At the beginning of the 21st century the importance of understanding, respecting and investing in an increasingly ageing population has received unprecedented recognition. In this context it is of critical importance that research into all aspects of life (molecular and cellular, bio-medical, clinical, psychological, behavioural, economic, social and environmental) and the broad promotion of this research to a wider community is strongly supported. Without such a commitment, policy and planning are unlikely to meet the challenges of ageing population. This is particularly relevant in South Australia as the state with the oldest and fastest growing population aged 65 years and over in this country.
Beginning in the late 1970s, a visionary group of South Australians recognised the need to understand and address this research imperative. Their efforts resulted in the development and funding of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ALSA) and the establishment of the Centre for Ageing Studies. The Centre continued to expand its role, innovatively promoting the need for research, education and policy development to achieve better outcomes for older people.
From its inception in 1986 the Centre for Ageing Studies had a close affiliation with the Flinders University. The Centre for Ageing Studies was an approved research centre of the University, within the Flinders Institute of Health Research. The Centre’s Director (1986-2006), Gary Andrews, had academic status as an Honorary Professor in the Department of Public Health, School of Medicine and the position of Deputy Director was held by Professor Mary Luszcz, School of Psychology.
In May 2007, following the untimely death of Professor Gary Andrews (May 2006), the activities of the Centre were relocated to the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Flinders University.
Flinders Centre for Ageing Studies remains involved in a range of state, national and international research projects examining some of the pivotal issues confronting the older population and service providers.
The Flinders Centre for Ageing Studies will continue to provide a key focus and driver for initiatives on ageing issues within South Australia. It effectively promotes the State’s expertise and capacity in this area and it is widely recognised as world leader in the field of ageing studies research, education and policy analysis.