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Barbara Blundell

Senior Lecturer at Curtin University | Dementia and Ageing Researcher

Photo of Barbara Blundell

Professional Area: Social Work

My research focuses on

  • Ageing and disability issues, including care services, social policy and advocacy

My research aims to

  • Highlight the lived experience of older people and the impact that ageing and disability has on their every day lives
  • Investigate social policies and service delivery barriers for age care to improve quality of care and accessibility

I work closely with

  • Advocare
  • Older Persons Advocacy Network
  • Alzheimer’s WA
  • Silver Chain

Barbara’s Story

I first became interested in working with older people when completing my degree in social work. I was working weekends as a carer at an aged care facility and really enjoyed connecting with the residents and learning about their stories. I started working at Advocare as an aged care advocate after graduating and also worked on social policy concerning care for older people. I also continued this type of work at the Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Western Australia.

In 2005 I did my PhD in human rights in residential aged care and began my research journey. Over the past 20 years I have conducted a number of research projects in ageing in partnership with both government and non-government organisations in Western Australia and Queensland. Consumers and service users tend to be the focus of my research and are often involved as participants or consult in reference groups.

I get a lot of satisfaction from examining older people’s personal experiences along with the impact of the social, service and policy context on their lives to highlight inequities and social justice issues in the hope of creating positive change. I regularly provide advocacy training to advocates at Advocare and I continue to speak at conferences about current and past research to discuss elder abuse and continue the discourse on what we can do better.