workers, and support services that are available to carers in the community.
- Dr David Sykes, General Manager Learning & Development, Alzheimer’s Australia VIC
- Anne Muldowney, Policy Advisor, Carers Victoria
- Katherine Lawler, Acting Director Education & Research, Northern Health
- Margaret Pozzebon, Speech Therapist, Melbourne Health
MARC Ageing and Technology Forum: Exploring Opportunities and Developing Ideas
21 July, 2016
The MARC Technology and Ageing Forum was held on 21st July, 2016 at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to generate ideas to solve key challenges in ageing and improve the experiences of older people. A diverse range of disciplines were represented at the forum – including health care workers, educators and community advocates, policy makers, academics, and engineers - enabling creative concepts to be shared and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.
The workshop was facilitated by Dr Richard Caro of Tech-enhanced Life, a Public Benefit Corporation. Dr Caro has over 20 years experience at the intersection of technology and business, having developed a number of successful products and patents. He has a particular interest in the interaction between healthcare, ageing and technology.
The workshop was an opportunity for MARC members to share ideas and create projects that utilise technology within the research to practice themes of Healthy Ageing, Falls Prevention, Dementia, and End-of-Life Care.
MARC End of Life Care Forum
28 June, 2016
The MARC End of Life Care Forum was held on 28th June, 2016. This event, hosted by Mercy Health at Mercy Place Parkville, was an opportunity for aged care workers, healthcare workers, educators and policy makers to come together to share ideas about end of life and palliative care.
The opening presentation was delivered by Professor Colleen Doyle, Principal Research Fellow at NARI and Professor of Aged Care at the Australian Catholic University, on the new National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care, which will be published in August 2016 to guide best practice provision of spiritual care for all older people and set a framework to build confidence in the aged care workforce. Claire Kemp, Quality and Education Coordinator at Mercy Palliative Care, presented on the introduction of an end of life care pathway that has resulted in improved integration and collaboration between aged care facilities, palliative care providers, and in-reach services at local hospitals and increased completion of advance care plans to document end of life wishes for older people. Jennifer Zerafa, Wellcare Program Coordinator at Western Health, discussed the implementation of a complementary therapy program for people receiving palliative care services.
The presentations were followed by an interactive brainstorming session, facilitated by Maureen Walsh, National Learning Manager, Mercy Health, where participants had the opportunity to contribute to the design of a project aimed at improving the delivery of evidence based, person centred end of life care.
Above (L-R): Maureen Walsh - National Learning Manager, Mercy Health; Frances Batchelor - MARC Program Manager and Director Health Promotion, National Ageing Research Institute; Jennifer Zerafa - Wellcare Program Manager Western Health; Professor Colleen Doyle, Principal Research Fellow at NARI and Professor of Aged Care at the Australian Catholic University; Claire Kemp, Quality and Education Coordinator at Mercy Palliative Care
New Perspectives in Ageing
21 May, 2015
The Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC) brought together 100 of Melbourne’s top ageing researchers, service deliverers and policy makers for its first colloquium to discuss four critical areas of age on Thursday 21 May 2015.
The day-long colloquium focussed on End of Life and Palliative Care, Dementia, Falls and Healthy Ageing. Dr Frances Batchelor, MARC’s project manager, said the aim of the colloquium was to hear the latest research in each of the priority areas and to identify gaps and crossover research.
“The colloquium is about sharing information. No one person has all the answers and what MARC sets out to do is to introduce new thinking and research about ageing to researchers and others with an interest in solutions.”
The speakers included:
- Dr Charmaine Foo, Palliative Care Unit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital – Advances in symptom management in Palliative Care
- Professor David Ames, CEO, NARI, - Alzheimer’s disease – what’s true and what’s new
- Dr Cathy Said, Austin Health – Preparing people at high risk of falls to for discharge following rehabilitation: do we meet the guidelines?
- Dr Kathryn Ellis, University of Melbourne – Lifestyle factors and cognition.