On Thursday 1 September 2016, the Hon Linda Dessau AM Governor of Victoria and His Hon Judge Anthony Howard hosted a reception at Government House to mark the 40th anniversary of NARI.
The grand occasion was attended by over 100 guests, including past and present NARI Directors and Presidents, the Commissioner for Senior Victorians Gerard Mansour, philanthropists, research participants, donors and staff. Entertainment was provided by the Australian Boys' Choir.
NARI’s story begins 40 years ago when its predecessors recognised that the population was ageing and that we did not have very good systems in place for managing older people’s health and wellbeing.
Mr Lionel Adams, Vice President of Mount Royal Special Hospital for the Aged, joined forces with the Victorian government and the University of Melbourne to appoint a Professor of Gerontology and Geriatrics, and provide the facilities that are now the National Ageing Research Institute. Our first director was Professor Derek Prinsley, who attended the evening
The Institute was formally opened by His Excellency the Governor of Victoria Sir Henry Winneke in 1977 whose grandson Christopher Winneke and wife also attended the function.
For 40 years NARI's researchers have taken an older person centred approach to our research as we strive to understand what can go wrong and if things do go wrong, what can be done to help.
The work has been pioneering. NARI has been responsible for setting up memory clinics, pain clinics and falls and balance clinics – initially in Victoria, but they have since been replicated across Australia and internationally. The research has also contributed to the establishment of the Aged Care Assessment program, a model that is considered international best practice. NARI's researchers have led the field in areas where there is very little Australian research, such as elder abuse, the needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and the older person/technology interface.
Today NARI's work remains at the forefront of ageing research as we promote healthy ageing and a positive image of older people – rather than seeing older people as a burden, we see the ageing of the population, in all its diversity, as something to cherish and celebrate.
A full transcript of Associate Professor Briony Dow's speech is here: