Publication Details

McMillan, F., Kampers, D., Traynor, V. & Dewing, J. (2010). Person-centred care as caring for country: an indigenous australian experience. Dementia: the international journal of social research and practice, 9 (2), 163-167.


There is an emerging interest and a developing evidence base about the significance of dementia within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities1 across Australia. Poor Indigenous health status remains a fundamental issue, particularly when compared to New Zealand and North America where in the past ten years health inequities have begun to be successfully redressed. As the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians has started to increase beyond 45 years, the issue of dementia is becoming a priority health issue to address. As there is currently, on average, a 17 year gap in life years between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, there is a need to better understand both dementia and ageing within the Indigenous context in order to provide meaningful services and care. Within a historical context, colonization has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on the health of Indigenous people. In 1997, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission released its report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, more commonly known as the Bringing Them Home report (Australian Human Rights Commission, 1997). The report examined evidence from members of the ‘stolen generations’, a term which refers to those Indigenous children forcibly removed from their families and communities as part of past government policies. The legacies of past policies continue to impact upon Indigenous Australians, many of whom continue to experience multiple disadvantages including diminished mental and physical health as they age.



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