Key messages

  • The Department of Health and Human Services is taking a broad healthy ageing approach, rather than funding discrete programs that focus on specific issues in specific settings.
  • Healthy ageing projects successfully tested the idea of a broader healthy ageing approach, and funding will now support a small number of Active and Healthy Ageing Advisers across the state.
  • The department provides support and education to help organisations and staff take up a healthy ageing approach.

The new broader healthy ageing framework

Health and wellbeing initiatives - such as Well for Life, the Home and Community Care (HACC) Active Service Model, Making a Move, and Count us in! - have obvious links, such as:

  • the aim of increasing health and wellbeing (physical, social and emotional)
  • the interdependence of nutrition, physical activity, emotional wellbeing and social connection
  • person-centred care (an holistic approach to care that promotes wellness and active participation in decisions about care)
  • maintaining independence and quality of life (the ‘doing with’ not ‘doing for’ philosophy, and a belief that people have the potential to improve their capacity)
  • health promotion (enabling people to increase control over the determinants of their health, and recognise appropriate physical activity and nutrition strategies can affect health at any age)
  • capacity-building and service improvement (enabling organisations, staff and community to improve the health of older people)
  • active ageing.

Based on these links, the Department of Health & Human Services saw the potential to integrate these discrete programs (which focus on specific issues in specific settings) into one broader healthy ageing approach.

Literature review

The department tested the idea in a series of healthy ageing projects from 2012 to 2015. It also commissioned a literature review looking at:

  • effective strategies for promoting healthy ageing in settings where older people live
  • the determinants of healthy ageing, including healthy lifestyle factors and age-friendly environments
  • strategies being used promote healthy ageing in various settings
  • the current evidence base for the effectiveness of these strategies for promoting health with older people.

The literature review (conducted by National Ageing Research Institute and the Council on the Ageing Victoria) and the healthy ageing projects proved the value of a broader healthy ageing approach.

Active and healthy ageing advisers

The department funds a small number of active and healthy ageing advisers (AHAAs) across the state to promote, build and support the health and wellbeing of older people in Victoria.  

The AHAAs work to:

  • Review and build on the evidence base for strategies to improve health and wellbeing for older people
  • Build on the success of and support existing healthy ageing initiatives
  • Enhance and build networks to improve organisational capacity and workforce to promote health and wellbeing for older Victorians
  • Contribute to a statewide approach to healthy ageing.

Advisers contact details

Name Division Former health region Location Phone Email
Karen Cameron West Barwon and South West Geelong 5226 4890 karen.cameron@dhhs.vic.gov.au
Ebony Morelli West Western Metro Melbourne and Brimbank Melton Footscray 9275 7417 ebony.morelli@dhhs.vic.gov.au
Megan Clifford
West Central Highlands and Wimmera Ballarat 5333 6213 megan.clifford@dhhs.vic.gov.au
Marianna Pisani North North Metro Melbourne Fitzroy 9412 7749 marianna.pisani@dhhs.vic.gov.au
Clare Thurman North Loddon and Mallee Bendigo 5434 5611 clare.thurman@dhhs.vic.gov.au
Deb Mitchell South Inner and Outer Gippsland Traralgon 5177 2575 deborah.mitchell@dhhs.vic.gov.au
Denise Olsson South Southern Metro Melbourne and Bayside Peninsula Dandenong

8765 7330

denise.olsson@dhhs.vic.gov.au
Sarah Pain East Murray and Goulburn Shepparton

5831 8456

sarah@valleysport.net.au
Sharon Porteous East Eastern Metro Melbourne Box Hill 8843 2254 sharon.porteous@iepcp.org.au
Vacant East Ovens-Murray Wangaratta Contact State-wide Coordinator -

State-wide Coordinator

Megan Clifford (0.4 EFT)

Central - Melbourne 9096 5866 megan.clifford@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Support and capacity building

The department provides support and education to help organisations and staff take up a healthy ageing approach. This support includes online training, workshops, peer learning networks, resources and the translation of research into policy and practice.

Healthy Ageing Online Network (HAnet)

HAnet is a supporting resource for the department’s Healthy Ageing approach. It is an online, interactive network for health professionals and service providers to work together, share information and resources, and discuss best practice strategies to support Victorians as they get older.

Well for Life

The Well for Life toolkit is a resource to educate and support management and staff working with older people in a variety of settings. Its goal is to promote healthy ageing.

The department has recently launched a Well for life information booklet that provides information and advice for older people to follow a healthy ageing approach to life.  This booklet is available in English, Chinese, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese.