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Inside this issue Mega-Swimathon


CEO’s Column


Wellness Day Report


Employment Support & Assistance 4

MS Update Winter 2012

Entertainment Book


Fitness to Drive Standards


Strategies for Managing Memory


Health Checks for Women


The Hobart Mega Swimathon was held on May 5 – 6 at the Hobart Aquatic Centre. We had 12 teams with 140 swimmers who all made a splash for people living with MS by raising $25,000. Splash for Cash for MS was the overall winning team. They raised $7,229.36 and swam 62 kms.

Thanks so much to all our amazing swimmers and their generous supporters!!!

Robin Banks from Splash for Cash for MS was our highest adult fundraiser ($3,973). Talia Hawkes from Squirty Squids was the highest youth fundraiser ($375) Kingston Beach Surf Lifesaving Club swam the furthest distance (86.1 kms). Total distance swam over the 24 hours was 586.1 km.

MS Update Winter 2012


CEO’s COLUMN As an organisation there has been considerable activity on continuing to press the case for the Keeping Cool Campaign where there has been a joint effort from clients and MS Tasmania staff in contacting and having discussions with Members of Parliament.

It is hard to believe that half the year has gone! As an organisation there has been considerable activity on continuing to press the case for the Keeping Cool Campaign where there has been a joint effort from clients and MS Tasmania staff in contacting and having discussions with Members of Parliament. In addition we also presented to the Cost of Living Parliamentary Enquiry. Everyone has given us a fair hearing but the proof will be in the pudding when the State Budget is delivered on 17 May 2012. Clients and Staff attended the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Rally on 30 April at Parliament House Lawns. The turnout from the various organisations that could benefit from this proposed changed approach to funding was significant. It was a tri-party event where everyone made statements of support. Perhaps the happy story out of this year’s budget is the NDIS, whereby one billion dollars has been set aside for the program over the next four years. Multiple Sclerosis Australia has established through the National Services Leadership Group a combined effort to understand what is likely to be included in NDIS in terms of services and how they can be accessed by clients. The commencement of this major change in the approach to this important issue by the Federal Government is planned to be 1 July 2013. The Mega Swimathon Event held at the Hobart Aquatic Centre on 5 – 6 May was a huge success and we are planning to repeat this at the Launceston Aquatic Centre on 16 – 17 June 2012. These events run continuously over a 24 hour period and can only be undertaken with the support of organisations such as Hobart Aquatic Centre, Launceston Aquatic, Lions Clubs and Rotary together with a dedicated group of MS Staff and their families. The Hobart event has raised $25,000, had 140 competitors and was seen as a fun event for all involved. These funds will help us to continue to provide support for Tasmanians living with MS. Four applications were received for the Go for Gold Scholarships and they are of such quality that all four have been awarded. The areas of activity where they will benefit the individuals concerned are all different but definitely will benefit each client. We have started the planning process for the MS Readathon and this year it will be oversighted by Naomi Searle. Additionally the Mud Dash will be at Forth on 22 September 2012. If you would like to attend any of these planned events I encourage you to let us know so that we can address any particular issues that may need to be considered. In closing I would like to let you know that MS Australia has been active in promoting the cause of MS via its “Kiss Goodbye to MS” national campaign and this will culminate in Tasmania at a Cocktail Party hosted by the Governor on World MS Day on 30 May 2012 at Government House Hobart, where some clients will be in attendance.

Dale Eastley 2

MS Update Winter 2012

Wellness Day Report

Fran Thornton gives participants in the Ulverstone Wellness Day a “taste” of Tai Chi.

I don’t live with MS – it lives with me! to help them to live well with their MS. The In a relaxed and informal days were designed with the goal of giving atmosphere, a total of 55 clients “It was a great day our clients the opportunity to learn some and partners, together with 14 as always. Thank valuable information, to experience some highly qualified guest presenters new activities, and to have an enjoyable you so much for and the talented Client Services and memorable day. all the effort in the Team, participated in the two The theme of the Wellness Days - I don’t recent Wellness Days. The event for organisation” live with MS – it lives with me! – Illustrates our clients in the south was held at the positive attitude and commitment to the Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania, living well with MS that we encourage our and the Wellness Day for the north / northwest took place at the Ulverstone Surf Lifesaving clients to adopt. Club. Both venues have stunning water views that The Wellness Days were very successful. The clients helped to set the tone of the days. were asked to appraise the event on an evaluation form, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive In the morning at each Wellness Day, the clients for all the sessions. When asked if they would experienced high quality, informative presentations on: recommend the Wellness day to others, 100% of the • Managing Memory Changes respondents said that they would! • Keeping the Balance – Stress Management • Forward Planning • Healthy Nutrition and MS Then in the afternoons the participants had the chance to experience “tasters” in four different physical activities: • Tai Chi

• Yoga

• Belly Dancing

• Heartmoves

The Client Services Team planned the Wellness Days to provide our clients with practical information and ideas

Some of the comments were: It was a great day as always. Thank you so much for all the effort in the organisation Always good + staff fantastic!! Excellent presenters. Engaging, very informative and interesting Congratulations on a job well done

MS Update Winter 2012


Employment Support and Assistance MS can often have an impact on employment, but with the right support it is possible for many people with MS to continue working. If you need advice about looking for work or about your current employment, there are a number of services available who can provide advice and support about employment for people with a health condition, injury or disability. This support can be provided whether you are looking for work or if you are currently working and are concerned about your future. You can receive help with preparing for work including training, resume and interview skills preparation and to look for suitable jobs. If you are already in a job, you can access help with workplace assessments and modifications such as modifying your physical work environment or purchasing adaptive equipment for your workplace.

Job in Jeopardy Assistance

The Entertainment Book 2012/2013

If you have an injury, disability or health condition which is placing you at risk of losing your job, you may be able to access immediate support to help you keep your job.

The Entertainment™ Book contains hundreds of valuable up to 50% off and 2-for-1 offers from many of the best restaurants, arts, attractions, hotel accommodation, travel and much more!

Assistance you receive through the Job in Jeopardy program may include:

This year’s book is bigger and better than ever, with an exciting new retail section, and also includes offers from all-new partners including Status Dry Cleaning, Woolworths Caltex, Prouds the Jewellers and The Cheesecake Shop. The addition of new restaurants including Hadley’s Hotel, Battery Point Steakhouse, The Timeless Way and Drunken Admiral, ensures that the 2012/13 Entertainment™ Book has something for everyone!

• A comprehensive workplace assessment • Free workplace modifications or special equipment • Advice about job redesign • Support in the workplace to help manage the impact of your injury, disability or health condition

Ongoing Support Disability Employment Services can also provide ongoing support to help employers and employees manage their disability, injury or health condition at work. This includes on the job training, assisting with performance management and counselling. For more information, call JobAccess on 1800 464 800 (9am to 7pm, Monday to Friday) or visit You can also call your local Disability Employment Services provider directly, call Centrelink or contact a member of the client services team at the MS Society if you would like to find out more about services available. (Information adapted from JobAccess website May 2012, )


MS Update Winter 2012

You can view a copy of the book online: Books are $60.00 each and postage is $9.50 per book – although you can collect your book in person from our office at 15 Princes Street, Sandy Bay. The best thing about The Entertainment Book is that you save money on dining, shopping and entertainment whilst helping the MS Society to fundraise. We receive $12 from the sale of every book which helps us to continue to support people living with MS by providing nursing, counselling and case management services as well as helping our research partners in their search for a cure. To order your copy anytime please call the office on 6220 1111 or order online at www.entertainmentbook.

Revised Assessing Fitness to Drive Standards On 1st March this year the revised ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ standards were released. The standards are used by health professionals and driver licensing authorities to support consistent management of drivers regarding health conditions that may affect fitness to drive and licence status. As many people hold a driver licence, it is important to understand how medical conditions may impact on safe driving ability. Drivers are encouraged to discuss any issues they may have with their treating doctor, who will be able to inform them of any implications for their licence.

The new standards do not mean a change in responsibility for drivers. They must continue to ensure that they do not drive if they have a condition that is likely to affect their The standards have ability to drive safely, and they must been extensively revised, report such conditions to the Driver drawing on recent Licensing Authority.

research and expert opinion on the impact that various chronic medical conditions have on driving ability and crash risk.

The standards have been extensively revised, drawing on recent research and expert opinion on the impact that various chronic medical conditions have on driving ability and crash risk. The new edition features a simplified structure which focuses on conditions likely to affect fitness to drive, including: • • • • • • • • • • •

that these features will aid in the understanding of the impact that medical conditions may have on driving and facilitate patient management.

Blackouts Cardiovascular conditions Diabetes Dementia and cognitive impairment Seizures and epilepsy Other neurological conditions Musculoskeletal conditions Psychiatric conditions Sleep disorders Alcohol and substance misuse Vision and eye disorders

There is also more comprehensive guidance about the role of practical driver assessments in assessing driver capacity, including the assessment of multiple medical conditions and age-related decline. It is hoped

It is a legal requirement Australia – wide to report to the relevant transport authority in your State any medical condition – including MS – that could affect your ability to drive. In Tasmania this authority is the Registrar of Motor Vehicles at the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) – Land Transport Safety Division. Failure to report your diagnosis could result in a substantial fine and loss of your licence. At licence application and renewal, drivers can be asked to complete a declaration regarding their health, including whether they have any long-term conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or cardiovascular disease. Based on this information the driver licensing authority can request a medical examination to confirm a driver’s fitness to hold a driver licence. Your doctor will make an assessment of your fitness to continue driving and also has the relevant forms to be completed. If he/she believes that your ability to drive has not been impaired, you will be given a medical clearance and will be able to continue driving. For more information about the revised standards, please visit MS Update Winter 2012


Strategies for Managing Memory It can be normal to experience times of forgetfulness. Factors such as fatigue, mood disorders, stress and pain can all contribute to being forgetful. Other physical factors can also contribute to memory problems for people living with MS, such as MS onset, type, duration and lesion load.

Listed below are some strategies that you may find helpful in managing memory changes • Reduce distractions when concentrating on a task or conversation (e.g. turn off TV/radio, avoid noisy places) • Self-generated learning i.e. do things yourself • Repeat back what you are told or asked to remember • Write down to-be-remembered information • If required, ask for information to be given to you more slowly and in smaller ‘chunks’ so that you have more time to process it • Ask for important information to be given to you in writing • Use a tape recorder/dictaphone for important appointments i.e. medical appointments • Use alarm clocks to remind you of when to do something – if necessary place a note next to the alarm of what is to be done • Use diaries, calendars, notepads, sticky notes, lists etc to aid memory • Consider using a communication book where important information is written – sections can be created e.g. shopping, appointments, family matters etc – check this regularly • If necessary place reminder notes in appropriate areas e.g. a note on the back of the front door ’Lights turned off?’ ‘Back door locked?’ ‘Wallet?’ ‘Phone?’ • Make an information centre in your home where all memory aids are kept e.g. near the telephone, in an office/study area, in the kitchen – whatever works for you

• Develop checklists. Complete each task before starting a new one – as if you were following a cooking recipe. Don’t leave tasks half done or incomplete • Always complete a job before moving away – you might find reminder checklists helpful particularly in the kitchen – i.e. take the pot off the stove before walking away to answer the phone; turn off the tap at the sink before answering the door • Organise your environment and keep a regular daily routine • Assign a specific spot for items you lose frequently (e.g. keys, wallet) and always return them to where they belong • Do things when you think of them, or write them down, because you might forget later • For the technologically savvy: use mobile phone applications like calendars or other Apps with alarms to remind you of appointments or tasks and use Google calendar or other apps that allow you to share information width family or friends • Keep your brain active – do activities such as memory games, puzzles, Sudoku, crosswords • Learn a new skill, take up a hobby or do a course to stimulate your brain • Optimise your physical health with good nutrition, adequate sleep and exercise • Optimise your mental health and deal with stress, depression, anxiety (Taken with permission from presentations on Managing Memory Changes by Dr. Janine Martin –Clinical Neuropsychologist and Angela Watkins – Alzheimers Australia)

Choose strategies that work for you and stick with them! 6

MS Update Winter 2012

Health Checks for Women with Disabilities

Starring Staff Profile

A new service is now available in North Hobart offering health checks by a Nurse Practitioner for women with disabilities. If getting onto an examination table to have a Pap test is difficult for you, or if you are unable to manage your own regular breast examinations, this service can assist. General health checks for women are also provided at the clinic. With access to a hoist and adjustable-height examination table, as well as nursing staff on-site to offer assistance, the clinic is able to provide health checks for women with mobility problems or other disabilities. Consultations at the clinic are bulk-billed. This service is located at: The Hobart Women’s Health Centre 25 Lefroy Street, North Hobart. Bookings are essential. Call 6231 3212 to discuss your needs and to make an appointment.

Holly Marshall Administration Assistant Holly Marshall is our newest member of staff. She was doing some temporary reception work for us through an employment agency and we were so impressed with her we decided we needed her help for longer! Holly is responsible for front of house and general office administration for the Society. She grew up in New Norfolk and now lives in Rosegarland with her partner AJ and with Bella and Buckley her lovely dogs. Some of her favourites are: Favourite Food: Chinese Favourite Author: Virginia Andrews Favourite Music: Cold Chisel Next time you ring us or pop in, be sure to say hello to Holly and welcome her to the MS Society.


If you require further information about the service, please call Jane Dening at the Community Rehabilitation Unit on 6222 7291.

We are always trying to find ways to be more efficient and save on costs where we can. The MS Update newsletter is one such area that we are focusing on currently. If you have access to email and would prefer an electronic copy of the newsletter be emailed to you, please let us know. You can call us on 6220 1111 or email Thanks for your help with this! MS Update Winter 2012


Head Office Hobart 15 Princes Street Sandy Bay TAS 7005 Tel: 03 6220 1111 Northern Regional Office 18/2 Innocent Street Kings Meadows TAS 7250 Tel: 03 6343 1240 Freecall Statewide 1800 676 721

Main North & North-West Support Groups Enquiries: 6343 1240 Launceston Support Group Meets the 2nd Thursday each month at the Branch Community Centre next door to the MS Society Office (opposite the bowling alley). 18/2 Innocent Street, Kings Meadows Time: 11am to 1pm Ulverstone Support Group Meets the 4th Wednesday each month at the Ulverstone Surf Life Saving Club, Beach Road, Ulverstone (Lift access is available) Time: 11am to 2pm Circular Head Support Group Meets the 1st Monday of each month at Circular Head Rural Health Services Inc 68 Emmett Street, Smithton Time: 7.30pm Contact Jenny on 6452 1594

Southern Support Groups Enquiries: 6220 1111 Eastern Shore Support Group Meets the 2nd Friday each month at Bellerive Yacht Club (entrance to function room off lower car park). Time: 10.30 am to 12 noon Glenorchy Support Group Meets the last Friday bi-monthly at Glenorchy Community Health Centre, Meeting Room 3 – 1st Floor, Terry Street, Glenorchy. Time: 10.30am – 12 noon Note: Some days might change due to public holidays (please check your calendar).

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Update Winter 2012