Growing old in rural and remote Australia

22 August 2019

Fresh on the recent hearings of the Royal Commission into aged care and safety in Darwin, Broome and Cairns, the Australian Journal of Rural Health publishes a special issue focussing on older persons’ health in rural, regional and remote Australia.

Jointly edited by Dr Evelien Spelten (La Trobe University) and Professor Oliver Burmeister (Charles Sturt University) the issue draws together 13 research papers that show that ageing is not just about institutionalised care, illness, and death.

A key finding highlighted in the research as Spelten and Burmeister point out in their editorial: “We have a rapidly ageing population, that is also wealthier, better educated, better housed, and contributes more to both paid and volunteer work.”

They point out that “with this growing ageing population, the challenge for our rural health care system is to relate to this population and to align our system of health care with their needs”. They note that this may need to “ . . be more diverse and not fitted to a ‘one size fits all seniors’ approach.”

The thirteen articles in this special issue of the Journal together advocate for rural health issues, address health research and policy, examine Indigenous and multicultural issues in rural communities, palliative care, and more.
Professor Russell Roberts (Editor in Chief, AJRH) emphasised the importance of the broad scope of articles which are presented in this issue. “This issue presents the latest research on a vast variety of topics such as the extent of elder abuse, treating anxiety and depression in older adults, the ageing farming workforce, increasing social participation and examples of successful program initiatives so that older people in the bush get the same level of access to mental health services as those living in the capital cities.”

In addition to challenging widely held misconceptions about growing old, this issue highlights the importance of involving seniors in the research and in the shaping of health care solutions that affect them. This fits closely with the increasing trend to engage with service users to tailor appropriate solutions.

Media Enquiries: 

Associate Professor Russell Roberts, Editor in Chief AJRH 0418 852 748
Peter Brown, Manager AJRH 0408 281 638