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Prof. Sue Gordon

Professor of Healthy Ageing

Sue works with aged care providers and the community to optimise ageing, aged care and uptake of technology


Sue brings over 20 years of physiotherapy experience and more than 15 years of academic experience to the role of Professor of Healthy Ageing. She joined Flinders University in late 2015 in a position joint funded by Aged Care and Housing Group who she works closely with to promote a healthy ageing agenda. Her research involves collaboration with local government, aged care and health service providers and colleagues from other universities. She is investigating healthy ageing and functional decline to better understand the opportunities to identify, measure, limit and reverse early changes that are often covert.Her research in aged care workforce development has included investigating the effectiveness of simulation and coaching interventions to decrease aggressive incidents, improve person centred care and build compassion.Her work with the Flinders Digital Health Research Centre and the ARC funded Digital Enhanced Living Hub has developed and trialed Apps for the measurement of prefrailty and frailty, and assistance for people with mild cognitive impairment.


Flinders leads positive change in aged care
Flinders University

October 09, 2015

The newly appointed South Australian Chair of Restorative Care, Flinders University Strategic Professor Susan Gordon, is committed to transforming South Australia into a state that is at the forefront of active, healthy ageing and wellness...

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Symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in community-dwelling older Australian women
The Australian and New Zealand Continence Journal

2021The objective of this cross-sectional study was to investigate pelvic floor health in community dwelling South Australians aged 40 to 75 years. Participants were 656 volunteers who completed the Pelvic Floor Bother Questionnaire that included questions about frequency and associated bother for six bladder items (stress, frequency, urge, leakage, discomfort, bulging) and two bowel items (problems emptying bowel, flatulence). Sexually active participants were asked about dyspareunia. Data were analysed per-item (frequency, percent), amount of bother (median values, interquartile range), and per-summed (sub score) responses. Gender-age effects were assessed using van der Waerden tests (for non-parametric data) and univariate logistic regression models.

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Pre-frailty factors in community-dwelling 40–75 year olds: opportunities for successful ageing
BMC Geriatrics

2020There is little known about pre-frailty attributes or when changes which contribute to frailty might be detectable and amenable to change. This study explores pre-frailty and frailty in independent community-dwelling adults aged 40–75 years. Participants were recruited through local council networks, a national bank and one university in Adelaide, Australia. Fried frailty phenotype scores were calculated from measures of unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, low physical activity levels, poor hand grip strength and slow walking speed. Participants were identified as not frail (no phenotypes), pre-frail (one or two phenotypes) or frail (three or more phenotypes). Factor analysis was applied to binary forms of 25 published frailty measures Differences were tested in mean factor scores between the three Fried frailty phenotypes and ROC curves estimated predictive capacity of factors.

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Opportunities for Technology-Assisted Healthy Ageing in a Local Government Context
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics

2020Current legislation aims to enable older Australians to age in place, and puts public healthcare within the remit of local governments. As Australia’s population ages, local governments will need to explore new methods of service delivery in order to meet the increasing need for services that promote healthy ageing. Information technology (IT) may provide one such solution, however older Australian adults are reported to have low levels of technology use. In this simple descriptive qualitative study, focus groups with local government staff and community-dwelling older adults explored their perspectives regarding: a) IT solutions that councils could use to promote community-based healthy ageing, and (b) the enablers and challenges for adopting such solutions. Twenty-four adults participated in focus groups, and eleven of these adults also provided written data in response to visual prompts. Field notes were recorded by attending researchers. These three data sources were combined through narrative synthesis.

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Classification of Balance Assessment Technology: A Scoping Review of Systematic Reviews
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics

2020Accurate assessment of postural balance is necessary to identify and measure falls risk, inform clinical practice, determine efficacy of treatment and ultimately falls prevention. The aim of this scoping review was to identify gaps and inform practice, research and policy. There are a multitude of technologies available for assessing balance and no one that meets the requirements of every situation. Force plates had provided the gold standard technology for measuring centre of pressure variables as the cornerstone of balance assessment. Inertial measurements units are now considered as valid and reliable, however inertial sensors in smartphone require further refinement to measure with the same degree of accuracy. Fusion systems combine wearable and non-wearable technology in formal gait labs but also gaming. The flexibility provided choice of wearable, non-wearable and fusion systems meets most clinical and research requirements.

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Older Adults’ Experiences of Goals in Health: A Systematic Review and Metasynthesis
Journal of Applied Gerontology

2020Objective: To synthesize older adults’ experiences and perceptions of goal setting and pursuit within health systems. Methods: Six databases were searched to May 2019 using a combination of MeSH and free text terms. Included papers were written in English and reported original qualitative research for participants aged 65 years and older. Participant quotes from the results sections of included studies were gathered for thematic analysis and synthesis. Results: Initial search yielded 9,845 articles, and 134 were identified for full-text review. Fifteen papers were included in the final synthesis. Two main themes were identified: enablers (intrinsic and extrinsic) and barriers (personal and system). Conclusion: Older adults’ self-belief is the strongest enabler for goal activities, enhanced by a personalized coaching approach from health staff.

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Feasibility of population screening tests to establish a healthy ageing trajectory
SAGE Open Medicine

2019There are no agreed comprehensive tests for age-related changes to physical, emotional, mental and social functioning. Research into declining function focuses on those 75 years and older and little is known about age-related changes in younger people. The aims of this project were (1) to ascertain a comprehensive test battery that could underpin community-based health screening programmes for people aged 40–75 years and pilot both (2) community-based recruitment and (3) the utility, acceptability, response burden and logistics. A total of 11 databases were searched using a broad range of relevant terms. An identified comprehensive, recent, high-quality systematic review of screening instruments for detection of early functional decline for community-dwelling older people identified many relevant tools; however, not all body systems were addressed.

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Health deficits in community dwelling adults aged 40 to 75 years
BMC Geriatrics

2019Middle and older years are associated with age related health deficits but how early this begins and progresses is poorly understood. Better understanding is needed to address early decline and support healthier ageing outcomes. Seemingly healthy, community dwelling adults aged 40 to 75 years were recruited via local council and business networks. They completed online surveys about sleep quality, distress and physical activity, and two hours of objective testing of physiologic and anthropometric measures, mobility, cognition, grip strength, foot sensation, dexterity and functional hearing. Analysis compared outcomes for age, gender, and age and gender groups with population norms for 21 health assessments.

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Area of Expertise

Aged Care Workforce Development

Clinical Health

Clinical Sciences

Digital Technology

Fostering Health Ageing

Health and Support Services

Human Movement and Sports Science

Public Health

Public Health and Health Services




Health and Wellness


Australian Institute of Business : Management

James Cook University : Tertiary Teaching

University of South Australia : Health Science

South Australian Institute of Technology : Applied Science

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