Australia’s population is ageing, which presents a raft of challenges that researchers are working to solve.

What is less well-known is that volunteering for ageing and dementia research has benefits you may never have considered.

A recent study of StepUp for Research participants found that volunteers who helped with this kind of research: 

  • Experienced personal growth
  • Enjoyed making a difference
  • Fostered new and deeper relationships
  • Enriched their lives, and
  • Created a better future for others.

Leading expert in geriatric medicine, Professor Leon Flicker, is optimistic about the state of ageing and dementia research.

He says researchers find it hard to engage with people who are ageing healthily, as well as people who are experiencing mild cognitive symptoms.

However, he points out that “once researchers talk to people about their studies, people are very interested in them and want to be involved. It’s that first introduction that we struggle with”.

Despite the struggle to introduce people to research volunteering, there is good evidence for the benefits.

“We know that people who are involved in studies actually receive better care overall than people who don’t. So, one of the really good things it that it is an advantage to both the person doing the research, and the person involved in the research. And that doesn’t even mention the future benefits from the future products of research as well,” Professor Flicker said. 

StepUp for Research is a service that gives everyone, regardless of their age and health status, the opportunity to choose what they want to be involved in and to make themselves available for research projects.

With so many benefits – to individuals, the community, and the future – volunteering for ageing and dementia research might be worth considering.

Volunteer now.

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