Placing rural people at the forefront of dementia prevention strategies – The Re-ACTIVate study
People living in rural and regional Australia experience a 1.4 times higher burden of chronic disease and up to 3 to 5 times higher prevalence of dementia compared to those in major cities. Despite this, few rural centric dementia prevention strategies exist. The Rural and REgional ACTIVate (Re-ACTIVate) project will expand the successful ACTIVate study outside urban cities. By harmonising measures with the UniSA Team’s already funded ACTIVate study, Dr Smith will for the first time characterise dementia risk in rural communities at 1) the individual level, 2) map services, accessibility and dementia friendliness of rural communities at the level of the community and 3) co-design with rural community members a bespoke dementia prevention toolkit for use in rural communities. The Re-ACTIVate project places rural people at the forefront of dementia prevention in their own communities. A key strength is conducting implementation research leading to a bespoke and scalable dementia prevention toolkit. By engaging with rural people, Dr Smith will ensure the toolkit is acceptable and aimed at extending healthy life and delaying dementia onset in Australians who live outside major cities. Community engagement is at the heart of this project.
Dr Ashleigh Smith is a Senior Lecturer within Allied Health and Human Performance at the University of South Australia. Her research is focused on reducing dementia risk in older adults and is positioned at the nexus of neuroscience, exercise physiology and cognitive ageing.