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Ambassadors for aged care meet local groups
Rilla Adam, left, of Broome, with Noeline Brown and acting shire president Dr Anne Poelina. Picture: Xavier Dhalluin

Australian actress Noeline Brown and author Sue Pieters-Hawke shared their experience as aged care advocates with top health researchers during a trip to Broome last week.

They joined researchers from the University of Western Australia's WA Centre for Health and Ageing and their partners during their visit to the Kimberley.

Important health research findings were shared with participating indigenous communities and health professionals.

Ms Brown - best known for her role in satirical radio and television series The Naked Vicar Show and Graham Kennedy's Blankety Blanks in the 1970s - was appointed Australia's first Ambassador for Ageing by the Rudd Government 2008, and reappointed for another three-year term in 2011.

Ms Pieters-Hawke is co-chair of the Federal Government's Dementia Advisory Group.

"It's important for people as they age to remain active mentally, and to challenge themselves with new things, like joining a choir or volunteering," Ms Brown said.

"Volunteering is worth $200 billion to this country, and the elderly contribute a lot of that.

"It's important for the community to value our elderly people, and to use their knowledge and experience."

A team of researchers led by two geriatricians, associate professor Dina LoGiudice from Melbourne Health and UWA's Winthrop Professor Leon Flicker, shared their findings in workshops with participating communities and local health professionals in a bid to improve outcomes for older Aboriginal people in the region.

"Those who live in regional and remote Australia often suffer poorer health and have a lower life expectancy than those in metropolitan areas - they have been overlooked and it is time that this was addressed," Professor Flicker said.

"Our research team is committed to promoting research and improving the quality of lives of Australia's culturally diverse population. Communicating our results with the Kimberley community is important to us and we hope that this will lead to improved health care for older people in the Kimberley."

Dr LoGiudice said the researchers had developed an easy to understand guide booklet based on research results.

"It aims to help clinicians identify the factors that contribute to increased independence and improved well-being for older people living in the region," he said.

The guide booklets will be launched at the workshops and focus on dementia, depression, pain, continence and falls - identified as key areas impacting older Aboriginal people living in the Kimberley.