The Wicking Dementia Centre is excited and privileged to participate in the NHMRC-funded Centre for Excellence: Good Spirit Good Life: Better health and wellbeing for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. This 5-year project (2021-2025) is led by Professor Dawn Bessarab, a Bard/Yindijibarndi woman with a social work background and the Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health at the University of Western Australia. Associate Professor Lyn Goldberg from the Wicking Dementia Centre is part of this large and impressive team, with Indigenous and non-Indigenous investigators from diverse backgrounds, states, and territories working together to increase the capability of the services, systems, and communities that support older Indigenous Australians as they age.
The Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety has stated that Australia’s Indigenous peoples are not being well served by the current aged care system. As a society, we can learn much about optimising the health and wellbeing outcomes of the older population by adopting a strengths-based approach that privileges the voices, cultures, and perspectives of older Indigenous peoples – and this is where the Good Spirit Good Life Centre for Excellence begins.
Read more about The Good Spirit Good Life framework developed by Dr Kate Smith, who is also a member of the project team. The framework reflects the lived experience of ageing and Indigenous perspectives on what is important to older Aboriginal people to age well. It highlights the key interrelated elements that strengthen the inner spirit, underpinning Indigenous health, wellbeing, and quality of life. This culturally informed framework is needed to guide individuals, communities, service providers, researchers, educators, and policy makers in the Indigenous worldview of ageing well, including at end of life.
A significant component of the Centre for Research Excellence is validation of the Good Spirit Good Life quality-of-life tool for older Aboriginal people in regional and remote areas. This tool is urgently needed in community and aged care as a benchmark for service quality standards and culturally safe care, a gap highlighted by the Aged Care Royal Commission and the National Aged Care Diversity Framework. Associate Professor Lyn Goldberg will work closely with her colleague, Di Baldock, and members of the Circular Head Aboriginal community to assist in this validation, developing training resources, and translating new knowledge into practice and policy. We look forward to keeping you informed of our progress.