Research to promote late-life health and wellbeing
The Generations Research Initiative in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University is led by Associate Professor Tim Windsor, Dr Monica Cations, and Dr Stephanie Wong.
With a basis in lifespan developmental psychology, our research aims to promote health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on middle- and older-adulthood. In addition to the leadership team, Generations includes a group of talented and committed staff and students working across diverse collaborative projects working with older people, the aged care workforce, and people with dementia.
Associate Professor Tim Windsor holds a balanced academic role in the discipline of Psychology in Flinders University's College of Education, Psychology and Social Work. Tim completed his Ph.D. at the University of New England and before coming to Flinders he worked as a researcher at the Australian National University's Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing.
Tim's research interests are focused around aspects of ageing well; in particular the personal and social resources that facilitate ongoing engagement with life in older adulthood, and the implications of an engaged lifestyle for health, wellbeing and cognition. Tim Windsor's publications can be accessed by clicking here.
Dr Monica Cations is a Research Fellow supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council / Medical Research Future Fund Emerging Leadership Fellowship and a Hospital Research Foundation Early Career Fellowship. Monica is a provisional psychologist and epidemiologist with research interests in improving the quality and safety of aged and dementia care.
Monica leads a number of lab projects with partner organisations including the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, Helping Hand Aged Care, and RSL Care SA. Monica Cations' publications can be accessed by clicking here.
Dr Stephanie Wong is a NHMRC Research Fellow and Clinical Neuropsychologist in the Discipline of Psychology in Flinders University’s College of Education, Psychology and Social Work. Stephanie completed her PhD at Macquarie University, followed by a postdoc at the Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney.
Stephanie’s broad research interests centre around cognition and behaviour in dementia and related conditions. Her research aims to understand the neurobiological mechanisms that drive cognitive and behavioural changes, improve the way we assess these symptoms in clinical practice, and develop effective interventions to help improve quality of life. She is currently leading several projects on apathy, reward processing and financial capability in ageing and dementia. Dr Stephanie Wong's publications can be accessed by clicking here.
Associate Professor Tim Windsor
Dr Monica Cations
Dr Stephanie Wong
Learn about some of the major research projects currently underway in the Generations Initiative.
Engagement, Lifestyle and Meaning Study (ELMS)
Project partners: City of Onkaparinga, ECH Inc, South Australian Office for Ageing Well
Ongoing engagement in meaningful activity is widely recognised as a crucial aspect of ageing well. The ELMS is concerned with increasing our understanding of how older adults can effectively maintain engagement with life in the face of changes that occur with age. Specifically, this project aims to (a) develop a better understanding of the factors that enable and inhibit late life engagement, and (b) develop and evaluate a person-centred intervention that can effectively promote activity engagement. The Chief Investigators on this project are Tim Windsor, Emeritus Professor Mary Luszcz, Associate Professor Ruth Walker (Flinders University), Dr Trevor Mazzucchelli (Curtin University), and Associate Professor Robert Stawski (Oregon State University). Partner Organisation for the ELMS include Onkaparinga City, ECH Inc, and the Office for Ageing Well.
Supported by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant
Inclusive Care for Older Trauma Survivors (ICOTS)
Project partner: Southern Adelaide Local Health Network
Hospital wards have a highly biomedical focus with limited opportunities for choice and control, and can therefore be distressing for older survivors of psychological trauma. Challenging behaviour resulting from distress is dangerous and disruptive for the person, staff, and other patients. Trauma-informed care is a framework that is widely applied across mental health systems and well-established to promote staff and resident safety, reduce the risk of re-traumatisation, minimise adverse events, and reduce costs. Working together with the Division of Rehabilitation, Aged and Palliative Care within the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, this hybrid implementation-effectiveness study will assess the effectiveness and implementation of a trauma-informed organisational intervention for reducing patient distress, preventing challenging behaviour, and limiting use of restraint in geriatric hospital wards.
Supported by the South Australian Hospital Research Foundation and the Medical Research Future Fund
The Wisdom Club
Project partners: City of Onkaparinga, South Australian Department for Education
Meaningful social connections are central to mental health and wellbeing and can be supported through volunteer activities that bring together people of different ages. The Wisdom Club is concerned with co-designing and piloting a new intergenerational project to create opportunities for purposeful engagement for older adults, enhance outcomes for disadvantaged children in the priority area of reading, and strengthen communities. The project involves training older volunteers to work with younger primary school children in school communities to support their developing literacy skills. The project includes Chief Investigators from the education discipline at Flinders (Jane Jarvis and Karyn Carson) in addition to Tim Windsor and Monica Cations, and Associate Investigators George Rebok and Lui Di Venuto.
Supported by the Breakthrough Foundation and the Orama Institute for Health and Wellbeing
Financial capability in ageing and dementia
Being able to handle money and manage your own personal finances is important for living independently. As we get older, changes in cognition may make it more difficult to manage everyday financial tasks, such as remembering to pay bills, budgeting and avoiding financial scams. These cognitive changes and difficulties with everyday financial tasks are usually normal. But in some cases, they can be an early sign of cognitive impairment or dementia. Led by Dr Stephanie Wong, this project aims to improve the way we identify and assess changes in financial capability in older adults and people with dementia, so that the appropriate supports can be put in place.
Supported by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation and Ecstra Foundation.
PD-GOAL Program: Parkinson's disease Getting Out and Active Living
Project partner: The Hospital Research Foundation, Parkinson's Division
While Parkinson’s disease is primarily characterised by motor symptoms, approximately 40% of patients also present with depression and apathy. Current treatment options for these symptoms have shown limited efficacy and accessibility. The PD-GOAL study aims to adapt, co-design and pilot a telehealth Behavioural Activation therapy program, which will target symptoms of depression and apathy by increasing engagement in positively reinforcing and meaningful activities. The Chief Investigators on this project are Dr Stephanie Wong, Dr Monica Cations and A/Prof Tim Windsor, with Associate Investigators Dr Trevor Mazzucchelli (Curtin University), Dr Julia Scott (Flinders University) and Olivia Nassaris (THRF Parkinson’s).
Supported by the Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation.
Registry of Senior Australians
Project lead: South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
The Registry of Senior Australians monitors the health, service utilisation, medication use, mortality, and other outcomes of people receiving aged care services in Australia. ROSA’s efficient model leverages existing information, bringing together diverse datasets collected by different organisations throughout the country, to provide us with a whole picture of the ageing pathway. ROSA will produce evidence to guide decision-making for quality, coordinated, efficient, innovative and age-friendly services and practices. Members of the Generations Initiative conduct projects to understand the use and potential benefits of mental health services by older aged care users in Australia.
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