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Issue 3 | Winter 2019 FREE Community News

Let’s talk The Secret to a Long Life.

issue IN THIS

Page 3: Local Hero’s, Bruce & Het Warrell’s 16 years of community service Page 4: Ask an Expert, introducing Home Care Packages | Page 8: People & Purpose, human relationships Page 10: Healthy Ageing, improving brain function | Page 12: Juice Power, recipes Page 14: Mindfulness, an age-old practice | Page 16: Flourishing as You Age, the PERMA-V model Page 18: Ageing as Opportunity, seeing life through a different lens Page 20: Your Driving Future, what to do when faced with surrendering your licence Page 22: A Holistic Approach, with the Alliance for Suicide Prevention Page 24: Pets Can Heal, 8 ways pets can improve an ageing persons life Page 28: The NDIS Space, ComLink is a registered transport provider Page 30: Exercise Increases Longevity, four types of exercises for seniors

Phone ComLink 1300 761 011

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Website comlink.org.au

welcome Dear Readers, Welcome to our winter edition of Let’s Talk, ‘The Secret to a Long Life’! Getting older is inevitable. While you can’t control your age, you can slow the decline of ageing with smart choices along the way. From the foods you eat and how you exercise, to your friendships and retirement goals - it all has an effect on how fast or slow your body ages. Keep reading for simple ways to keep your body tuned up and your mind tuned in. And the good news is that it’s never too late to get started!

Feda Adra Chief Executive

2. Let’s Talk

LOCAL HERO’S In April, Bruce and Het Warrell were recognised by the Kawana Companions for 16 years’ valued community service as they step down as event coordinators of the popular social support group. Kawana Companions is a social group of over 100 Sunshine Coast seniors, supported by ComLink, who gather every week at the Kawana Community Hall to play games, sing, dance, chat and enjoy the morning with like-minded people. The successful program, originally designed to address social isolation in the community, has been running for over 30 years and the last 16 years’ events have been run by Bruce and Het Warrell.

Bruce and Het were instrumental in building the Kawana Companions profile, reaching more and more people and spreading joy and community support. They also looked for ways to enhance the lives of seniors and introduced health and wellness initiatives to the group. The ComLink staff who participate in the weekly group activities, through providing transport, food and

entertainment, can see the incredible benefits that socialising outside of the home can bring to the clients. “While we are all sad to now see them go, we acknowledge Bruce and Het’s wonderful dedication and care to the Kawana Companions over the last 16 years and I hope that we were able to demonstrate to them the group’s gratitude at our farewell event,” shared Feda Adra, CEO of ComLink. Kawana Companions was created from Home and Community Care Funding (HACC) in 1987, which was offered to start a support group for transport to medical appointments, shopping and social outings and a day respite centre. In October of the same year, the day respite centre began as ‘Kawana Companions’ and was held at the Kawana Ambulance Centre until it moved to its permanent home at Kawana Community Hall, two years later. “The popularity of Companions comes from it being known to be a very happy club with plenty of good chat prior to it starting each week,” said Bruce Warrell. “We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Companions and will take with us very fond memories of the group as we pass on the baton to the next lot of event planning volunteers,” added Bruce. New members are welcome to join. Kawana Companions meet every Monday at 9:00am at the Kawana Community Hall. For more information please phone 1300 761 011.

3. The Secret to a Long Life

ASK AN EXPERT You asked and we listened! ComLink Care Expert, Tammie Guy, answers common questions relating to accessing Home Care Packages.

4. Let’s Talk

In the last edition of Let’s Talk, we discussed the types of entry level support available to help older people remain living in their own home longer. These supports are known as Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and include personal care, domestic assistance, transport, social support and respite care and are designed to provide entry level care to meet entry level care needs. But what happens if your care needs are greater than those available under the CHSP entry level support services? We know that as you age, your care needs may change as your health declines and in these instances, the entry level support services available under CHSP may not be enough to meet your individual needs.

Package becomes available for you. The length of time you may wait on the National Queue depends on how soon a Home Care Package vacancy becomes available. The National Queue is managed by My Aged Care and in many cases, the wait time can be 12+ months.

Introducing Home Care Packages The next level of care or support services you may be eligible for is a Home Care Package (HCP). The Home Care Package program is a Government subsidised program that provides long term support to older people who want to remain living in their own home longer. A Home Care Package is broken into 4 levels of care need, and each level attracts a different government subsidy amount. The higher the care need or level, the higher the Government subsidy available under that Home Care Package, as follows:

3. Assigned: When a vacancy becomes available for you to access a Home Care Package, you will receive a letter to confirm a Home Care Package has been “assigned” to you. You will then have 56 days to accept your Home Care Package assignment before that vacancy is returned to the National Queue for another person to access. Due to the high demand for Home Care Packages, you may be assigned a Home Care Package below the level you were initially approved for. In this circumstance, you can access the lower level package while you wait for your higher level package to be approved. Selecting a Provider

Level 1: Basic care needs Level 2: Low-level care needs Level 3: Intermediate care needs Level 4: High-level care needs

ComLink recommend the best time to start “shopping around” for a Home Care Package provider is when you receive the letter confirming you have been “approved” for a Home Care package. Determining the right provider for you can be time consuming and it is important you choose a provider that is going to meet your individual needs. Some things you may want to consider when researching Home Care Package providers include:

Accessing a Home Care Package There are generally three stages to access a Home Care Package: 1. Assessment: Once registered with the Government’s centralised information centre, known as My Aged Care (MAC), you will be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), to determine your eligibility and the level of care you require. ACAT will contact you and make arrangements to visit you in your home and have a comprehensive discussion with you about your health condition, your living arrangements, your support system and the care needs you have. 2. Approved: Once ACAT deem you eligible to receive a Home Care Package, you will receive a letter in the mail, confirming you have been “approved” a Home Care Package. The letter will detail the level of care you have been approved to receive i.e. Level 1, 2, 3 or 4. From here, you will automatically be placed in the National Prioritisation Queue, until a Home Care

• • • • • •

What services are available with the provider? What is the providers administration and case management fee? What are the individual hourly rates for services you may require? What is the kilometre rate for transport services? Does the provider give you access to support and services 24/7? What is the providers exit fee?

NOTE: If you are in a situation where your care needs are not being met and having to wait for your Home Care Package is a detriment to your health and safety, you should contact My Aged Care to discuss your circumstance. Alternatively, you can call ComLink and we will be more than happy to assist you where possible.

5. The Secret to a Long Life

Home Care Agreement

Management. Your provider will assign you your own specialised Case Manager to provide customised support to you while you are accessing the Home Care Package. Your Case Manager will provide support and assistance to:

Once you have selected your preferred Home Care Package provider, you will be asked to enter into a Home Care Agreement with that provider. Your entry into the Agreement with the provider is an equal partnership. The Home Care Agreement will provide detailed information about your Home Care Package and the terms and conditions within, such as:

• • • •

• • • • • • •

What your Home Care Package will provide Service Price Schedule Exit fee amount including the notice period if you choose to exit Your rights and responsibilities and the providers rights and responsibilities Your individualised care plan Your Home Care Budget Any specific conditions or variations to the Agreement

Services Under a Home Care Package Your provider will then work with you to create your individual care plan. This process will include the provider obtaining the appropriate information about you, to gain an accurate understanding of your individual needs, including discussion about your specific goals. Your provider will explain the types of services and support available to you under the Home Care Package. Some of the services include: • • • • • • • • •

Allied Health Care: Physio therapy, podiatry, massage therapy and exercise therapy Clinical Care: Wound care, medication assistance, diabetes management Domestic Assistance: Cleaning, washing and meal preparation Home Maintenance: Repairing damage to your home Home Modifications: Installation of ramps, handrails, tap fittings and security systems Personal Care: Grooming, showering, toileting, hygiene, mobility and dexterity and respite Social Support: Companionship, recreational activities and accessing community Transport: Accompanied or unaccompanied transport to attend appointments Specialist Care: Cultural, religious, counselling services, dementia, palliative and other therapeutic care Purchases: Wheel chairs, wheelie walkers, recliners, shower chairs and continence aids

Case Management

Ensure you understand your Home Care Package Ensure you have access to the services you need Ensure your Home Care Package services remain within budget Liaise with doctors, hospitals and other external stakeholders to ensure your care needs are being met Manage your concerns and answer any questions you may have, throughout the duration of your Home Care Package

Home Care Package Monthly Statement Once you commence receiving services under your Home Care Package, your provider will issue you a monthly statement, detailing the expenses utilised within your Home Care Package budget. The monthly budget will have line items detailing: • • • •

Your total Home Care Package value Description of services, support and purchase for the month The costs of each service, support and purchase Your remaining Home Care Package balance, including unspent funds

Consumer Directed Care Consumer Directed Care is a model of service delivery designed to give more choice and flexibility to people receiving Aged Care Services. Recipients of a Home Care Package have more control over the types of care and services they access, including who will deliver the services. It is important for recipients of Home Care Packages to know; you have the right to make your own decisions. Whether that be in regard to the type of service you receive or selecting the provider to deliver the services you need. And if at any point you feel your Home Care Package provider is not meeting your needs, you can opt to transfer your Home Care Package to another more suitable provider of your choice. Additional Assistance ComLink is more than happy to offer further explanation or assistance to those wanting to know more about Home Care Packages. Feel free to contact us at any time and we will be honoured to help you where we can.

An important part of your Home Care Package is Case

6. Let’s Talk


ComLink is the most wonderful organisation going. We are so happy with their service. - Maureen & Brian

7. The Secret to a Long Life



Friendships and partnerships can help keep your brain healthier as you age, increase longevity and nurture purpose.

Photo from left to right: Allison with her family - Peter, Peter Snr, Allison, Rodrick, Kathryn, Dale and Simon.

In a book by Louis Cozolino, professor of psychology at Pepperdine University, Timeless: Nature’s Formula for Health and Longevity, he emphasises the positive impact of human relationships. “Of all the experiences we need to survive and thrive, it is the experience of relating to others that is the most meaningful and important,” he writes. “Our brains are social organs, and that means that we are wired to connect with each other and to interact in groups. A life that maximizes social interaction and human-to-human contact is good for the brain at every stage, particularly for the ageing brain.” “How we bond and stay attached to others is at the core of our resilience, self-esteem, and physical health,” Cozolino writes. “We build the brains of our children through our interaction with them, and we keep our own brains growing and changing throughout life by staying connected to others.” Allison Collins has lived what many would consider a complete and even charmed life, though in her wisdom she has learned to see even serious

challenges and misfortunes as having their place and their value. She is, as she told us, ‘happy’. Allison was born in Bundaberg on the 23rd of February 1929, at a time and in a place where “everyone sang or whistled” and children were trusted to get on their bikes and “go anywhere we liked and do anything we liked”. Allison’s father trusted the Dutch servicemen stationed in Bundy during the war to accompany her to the cinema, where they would solicitously cover her eyes and ears if in their judgement a scene in the film was a bit racey. She remembers her high school years as “free” in a way that seems impossible today but which some are trying to revive. Wildlings Forest School in Nambour “want our children back outdoors and given the freedom and trust that we had... In our programs you may find children in the mud, climbing trees, whittling with pocket knives, building rafts and falling in love with fire. Because children will never learn to love the earth if they don’t have a childhood in it.” In 1948 Allison started going together with Peter, the man

8. Let’s Talk

she would marry. In 1951 they were hitched and living on a cattle station north of Gin Gin, and the first of five children was born the following year. Then came sugar cane, then a dairy. “They were the happiest years of our lives on that little dairy there. There were 22 farmers up the creek and we used to call our place Frogs Hollow in Starvation Gully, that’s what my husband used to call it. But everybody helped everybody else. If someone needed something, you’d go to them, if you wanted to use their machinery, it was really good. And we are remained really friendly with all those people up the creek.” She remembers in times of drought, bathing her five children and one husband in escalating quantities of precious, carefully rationed water, each generation murkier than the last, until by the time ‘father’ came, “there was nearly mud in that bathtub”. (And who cleaned up afterwards, we wonder.) They retired to the Sunshine Coast and went nomad, around Australia and New Zealand, Alison

to America, Peter to cattle shows and cattle sales, both of them up from the beach to Mt Isa and Darwin to visit family every year. Peter passed away in 2017. They’d been married for 66 years. So, the usual question: what’s the secret? “It’s give and take. And just forgive. Everybody has their disagreements and things like that, but you work through them. Don’t stew over it all the time. Never go to bed with an argument. Settle it before you go to bed.” Allison is a model for healthy ageing, combining nutrition, exercise and social connections. “I go to mobility classes and I go to the Ageless Grace classes and it takes me an hour every morning to do all my exercises. I have some damage in my throat, and I do speech therapy exercises after breakfast. And then in the afternoon I do more of the mobility and physio exercises. I suppose I’m doing about two hours of exercise a day. I walk around to the fruit shed and back and I do a bit of gardening. I love the company and the laughter and the music

at Ageless Grace. It’s good fun!” Allison doesn’t seem to talk, or think, in terms of physical decline, and even her circle of care is an opportunity for socialising and connecting. “I always rest between 1 and 3, that’s when the hospital says I have to do. They send a nurse over. One to three is my nana nap. Then I read the paper. Then I might have my visitors come, my next-door neighbour she comes in twice a day, morning and night. And then another neighbour comes in and checks on me. So, everybody is checking in on me.” Are there challenges to ageing in her own home? The short answer is ‘yes’. “What I’m finding is that because the house is so old everything seems to go. The windows were cracking, so ComLink has organised for new glass put in. And they have just put new securities in for me.” ComLink offer a variety of support services to keep you connected to your community and living ‘your’ life. For more information, get in touch with us.

Photo: Allison with her friends.

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HEALTHY AGEING By Vicki Doolan from Darkness Bright. Vicki is a AGE-u-cate Trainer, Ageless Grace® Educator & Trainer, Certified Dementia Communication Specialist and Natural Juice Therapist. If you’re concerned about losing brain function as you age you’re not alone. In actual fact this is one of the major health concerns in the world today. Until recently, neuroscientists believed that declining cognition was an inevitable part of ageing. But here’s the good news.

They now know that we can not only slow cognitive decline but can in fact continue to create new pathways in the brain right up until we die. And even better news - it’s as easy as child’s play. Revive Your Brain The brain has 5 primary functions: • • • • •

Strategic planning Memory and recall Analytical thinking Creativity and imagination Kinesthetic learning

Activating these primary functions leads to better brain health. Work your memory muscle and then challenge it. For example, you might have played cricket as a child. So picture yourself doing that, pretend to hold the bat, hit the ball for six, hear the crowd cheering you on. Now, try doing that again but this time with the imaginary bat in the other hand. It’s not so easy, you’ll need to 10. Let’s Talk

concentrate harder but you still hit it for six and the crowd cheers even louder. Just imagining this has stimulated all of those 5 brain functions. It’s that easy. Revive Your Body Exercise is also vitally important for healthy ageing and you will be amazed what a vigorous workout you can do in a chair. Sitting in a chair causes us to engage our core muscles, vital organs and systems of the body, and also challenges our brain to work out how to perform the exercises from a chair rather than standing.

3. The Ears: There are three little spiral canals in the ear that contain fluid. The liquid in these canals is meant to be loose but as we grow older it becomes more like gel if we don’t move it around. Remember all this requires is just 10 minutes a day. By combining your memories, your imagination, some great music and your sense of humour (because laughter is also good medicine), staying healthy as we age just becomes child’s play.

Ageless Grace® Brain Health Exercise Classes

Improve Your Balance All of our body has balance points but the three main areas we need to focus on in ageing are:

The Shed 45 Glenn Vista Place, Chevallum

1. The Feet: Our balance point is located on the base of our feet between our second and third toes. To improve our balance we need to strengthen the muscles and ankles and make the toes more flexible.

Cost $7.50 Includes class plus tea / coffee and biscuits For class days and times please contact Vicki 0409 526 982 | vicki@darknessbright.com.au

2. The Centrepoint of the Body: About 2 fingers below the belly button but right inside the centre of you. All of the parts of our bodies have to centre themselves around that point right there in the middle.

11. The Secret to a Long Life

It’s as Easy as Child’s Play

juice POWER

The American Journal of Medicine published a 2006 study on the effects of juicing on Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that consuming certain fruit and vegetable juices at least 3 times per week may play an important role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Norman Walker, author of Raw Vegetable Juices: What’s Missing in Your Body?, states that “no drug in the entire Pharmacopeia will supply the body with the live organic food atoms, vitamins, and hormones essential for the regeneration of the wear and tear that results in sickness and disease. Such food is most quickly obtained by the body when we drink fresh, raw vegetable juices.”

12. Let’s Talk

Natural Juice Therapist, Vicki Doolan, shares her juicing tips and a trio of healthy blends. “Juicing removes the pulp. This is the insoluble fibre contained in fruits and vegetables. It still contains soluble fibre which helps flush out and cleanse the cells. Juicing also allows the uptake of nutrients into the cells without the energy required for the digestion of insoluble fibres which leaves you with more energy for your day. Smoothies are also a great source of nutrients but include the insoluble fibres which help cleanse the digestive tract.”

Goldie Goodness Juice

Leafy Greens Juice

Berry Brainy Smoothie

4 Apples (granny smith or royal gala are the best)

2 Green apples

2” Piece of ginger (add more if desired)

¼ Lemon

1 Sml Handful raw nuts soaked overnight (almonds or cashews are a good choice)

2” Piece of turmeric Sprinkle of Black pepper Juice apple, ginger, turmeric. Sprinkle with black pepper and drink in the morning. Apples contain significant amounts of anti-oxidants and ginger supports memory. Research suggests that turmeric helps reduce plaque build-up which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Adding black pepper aids the uptake of turmeric into the cells.

¼ Medium cucumber 1 Stalk celery Lrg Handful of spinach leaves 3cm Slice broccoli stem Lrg Handful kale Juice all ingredients, pour over ice and enjoy. Leafy greens support a healthy body and brain. Kale contains vitamins A, C and E and selenium which are important for brain health.

13. The Secret to a Long Life

1 Sml Handful fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and/or strawberries) ½ Banana 1 Cup coconut milk 12-16 Mint Leaves Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour and enjoy. Berries are high in anti-oxidants which protect cells from damage. According to scientists they may help prevent age-related memory loss.

MINDFULNESS It’s a busy world. Sunrise, sunset. Day in, day out. You plan your day, then you plan your weekend. In the rush to accomplish necessary tasks and deal with life’s hurdles, you may find yourself losing your connection with the present moment and yourself - missing out on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Did you notice whether you felt well rested this morning or that flowers are in bloom along your route to work? bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mindfulness is an age-old practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment - and accepting it without judgment.

You can start putting mindfulness into practice with a few simple exercises.

Working in her later years and despite facing mobility challenges, 70-year-old Beth Dancing Free maintains that her ‘mind’ is her strongest tool. Beth began work in the 70’s in the “welfare field,” as it was called. She blossomed in her career, with her unique open style and a natural warmth, and upheld many roles in the care sector as a Counsellor when Kids Helpline began, support with disabled clients, and volunteer palliative care roles. This year, Beth celebrated an outstanding 11 years of work at ComLink, as a Client Support Officer. Over time, Beth’s physical health has been changing and presented her with mobility challenges. “My left knee replacement was done late last year, and I still experience constant high physical pain as my left knee heals, and my right knee is deteriorating. At times, I feel frustrated, helpless, and a lack enthusiasm to participate in my usual quality of life... including riding my much loved motorcycle!” So how does Beth overcome such challenges and keep a healthy mind? “I practice yoga. I walk, when I can. I cry when I need to, letting the pressure off and feeling the results of wonderful chemicals that my brain releases to soothe me. I tell myself ‘sleep’ when and if you want to, as tomorrow is a new day. I reach out to family and friends, a counsellor if necessary. I look for resources through inspirational books and discussions, feeling encouraged by the journeys other people take; often, much much harder than mine. Perspective helps me. I accept that my ‘mind’ is my strongest tool, no matter what the challenge.” A wealth of research supports this, finding that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health, attitudes, and behaviours. Studies have shown benefits with an array of conditions including irritable

Basic Mindfulness Meditation: Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.

Become a Sensory Observer: Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Name them “sight,” “sound,” “smell,” “taste,” or “touch” without judgment and let them go.

Become an Emotions Observer: Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration.” Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and let them go.

Eat Mindfully: When you’re having a meal, focus on your eating. Pay attention to how the food looks, smells and tastes. You may find you enjoy your food more, and stop eating when you’re full instead of automatically finishing what’s on your plate.

Beth partook in ComLink’s Pain Management Group, where participants learnt and/or refreshed mindfulness practice. Simple, clear ideas and steps are given on how to use one’s mind to assist them to reach a quiet, focused space. Class members speak of less anxiety, better sleep, and more pleasure in daily events. “We continue our practice of learning how to experience getting out of our worrying, negative heads... and into a better space, managing not only our pain... but consequently, our lives,” Beth shares. For more information on ComLink’s support services contact our friendly team on 1300 761 011. You can also visit your local library to access resources on mindfulness such as books and tapes.

14. Let’s Talk

Perspective helps me. I accept that my ‘mind’ is my strongest tool, no matter what the challenge. - Beth

15. The Secret to a Long Life

flourishing AS YOU AGE

As our overall health improves and as the age of retirement for many of us moves further and further away, it’s important to think about how the effects of ageing will impact on general ability to work and our overall wellbeing. According to Professor Martin Seligman⁴, one of the founding fathers of positive psychology, there are five pillars that underpin ‘flourishing’. This model, referred as PERMA, was further developed by Professor Emiliya Zhivotovskaya of The Flourishing Centre to include a ‘V’ for vitality, thus creating PERMA-V. The PERMA-V model serves as a practical guide for developing protective thinking and practices as we age.

finding your flow and being who you are. Seligman⁴, likens it to being ‘at one with the music’ and more importantly, an activity that helps you lose track of time. Illardi³, proposes that losing self-consciousness through engaging in hobbies or interests in one of the most powerful ways to ward off depression.

P: Positive Emotions

You are never too old to invest in relationships and make the time to genuinely connect with lovedones. Show kindness, express gratitude and make the time to disconnect from technology. It is about feeling loved, valued and connected with others. Know which friends and family members replenish you or deplete you. Make conscious decisions about who and how you spend time with people.

Aim to create moments of positivity in your day. Get out in nature, connect with friends, find a reason to laugh, go for a walk or do the simple things that you love to do. Know what makes you happy. E: Engagement Engagement is about being interested and involved in life. It is about knowing and playing to your strengths as a way of helping you feel more confident, energised and connected. Engagement is about

R: Relationships

M: Cultivate Meaning Meaning is about having a sense of direction and feeling that our lives are worthwhile. It’s about 16. Let’s Talk

connecting with someone bigger than ourselves. Take time to connect with the difference you make to others every day. Connect with your values and let them be your compass in decision making. Train your brain to recall the positive interactions, the patients you saved and the difference you make. Connect with your values, write them down and make them your compass. Having a sense of direction and living with purpose makes our lives feel worthwhile. It’s a reminder that we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. A: Accomplishment You are never too old to have life goals! Accomplishment is all about your belief and ability to achieve what you want. A sense of mastery and progress goes a long way to building resilience. Track your goals and celebrate successes. Develop your skills and knowledge in areas that assist you to combat the challenges of ageing.

with general physical and mental health, but it is not a simple relationship. Research suggests that most things that have a negative effect on physical health or mood also have a negative effect on vitality. Smoking, a poor diet, inactivity, and a stressful environment are all negatively associated with vitality (and health). Look after your body with good nutrition and regular exercise. Studies continue to show a strong relationship between the gut and our emotional state. We now know over ninety per cent of serotonin production occurs in the small intestine². One Australian study also showed that a sporting activity, three times a week can reduce psychological distress by up to thirty-four per cent¹. As you age, it’s also important to maintain a sleep routine as best as you can. •

Going to bed and getting up at the same time where possible, with a recommended 7-9 hours’ sleep period for adults⁵.

If you’re prone to worrying or ruminating over the day’s events, consider setting a ‘worry window’. This means allowing yourself five to ten minutes to review the day before you transition to bed. Recognise what is in your control and out of your control in that present moment. Now ‘close’ your worry window, knowing your list will be there for you in the morning.

Transitioning to sleep i.e. sending your brain the signal that it’s time to rest. This can include turning off major lights, cooling the room, taking a shower or drinking a warm drink. It can also be useful to quieten the mind by removing smartphones. Avoid exercise, caffeine and stimulating activities before bed. This should also be the routine if you are oncall or trying to rest between after-hours calls.

Don’t force yourself to sleep. If you’re still awake after 30 minutes, get up and do something boring in another room. Keep lights dim. When you feel tired, return to your room. This helps your brain recognise that bedrooms are for sleeping.

V: Vitality Vitality is about creating optimal bodies through health and wellness. Vitality is strongly associated

Content collected from: ¹ Brumby, S et al. 2011 ‘Reducing psychological distress and obesity in Australian farmers by promoting physical activity’, BMC Public Health, vol. 11, no. 362. Retrieved from http:// www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/11/362/prepub ² Foster, J and Neufeld, KA 2013 ‘Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression’, Trends in Neurosciences, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 305-312 ³ Ilardi, S 2010 ‘The Depression Cure’ Vermilion Penguin Random House UK ⁴ Seligman, M 2011 Flourish. New York: Free Press. pp. 16–20 ⁵ Watson, N et al. 2015 ‘Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: A joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society’, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 591-592

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AGEING AS OPPORTUNITY “Old age is a shipwreck.” - Charles de Gaulle. Most of us live in a world where ageing, and particularly ‘old age’ (whatever that is), is seen through a ‘deficit’ lens, a story of decline, loss, limitation, immobility and constraint. In this way of seeing things, care for the aged becomes a welfare task, helping the unfortunate improvise their way to a life and a lifestyle somehow commensurate with that lofty state enjoyed by the young. And which they have lost. Forever. Sadly. But of course a lens is just that – a lens, a filter. We can look through a telescope through either end, and sometimes the telescope turns out to be a kaleidoscope! What if we were to set aside our ‘deficit’ lens and pick up an ‘asset’ one? What if ageing is not framed as a period of decline and loss, but a time of growth and gain? How might that effect our own experience of ageing, our story of ageing, and very importantly, the perceptions of our family and others around us?

No one would argue that ageing brings ‘deficit’ experiences, as bits of our bodies get cranky or rusty, and as the spectre of cognitive decline, perhaps dementia, looms like everyone’s most unwelcome guest. But this article is about perception and perspective. The journalist Carl Honoré wrote the influential In Praise of Slow in 2004. You might have read about the ‘slow food’ movement, ‘slow cities’ (and even ‘slow sex’). That’s Carl. ‘Slow’ means taking things as they are meant to be taken, accepting the unfolding of nature and natural events at a natural pace, rather than all that hurry and hustle to get to that somehow-ever-elusive ‘goal’. The project is not about the destination, says Honoré and his millions of readers, but the journey.

18. Let’s Talk

Now he has published B(older): Making the Most of our Longer Lives, based on three years of travel and research, and he’s applying a different lens to ageing, a lens of possibility, potential and opportunity. For a start, things are not as sad as they may seem. Many studies show that people over 60 report that they’re happier that they have been throughout their life course. Honoré says, “that doesn’t take away from the fact that many people will be very unhappy, but the story we are told and that we tell ourselves is that everyone is unhappy. It’s always the worst-case scenario: that’s what we are contaminated by.” Despite the obvious and expected challenges of ageing, what elements of the experience offer opportunities for growth – perhaps not physical growth, but social, cultural and spiritual growth? What might we do? Honoré suggests 12 strategies: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

If you think of yourself as old, you will be old Take yourself out of your comfort zone Try to stay healthy. Eat well and take lots of exercise Look for positive role models (Helen Mirren, anyone?) Seek to become the person you always wanted to be

6. Don’t just maintain social connections with your own age group 7. Be willing to let stuff go 8. Ageing should be a process of opening rather than closing doors 9. Honesty is the best policy 10. Love and romance is not just the preserve of the young 11. Ignore people who say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks 12. Don’t pretend death isn’t coming At ComLink we are grinding and polishing our ‘asset’ lens, growing our social support services, connecting people, exploring technologies for linking and bonding, all from a sure-footed base of compassionate, kind, friendly and flexible relationships both inside and outside the gate. We are growing a Wisdom Ecology!

read more

Article: The Guardian, Age against the machine: the secret to enjoying a long life. theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/03/age-against-the-machine-secret-enjoying-longlife-carl-honore Book: In Praise of Slow and B(older): Making the Most of our Longer Lives by Carl Honoré

19. The Secret to a Long Life



What do people do when they’re faced with surrendering their licence? Robyn, a middle age working woman, had a fall which resulted in a torn rotator cuff, a very painful and inconvenient experience. As a result of her injury, Robyn found herself relying on her family to help her do things that she has done most of her life. The other obstacle she faced was the inability to drive. “I had to rely on family and friends to get me to work and to medical appointments.”

Most people have been driving all their adult life and the moment they find themselves relying on others to get them places can be very difficult and overwhelming. They need the support but don’t want to feel like a burden. What does this mean for ageing people? And what preparation should they undergo before they find themselves without a licence?

20. Let’s Talk

Currently, The Department of Transport and Main Road makes drivers get a medical certificate if they want to keep their licence once they turn 75 years of age. Older drivers need to go back to a doctor every 13 months to get the certificate renewed, but doctors who want more regular checks can issue a certificate for a shorter period. Also, Queensland doctors have the power to immediately suspend a person’s licence if they feel they pose an immediate threat on the roads. Why wait until your licence is suspended before you start looking at transport options so you can continue to participate in the community? It may be prudent to consider options available to you for your future transport needs while you’re still able to drive until you find yourself suddenly grounded or have the decision made for you. Give yourself a ten year plan, be prepared and learn about your local area services. There are many options that you can choose to investigate for your future while you’re still driving. Look into what public transport options are available in your area and replace one of your trips with public transport. Use a bus instead to go to your local shopping centre. Browse the internet to read up on service providers that meet your values and have the services of choice.

If you find yourself, or know of a loved one who is starting to show some of the warning signs below of unsafe driving, you should talk to your/their doctor. Some warning signs of unsafe driving are: •

Frequent close calls (i.e., almost crashing), dents and scrapes on the car or on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, and curbs.

Increased citations, traffic tickets or “warnings” by traffic or law enforcement officers.

Trouble with the fundamentals of driving such as making sudden lane changes, drifting into other lanes, and braking or accelerating suddenly without reason. Other examples include failing to use the turn signal, or keeping the signal on without changing lanes.

Eyesight problems like not seeing traffic lights and street signs, or having to drive closer and closer to them to see them clearly. Hearing problems such as not hearing emergency sirens or horns honking.

Problems with memory including missing exits that used to be second nature or getting lost frequently. While everyone has occasional lapses, if there’s an increasing pattern, it’s time to get evaluated by a doctor.

Problems with reflexes and range of motion such as not reacting quickly enough if there’s a need to brake suddenly or quickly look back, confusing the accelerator and brake pedals, getting flustered while driving, or being quick to anger when behind the wheel.

Just because we age, it doesn’t automatically mean we’ll lose all driving ability. If we take the time to plan and set the foundations early, it will ease the transition and give you time to adjust. It’s important to know that there are many options available to help you remain connected. If you are thinking of surrendering your licence because of your age or health and don’t know where to start, you are not alone. Just contact ComLink and we will guide you through the process.

read more https://www.qld.gov.au/seniors

21. The Secret to a Long Life

A HOLISTIC APPROACH Organisations across the Sunshine Coast have joined forces to help prevent suicide, with the Alliance for Suicide Prevention - Sunshine Coast. Among those organisations, proudly is ComLink. Depression is a high prevalence, at times severe, and often lifethreatening mental health disorder. It affects the lives of many Australians every day. It is often associated with deep suffering and can be an enormous burden to those affected. The Alliance was formed by USC’s Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience Institute – Thompson Institute and strives to create a connected community to improve mental health and resiliency to suicidality and its precursors for the Sunshine Coast.

Research Fellow in Suicide Prevention Dr Amanda Clacy said on average one person per week died by suicide on the Sunshine Coast, which is higher than the national average. “For every Australian that takes their own life, 100 people are impacted,” she said, noting that four in five local suicides were men. “The Coast has plenty of organisations, support groups and community groups working in this space, but until now they’ve not necessarily been interconnected or working together,” added Dr Clacy.

experiencing depression or suicidal ideation, high risk groups and their relatives “We know there is a very strong link between depressive symptoms and suicidality and so the idea is that if we can reduce the rate of depression, we can identify it, we can put people into care, and we have discernible impact on suicidality on the Sunshine Coast,” said Professor Lagopoulos. The Alliance is focusing on providing suicide prevention training for members of the community,

The Alliance is a holistic approach; an integrated network who share knowledge and resources and offer a comprehensive picture of the support available to the Sunshine Coast. Thompson Institute Director Professor Jim Lagopoulos said the alliance was based on the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) model because of its grounding evidence. The EAAD model is recognised as the world’s best practice for the care of people with depression and in the prevention of suicide. An initial trial region of Nuremberg resulted in a 24% reduction of suicidal acts within two years. The framework is based on the following: • •

Provision of training to general practitioners Development and implementation of a depression awareness campaign Provision of training to community with a gatekeeper role Support for patients 22. Let’s Talk

building public awareness on depression and mental health and promoting a collaborative voice on issues of critical importance to the Sunshine Coast region. About 30 groups have come on board already and they welcome new partners to integrate suicide prevention strategies into their organisation.

get involved!

www.thealliance.org.au Content collected from: https://www.thealliance.org.au/

There’s always more that we can do to help our staff and volunteers in the mental health space. Training, education and awareness; it’s a whole community approach that we need to take. - Feda Adra, ComLink CEO

23. The Secret to a Long Life



Pets play an important role in the lives of many people throughout the world, and there is a growing body of research indicating a positive relationship between pet ownership and human health and wellbeing. For the elderly, a curled-up cat, a tail-wagging dog, a chirping bird or even a serene goldfish may be especially impactful, given how common loneliness and social isolation are within this age group.

24. Let’s Talk

Pets help older adults cope with health issues, get active and connect with others. First published in a Poll on Healthy Ageing¹ where researchers surveyed around 2000 adults from the age of 50 to 80, 55% said they owned at least one pet. Dogs were the most common pet, followed by cats and small animals, such as birds. But no matter the type of animal, the vast majority of owners said their pets boosted their mental and physical health. Nearly 90% of older pet owners said their animals helped them enjoy life and feel loved; roughly 80% said their pets reduced stress; and almost three-quarters said their furry friends provided a sense of purpose, according to the poll. Sixty percent also said their pets helped them cope with physical and emotional health issues. Below are 8 ways pets can improve an ageing person’s life²: Aid Recovery Many studies have been carried out to show that animals can have a significant impact on emotional wellbeing. This in itself can lead to a quicker physical recovery,

perhaps following a fall, an operation, or infection. Research shows that there is a mutual interaction of oxytocin release for both an owner and their pet through touch, smell, and sound. Oxytocin has a powerful physiological effect. It lowers the heart rate and blood pressure leading to reduced levels of stress. In some cases, petting an animal has even been shown to be more effective than common anti-hypertension drugs. Research also indicates that owning an animal could even extend your life. If you have an animal you are much less likely to have a heart attack and if you have a heart attack you are three to four times more likely to survive it than if you don’t have an animal. Fight Loneliness Elderly people may have moved from their home to a care facility, they may be far away from their family and friends, or may even have lost a loved one. It’s therefore understandable that many elderly people find themselves feeling lonely from time to time. However, with their unconditional love, animals can be a huge help in combatting loneliness.

25. The Secret to a Long Life

Lift Spirits

Offer Security

Pets are kind of like your personal therapist. As well as elderly people feeling lonely, there are lots of difficult changes to come to terms with. They may have aches or pains, may not be able to do things they once did, may have lost those dear to them or may even be considering the next stages of their own life. As a result, elderly people may feel unhappy, or even depressed.

For elderly people who find themselves living alone, it can be unsettling, especially at night. Elderly people can often feel vulnerable, even though their home may be physically secure. A pet, whether it’s a cat, dog or even a budgerigar, can sometimes provide an extra sense of security as they will no longer feel alone.

Depression can have lots of negative effects on a person’s health. It can lead to inactivity and even refusal to eat.

Aid Mobility As people get older, special therapy dogs can be a

Owning a pet can give elderly people a renewed sense of purpose. It’s a reason for them to get up and look after themselves, as they now have someone relying on them, to provide food, water, love, and attention. Animals seem to almost have healing powers when it comes to making you feel a little bit human again. Furry, Hairy, Feathery Teachers Pets teach us many lessons, including responsibility and compassion. They can also show us how to live in the moment, how to play, and how to love openly and fully. Ultimately these lessons help us to be better people.

significant help, particularly around the home. For those with limited mobility, dogs can help them collect objects, or walk with those who have limited visibility. Another way therapy dogs can help the elderly is in an emergency, such as a fall. A trained dog may be able to retrieve the telephone or get help quickly in other ways.

Improve Sociability

How and Where to Find the Right Pet?

Some elderly people may struggle to communicate with others or find being around lots of other people overwhelming. Animals can serve as a catalyst for human friendships, since they often get caretakers out in the community.

While breeders are a good source, adopting from shelters such as RSPCA is usually much less expensive and comes with the added benefits of giving an unwanted animal a home and possibly saving it from euthanasia. Shelter employees often know each animal’s personality well and can assist in making a good match. Some shelters even offer reduced adoption fees for older pets and adopters age 55 and up.

In a recent journal The Pet Factor³ it was found that pets can precipitate more than just incidental contact or casual conversations with strangers. For instance, in a previously published study undertaken in Perth, Western Australia, 40.5% of pet owners reported getting to know people in their suburb as a result of their pet. Knowing people within the local community can be an important antidote to isolation and social disconnectedness, regardless of whether or not it deepens into friendships. Pets are also magnets for adventures, big and small. Simply going to your local cafe or park can be exciting and is an opportunity to socialise. Even ‘stay at home’ pets can help your social life. Having a pet is a great icebreaker and who doesn’t love looking at animal photos!

Online pet shopping is also possible which allows potential owners to search for their perfect pet. However, it’s still recommended to meet a potential pet in person to more accurately gauge the fit. That one animal is going to experience all the love you can give, and it will give it back times a hundred.

Content collected from:

¹ healthyagingpoll.org/report/how-pets-contribute-healthy-aging ² hellocaremail.com.au/healing-benefits-animals-elderly/ ³ https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0122085

26. Let’s Talk

27. The Secret to a Long Life

THE NDIS SPACE For many clients, access to community is extremely important for their quality of life. ComLink is proud to be a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider for transport. Transport services help clients stay engaged with their friends and family and supports autonomy and dignity.

Who is eligible? In order to be eligible for the NDIS scheme, certain criteria must be met. Applicants must be: •

What is the NDIS? For the first time in Australia, people with a disability will have a choice as to where and how their support services can be accessed. The NDIS is a government funded scheme that aims to provide flexible management, increased assistance and create better outcomes for people under the age of 65 with a disability to live an ordinary life. It also helps families and carers with information about services to support people with a disability. An estimated 261,000 Queenslanders are living with a profound or severe disability. Disabilities are not only physical, they can also include intellectual, sensory and mental disability.

each life stage; attending primary and high school, having access to further education, holding a job, developing a career, seeing films and concerts, taking a holiday. Not everyone with a disability can do all of these things but with the right support, the NDIS aims to assist people in getting as close as they want to or is possible.

What Does the NDIS With ComLink Cover Specifically? Our transport services will provide eligible NDIS clients equitable access to a myriad of vital everyday needs. Whether it’s meeting with friends or family, going to the shops or attending medical appointments. ComLink is here to connect you.

Largely it’s about the milestones of 28. Let’s Talk

Aged between 0–65 years old (although already enrolled participants, once they turn 65, can choose either to continue with the NDIS or transfer to the aged care support system available to all Australians over 65). Live permanently in Australia; Australian citizen, permanent resident. Have a mental illness or disability that is permanent, significant or lifelong and affects day-to-day living.

Participants will be assessed based on the impact of their disability on functional capacity to communicate, interact socially, learn, move safely around their home and the built environment and manage personal care and affairs (banking, bill paying etc.) Early intervention supports will be available to achieve a benefit that would help mitigate the effects of an impairment, to alleviate or prevent the deterioration of functional capacity, or strengthen informal supports. Creating Your NDIS plan Once you have undergone the assessments and been deemed eligible for the NDIS, you will be given a “plan” of “pathway”. An NDIS plan is a document that outlines the client’s life goals and the services that will help them achieve those goals. Every person’s plan is different, depending entirely on their individual needs. A caseworker will work closely with you to create a plan.

Starting Your NDIS plan After taking a look at your needs and desires for the future, the caseworker will give you the option of service providers. You can choose which ones you want, with some of your existing providers support able to continue on initially. Depending on the severity of the disability, some clients will have a Care Planner coordinate their plan and may also have a Carer travelling with them. Review Every twelve months your NDIS Plan will come under review to ensure you are getting the level of care you need and want. This is important for both providers and participants. If you need help with the process talk to your service provider, your GP, or family and friends to help you get started. For more information about the NDIS, other services available under the NDIS scheme and eligibility go to ndis.gov.au or phone 1800 800 110.

29. The Secret to a Long Life


INCREASES LONGEVITY A recent Swedish study found that physical activity was the number one contributor to longevity, adding extra years to your life. But getting active is not just about adding years to your life, it’s about adding life to your years. Here we share 4 types of exercises. Remember safety first! Before you even get those workout shoes moving, be sure to check with your doctor and get the go-ahead. Always start slowly and build up speed, variation and strength as you go. Remember that when doing any exercise, it is crucial for you to listen to your body. If at any point during the exercise you feel any pain, discomfort, or lightheadedness, stop and take your time to rest.

Endurance, Strength, Flexibility, and Balance – these are the keys to a more active and free lifestyle. There are many types of exercises that are well suited for seniors. Some seniors are able to handle any or all types of exercising. It is a testament to your perseverance if you are one of the few. But even if you find it difficult, get out there and exercise to increase longevity.

30. Let’s Talk



Also referred to as cardio or aerobic exercises, these activities are characterised by an increase in heart rate and breathing for an extended period of time. This type of exercise helps build your endurance so you are able to perform daily activities with ease. It means being able to walk for a much longer distance, climb up and down the stairs, or do whatever activity you want to without panting or having to stop to catch your breath. It also strengthens your heart muscles as well as your lungs. Basically, it improves your overall fitness. Examples of cardio exercises:

Strength exercises are activities that help build muscle strength. Do you still need that? All the more. Of course, you’re not going bulk up like a bodybuilder but you need to continue building your muscle mass. Studies conducted by different institutions have demonstrated that strength training exhibited the following benefits:

Endurance Exercises

• • • • • •

Walking Jogging or brisk walking Dancing (line dancing, etc.) Stationary bicycle Swimming Gardening (raking, digging, etc.)

Strength Exercises

• • • • • • •

Improved glucose metabolism Increased bone mineral density Faster gastrointestinal transit Increased resting metabolism Reduced arthritic discomfort Increased lower back strength Reduced lower back pain

greatly improves your range of movement; hence, it gives you more freedom to move and to more easily carry out your daily activities so you stay active and become more independent. Examples of strength flexibility exercises: • • •

Yoga Shoulder and upper arm raise Back, upper body, neck, ankle, calf and hip stretches


Balance Exercises This is another type of exercise many seniors can benefit from considering that they easily lose their balance, thus increasing their susceptibility to falls.

In other words, older adults have been shown to maintain a normal weight, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, and have more strength to carry out daily activities. Strength exercises are also shown to help correct body posture. Examples of strength training exercises:

Research shows that adults are brought to emergency departments each year due to fall-related injuries; and further that falls among older adults are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury deaths.

• • •

Through exercise, you are able to improve your balance as well as strengthen your muscles to keep you from falling. Examples of strength balance exercises:

Weight training or lifting weights Resistive band exercises Using your body weight for pushups (against the wall) or lunges

Ultimately, be sure to only perform these exercises with the assistance of your trainer to ensure proper execution and to ensure safety, as a priority.

• • • • •


• •

Also called stretching exercises, flexibility exercises allow you to stretch your muscles to give your body more flexibility. Seniors can benefit a lot from this type of exercise since we lose our muscle elasticity as we age. Therefore, doing this exercise

So you see, there are so many exercises that you can do to improve your overall fitness and increase longevity. It just takes an ounce of determination, a pint of hard work and a tablespoon of positivity, and soon you will enjoy a body that is much stronger, healthier and more active.

Flexibility Exercises

31. The Secret to a Long Life

Yoga Tai Chi Standing on one leg Walking heel-to-toe Standing on tiptoes and holding for a few seconds Leg swings Balancing routines



Do you have a story you would like to share? Or a topic of interest you would like to know more about? We’d love hear from YOU! Write to us at lets.talk@comlink.org.au or phone 07 5390 1200.

Let’s Talk Community News is a FREE bi-annual magazine by ComLink. ComLink is a for purpose (not-for-profit) organisation which provides transport and care services across Queensland. At ComLink, our mission is to link the community through affordable transport and care solutions, develop a dedicated workforce of amazing volunteers and staff and continue to innovate to help people live longer, happier and socially connected lives! ComLink has a large range of services throughout Queensland and the best part about it all is, we are in the business of saying YES! Our mission is to ensure everyone who needs assistance, has access to it. Our motto is, “if we can’t do it, we will find someone who can!”

Phone ComLink 1300 761 011

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Website comlink.org.au

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Let's Talk 'The Secret to a Long Life' | Community News | Issue 3 2019  

Welcome to our winter edition of Let’s Talk, ‘The Secret to a Long Life’! Getting older is inevitable. While you can’t control your age, yo...

Let's Talk 'The Secret to a Long Life' | Community News | Issue 3 2019  

Welcome to our winter edition of Let’s Talk, ‘The Secret to a Long Life’! Getting older is inevitable. While you can’t control your age, yo...