2022-23 HOPE summer Student

Posted by on 12 March 2023

Tags: , ,

These scholarships are awarded to support high achieving University students to do an ageing focused research project over the 10-week summer break. The aim is not only to achieve high quality worthwhile research, but also to enable these students to gain valuable skills, by working with experienced researchers, who supervise these projects. This year we have awarded one Summer Scholarship.

Sonja Neef - University of Auckland

Environmental factors in the movement of aged-care residents and their impact on falls and fall-related injuries in participants from Staying Upright study

S Neef HOPE summer scholar

Over the summer, I had the privilege to work on a research project examining relationships between environmental, life-space, physical, and cognitive variables on falls in elderly living in residential care facilities. As falls are a major cause of injury, rapid deterioration of health, and death in the elderly population, investigating the impact of modifiable environmental factors on fall risk is essential for facilities designed to protect and support our elderly members of society. Project findings suggest that there is no single predictor of falls, rather the complex interaction between different environmental, physical, and cognitive factors must be addressed to reduce fall risks effectively.

I am planning to pursue my master’s and future PhD thesis on social, cultural, and personal identity differences between elderly living in retirement, care, nursing, solo, intergenerational family, and couple-dyad homes across different countries, namely New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, and Germany. My personal inspiration comes from my experience caring for my grandfather, who had Parkinson’s Disease and whose primary caretaker was my grandmother. 

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the HOPE Foundation for funding this scholarship and giving me this incredible opportunity to take my first step into research on ageing.

You can also help by

  • Spreading the word about what we do / share this newsletter
  • Donating your time to the Friends Supporters to help with fundraising and committee work
  • Encouraging your children and grandchildren to invest in their futures by donating time and money (a baby girl born today has a 1 in 3 chance of living to 100 , a boy 1 in 4 and is likely to be fitter and healthier–think about the implications of that)
  • Consider a bequest