18 August 2020

Cromwell Property Group Foundation announces 2020 beneficiaries

On 18 August 2020, the Cromwell Property Group Foundation (Foundation) announced Active Rehabilitation, Bolton Clarke, Griffith University, MercyCare and the Lady Musgrave Trust as beneficiaries of its FY20 fundraising activities.

A total of $166,400 was donated in FY20, which takes the total donations of the Foundation to more than $1 million since its 2014 inception.

“The Foundation surpassing $1 million in donations is a significant milestone,” stated Foundation President and Cromwell CEO, Paul Weightman.

“With a focus on charities and causes that fly under the radar, the Foundation has supported tangible change to the mature-age community. This has continued in 2020, with Active Rehabilitation, Bolton Clarke, Griffith University, MercyCare and The Lady Musgrave Trust all working towards important positive change to the lives of many.”

An overview of each cause is detailed below.

Active Rehabilitation Research Foundation - $33,900

The Active Rehabilitation Research Foundation has been provided with $33,900 in an attempt to identify and prevent people at risk of falling, before they feel dizzy and fall.

Patients with deficits of the vestibular system (within the inner ear) often suffer from the symptoms of dizziness, imbalance and vertigo. The most common effect of these deficits are ‘falls’, which can have catastrophic consequences, particularly for the elderly. In many cases, the injuries sustained as a result of a fall require surgery, long periods of rehabilitation, or can result in premature death.

When a patient reports symptoms of dizziness or vertigo, referral to a Vestibular Physiotherapist for assessment and treatment is typically made. However, some people may have balance and coordination deficits due to vestibular disorders and not exhibit these obvious symptoms. Reduced or slow movement (such as during a hospital admission) can result in vestibular function loss. Therefore, elderly people or those suffering from conditions such as Parkinson’s are at the greatest risk of falls.

Experience has shown that if vestibular system deficits are identified early, treatment with specialised rehabilitation exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist can, in many cases, improve balance and coordination, reduce future fall risks and improve patient outcomes.

The incidence of vestibular disorders in elderly patients who do not present with obvious symptoms but fall into these categories is anticipated to be high, but not currently quantified. The Foundation has provided funding to Active Rehabilitation to undertake initial research to identify the prevalence of vestibular disorders in the older population admitted to hospital. Specialised equipment is required to diagnose vestibular disorders in the absence of dizziness or vertigo.

Active Rehabilitation’s initial research will immediately provide evidence to influence screening recommendations in all those over 60 years of age admitted to a hospital and provide essential information to plan further research to evaluate the best way to manage patients with deficits of the vestibular system.

This research has the potential to improve patient quality of life, independence and freedom of movement as age progresses and may reduce costs to the healthcare system if the incidence of falls can be reduced.

Active Rehabilitation Research Foundation CEO, John Fitzgerald stated, “We are delighted to have been chosen as a beneficiary for the 2020 grants from the Cromwell Property Group Foundation.”

“The vestibular research we will undertake in the mature-age patients of our community is very important. It is a wonderful opportunity for smaller, efficient non-university and non-government research foundations like ours who traditionally struggle to attract research funding.”

Bolton Clarke - $17,500

Bolton Clarke offers nursing services, resources and real community support to help people age well, delivering more than one million days of residential aged care and more than four million home visits every year. Their community nursing services enable thousands of people to live and age with dignity and choice while playing an active role in their healthcare.

With more than 200 years’ expertise, the organisation operates across the health and aged care services continuum to provide health and wellbeing support, personal care, domestic support, chronic disease management, hospital substitution and residential services.

The work of the Bolton Clarke Research Institute underpins services and contributes to the evidence base for health and aged care policy and new models of care and support. The Institute is at the forefront of addressing the major health issues of our time: social isolation, loneliness, ageing populations, increasing chronic disease and mounting pressure on healthcare systems.

Bolton Clarke has been provided with $17,500 to fund the Be Healthy & Active programme. Targeted at Australians aged 60 and over, the programme provides practical and accessible education in the community to improve health outcomes, reduce avoidable disease and suffering, and therefore reduce the demand on health services.

The Be Healthy & Active programme currently consists of ten free health education sessions on topics ranging from falls prevention to nutrition, bladder health and dementia. Since it began in late 2015, more than 700 health sessions have been delivered across the country to more than 20,000 people. The programme is supported by five free online information videos and downloadable resources. Sessions can be delivered online or in person and in multiple languages to provide broad community access to important health information.

The Be Healthy & Active programme receives no government funding, and therefore relies entirely on philanthropic support.

“The Cromwell Property Group Foundation funding will allow us to reach more older people across Australia with accessible health information to support their wellbeing and help them stay connected and informed,” said National Be Healthy & Active Manager, Kerry Rendell.

MercyCare and Griffith University - $75,000

MercyCare and Griffith University have been provided with $75,000 in FY20, with another $75,000 planned for FY21 for their Intergenerational Project. Australia’s oldest and youngest community members are currently facing significant issues that affect their wellbeing. While Australia’s seniors are living longer than ever before, the quality of those extra years is declining, particularly in mental health, often a casualty of social isolation and loneliness.

The need for innovative and new care services in Australia was highlighted in the interim report released by the Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality, in order to address the broken, systemic issues of aged care which currently ‘fails to meet the needs of the elderly’.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, one in five Australian children are developmentally delayed and are starting school with only half the vocabulary of previous generations. This directly impacts their ability to form relationships, engage with the curriculum and experience mental wellbeing, including the all-important ability to self-regulate. That’s part of the big picture which shows 30% of our children, and rising, are experiencing mental health problems.

MercyCare is a leading provider of Aged Care and Early Learning, plus a host of services for those experiencing disadvantage, with the vision for individuals and communities to thrive. To make this a reality means grappling with these problems of social isolation and loneliness, cognitive decline and cognitive delay, and all the implications facing the most senior and junior people in care.

The approach, which has had success overseas, is now being led by Griffith University in Australia, and brings together individuals at either end of the age spectrum to forge relationships based around mutual activities and strengths. It is underpinned by both scientific research and the wisdom of previous generations, and is called ‘Intergenerational Care’.

While it has been hailed as a gamechanger, there are significant barriers to it being implemented by organisations responsible for either seniors or early learners. These include social policy constraints, rigid institutional structures and conventions, lack of industry knowledge and organisational capacity, staff reluctance and lack of training, lack of an intergenerational learning curriculum, and limited funding resources.

The second phase of the Intergenerational Project led by Griffith University, in collaboration with MercyCare and Rehoboth Christian College, is designed to pioneer a co-designed model which will be sustainable, easy to implement and replicate, and reanimate individuals, care workers and community through reconnecting the generations.

Anneke Fitzgerald, PhD, a Professor of Health Management at Griffith University stated, “COVID-19 has caused physical distancing and rethinking of how we can build intergenerational relationships. As a community, we know this pandemic may not be a once in a lifetime situation and it is likely we may have to impose physical distancing with vulnerable people more often. This led us to think about the use of technology and the idea of virtual intergenerational practice. With the Cromwell Property Group Foundation's help, we will be able to develop this further, so that while confined, generations are not disconnected. We will use video-conferencing technology for connecting older people and school children.”

“At the same time, we need to build evidence-based intergenerational practices and content. This may be achieved by setting up an intergenerational practice network. A network that serves as a hub, a centre without walls, a virtual place where information, experiences and research can be shared to upscale intergenerational practice in Australia.”

“Griffith University, together with MercyCare and with the support of the Foundation, aim to be at the centre of a virtual hub that will integrate visions, promote interactions and encourage participation in this renewed social model.”

The Lady Musgrave Trust - $40,000

Established in 1885, The Lady Musgrave Trust (the Trust) is one of Queensland’s oldest charities, which provides life-saving services to vulnerable women and their children when they are facing critical homeless situations as a result of domestic violence, family breakdown and poverty.

The Foundation has added to its $40,000 FY19 donation with a further $40,000 in 2020. This year’s donation contributed to the Trust’s Annual Forum held on 5 August and the production and distribution of ‘The Handy Guide for Older Women’ launched at the event.

The Trust’s 2020 Annual Forum on Women and Homelessness held online for the first time ever on 5 August, offered the public a free opportunity to listen to a panel of experts explore the theme of ‘Older Women – Living on the Edge of Homelessness’, which builds on the 2019 forum, ‘Building Resilience – Surviving to Thriving’.

The forum discussed the challenges and lived experiences of women over the age of 55, the national position on older women’s homelessness and risks, as well as the release of the Trust’s 12-month research findings and extensive consultation into older women’s homelessness.

The forum served as the official launch of the Trust’s innovation tool, ‘The Handy Guide for Older Women’, a new product that builds on the highly-successful ‘Handy Guide for Homeless Women’. The Handy Guide for Older Women provides advice, a hands-on toolkit on housing and other opportunities for older women.

The Lady Musgrave Trust’s CEO, Karen Lyon Reid, said “The ABS Census Data identified a 31% increase in older women’s homelessness over five years, which was alarming. We knew we needed to take action to address this critical issue.”

“The Cromwell Property Group Foundation strongly believes in supporting community - it is their values that will help us to make significant progress in our charity work and particularly this project. We are grateful to Cromwell for their support and collaboration on this project.”

This year’s Lady Musgrave Trust’s Annual Forum for Women and Homelessness can be viewed here.

About the Cromwell Property Group Foundation

The Cromwell Property Group Foundation was established in 2014 to support charities or organisations that provide support to, or conduct research into causes relevant to the mature aged community. To date, the Foundation has donated over $1 million to numerous causes, resulting in significant change to countless lives.

Donations to the Cromwell Property Group Foundation of more than $2 are tax deductible. To donate, request a grant or seek more information, visit www.cromwellfoundation.org.au