News & Events


November 15, 2021

A spread of fish, fruit and vegetables

OCAV residents at Leith Park and Rushall Park will have the opportunity to take part in a study exploring whether the heavily plant-based Mediterranean diet and daily exercise can slow the development of dementia in older people.

OCAV has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Swinburne University, the University of South Australia, and other research partners to start the two-year MedWalk trial early this year.

“We will be inviting residents to meet with the researchers to learn more about the trial early in 2022, and to sign up if interested,” Phillip Wohlers, CEO of OCAV, said.

The research is engaging with older Australians aged 60-90 years who live in independent and retirement living villages in South Australia and Victoria.

The trial will explore the benefits of healthy physical lifestyle combined with a Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fish and low in saturated fats, red meat and alcohol.

Dr Greg Kennedy, Project Manager, said the study aimed to see whether a Mediterranean diet and daily walking could slow the development of dementia.

The study will also look at other health outcomes including cardiovascular health, cognitive function, gut microbiome and wellbeing, he said.

The study involves participants recording all food and beverages consumed and the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Score, which is a 14-point score categorising key food groups in a Mediterranean diet.

Previous research has shown a Mediterranean diet among older people could reduce risks related to cardiovascular health. Other studies found improvements in cognitive performance among older people living in independent living facilities in Victoria.

“Cognition is important to maintain through older ages. As that declines or if it rapidly declines in a more serious way, that can increase your risk of dementia,” Dr Kennedy said.

The other research partners include Australia’s Deakin University, La Trobe University, RMIT University and Murdoch University, Sheffield Hallam University and University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and University College Cork in Ireland.

The study is funded by a $1.8 million National Health and Medical Research Council grant.



Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."

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