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Walking the talk on healthy ageing

Restoration, not hospitalisation, is the future of healthy active ageing and wellness, says Flinders University’s new Chair of Restorative Care, Professor Susan Gordon.

Speaking at the joint Ach Group and Flinders University Seminar Series launch on Rehabilitation and Restoration, Professor Gordon said South Australia was ‘walking the talk’ with the new way of thinking.

“South Australia is already leading the nation in redesigning the health system to support healthy active ageing. For example, ViTA is the first teaching, restorative and rehabilitation centre in Australia.”

ViTA opened in Daw Park in 2014 and supports older people to rehabilitate, regain health and live good lives.

The centre comprises long term, short term, transitional care and rehabilitation places; and combines best practice approaches to health and aged care with a focus on teaching and research.

Prof Gordon said it was critical that the health and education sectors worked with the aged care industry to support the healthy ageing agenda. “Aged care now and into the future needs to be focussed around restoration and rehabilitation. We don’t want to see people in long-term acute care; we want them healthy and at home as soon as possible.”

Dr Mike Rungie, CEO of Ach Group, said Prof Gordon would be in a prime position to connect the aged care system, the health system and research to find new approaches to keeping people healthier, productive and enjoying life as they live longer lives.

“The strong message we hear from our customers in their 70s, 80s and 90s is that they want to live at home; they expect to have roles and be busy and useful; they expect to put effort into being as well as possible; and they expect services that support this,” Dr Rungie said.

“ViTA was invented to deliberately support these very reasonable expectations. It delivered on restoration; joined up services through extraordinary partnerships; and played a key role in learning, teaching and research.”

ACH Group has jointly invested into the establishment of the new position at Flinders University, in recognition of the importance of restoration and rehabilitation to the future of aged care and to inspire a change in thinking.