Reducing the dementia risk of people with depression and cognitive impairment in residential aged care

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Group Leader Email Number Webpage
Dr Anita Goh 0418597375 Personal web page
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Eleanor Curran Personal web page

Project Details

Reducing the dementia risk of people with depression and cognitive impairment in residential aged care

TEAM:  Anita Goh, Eleanor Curran, Terence Chong, Kathryn Ellis, Alissa Westphal, Nicola Lautenschlager, and Jan Hocking of BASICS.

Cognitive health promotion activities relate to maintaining these functions, and include interventions relating to cognitive activity, physical activity, social engagement and nutrition. Depression rates are increased in dementia, and depression increases dementia risk. Promoting cognitive health in older adults with depression is a strategy to reduce elevated dementia risk. Between 10-15% of older people experience depression, with higher depression rates (35%) in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). Delaying dementia in these residents and also improving depression will save costs for the acute and subacute health systems. BASICS, a specialist team assisting people over 65 with mental illness or cognitive impairment in RACFs in Northern and Western Melbourne, are ideally placed to play a key role in cognitive health promotion. This project gathers important information on the needs of older people with depression in RACFs (with or without cognitive impairment) in relation to dementia risk reduction. Focus groups will be held with 1) BASICS staff (psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists); 2) BASICS consumers (with depression); 3) RACF lifestyle coordinators, and will elicit opinions regarding older adults with depression in RACFs on:

1) their current knowledge of dementia (dementia literacy) and of cognitive health promotion

2) attitudes, enablers, and barriers on how best to provide cognitive health promotion interventions;

3) how best to equip RACFs with ongoing opportunities to deliver interventions; and

4) the attributes of optimal dementia risk reduction programs.

RACFs will receive an education session on dementia risk reduction. BASICS (and collaborative primary care providers) will receive an information kit on dementia risk reduction for older adults with depression. A consumer version will be available. Results are crucial for future interventional trials.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry, Ageing

Research Opportunities

Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.



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