Monday 22 April 2024

Media Release

Ahead of next month’s State Budget, the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) is calling on the Victorian Government to back new research and workforce training to keep Victorians healthier and living at home for longer.

More and more people are living to a very old age. But the reality is that, on average, Victorians are likely to spend more than a decade in ill-health. The researchers at NARI want to change that.

In a submission to the Victorian Government for the 2024/25 budget, Australia’s only institute dedicated solely to research into health and ageing has requested it be housed in the new Arden Campus alongside the future Home-Based Care Hub – replacing its decrepit 100-year-old offices at Royal Park – and for the Victorian Government to invest $5.5 million over 3 years to:

  • keep older Victorians safe by avoiding preventable falls – reducing hospital admissions;
  • upskill workers to improve care, support earlier discharge, and decrease occupational violence;
  • guide implementation of the National Dementia Action Plan in Victoria; and
  • address social isolation amongst carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The impact of Victoria’s ageing population on governments, health and aged care services, and the community is far-reaching.

The expanding group of ‘over 85s’ means there are more people presenting to GPs and hospitals with age-related health concerns including dementia, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer; whilst those aged between 65 and 85 have a higher incidence of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, compared to previous generations. In Victoria, the specific cost of caring for people living with dementia is in excess of $2 billion – partly driven by a 20% higher chance of presenting to an emergency department compared to those without dementia.

Furthermore, all older people are susceptible to falls, with Australia spending more than $4 billion annually treating injuries resulting from fall-related accidents. 

Investment in NARI’s research is an investment in evidence-based solutions, better care and quality of life for older Victorians, and reduced pressure on our hospitals.

Briony Dow, Director of the National Ageing Research Institute said:
“With the number of Victorians aged 60 and over expected to increase by 60% to 2.3 million people within two decades, we must rise to meet the challenges. Now is the time to invest in the practice change that will ensure that older Victorians spend less time unwell – less time being dependant, admitted to hospital, or living in residential care – and more of their life living where they want to be.

Without continued support from government, NARI will be forced to cut jobs, reduce the scope of its research, and wind back its role upskilling the health and aged care workforce.”

Read NARI's State Budget submission 2024/2025: Living longer, ageing well - Investing for older Victorians

About NARI

The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) is Australia’s leading independent, non-profit medical research centre dedicated to ageing, health and aged care research. It specialises in translational research, accelerating change in policy and practice.
Historically, NARI has received almost one third of its revenue from the Victorian Government. It also regularly seeks competitive funding from the Commonwealth’s Medical Research Future Fund.