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MARCH, 2019// SENIORS

Longevity: debits/credits

INDEX 3 4 6 8 10 12 16 17 22 24 26 27

News - Australia’s great learner Love is in the air after 70 years Early test for new boss Brits want pension upgrade Community group guide New true, costs of ageing prisoners Money Wanderlust Wellbeing Living What’s on Puzzles

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Good health & wellbeing at a price

17 Try travelling solo but not single

Gail Forrer Seniors Group Editor HELLO friends. This month I couldn’t resist celebrating Dr David Bottomley’s life-long learning journey. Regardless of age, his curiosity to know, learn and contribute to society seems unabated and they’re the qualities I’m sure we would all like to keep intact. But I do know that besides academic learning, we, as elders, have a good deal to share with other generations. Personally, I love a day at the river with my granddaughter just chatting about everything we see around us – there’s so much to explore, explain and enjoy as we share our lives together. As we know, one of the key factors changing the world today is increased longevity. The same as everything else, these extra years have their debits and credits. This month, our regular double-page feature investigates how authorities are dealing with ageing prisoners. For instance, people in wheelchairs need wider corridors, dementia patients require alternative caring and, ultimately, the big question: should the needs of ageing prisoners be facilitated

within the prison system or should they be settled in nursing homes? As we go to press with this story, the topic is emphasised with a physically ailing 77-year-old Cardinal George Pell being sentenced to prison. To give us a worldwide view on this particular issue, I have also written about the situation in Japan, which boasts the best longevity rates in the world. Our Wellbeing and Living pages have a wide range of tips on how to lead our best senior lives - including sunscreen in our morning routine to better sleep habits and, yes, if you have the space, how to grow grapes and, of course, we always end with our whopper puzzle. — Enjoy, Gail

CONTACT US General Manager Geoff Crockett – 07 5430 1006 geoff.crockett@news.com.au Editor Gail Forrer – 07 5435 3203 gail.forrer@seniorsnewspaper.com.au Media Sales Executive Brett Mauger – 07 3623 1657 brett.mauger@seniorsnewspaper.com.au Online Get your news online at www.seniorsnews.com.au Advertising, editorial and distribution enquiries Phone: 1300 880 265 or (07) 5435 3200 Email: advertising@seniorsnewspaper.com.au or editor@seniorsnewspaper.com.au Location: 2 Newspaper Place, Maroochydore 4558 Website: www.seniorsnews.com.au Subscriptions Only $39.90 for one year (12 editions) including GST and postage anywhere in Australia. Please call our circulations services on 1300 361 604 and quote “Wide Bay Seniors Newspaper”. The Seniors Newspaper is published monthly and distributed free in southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. The Seniors newspaper stable includes Toowoomba, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Northern NSW, Coffs and Clarence and Central Coast publications. Published by News Corp Australia Printed by News Corp Australia, Yandina. Opinions expressed by contributors to Seniors Newspapers are not necessarily those of the editor or the owner/publisher and publication of advertisements implies no endorsement by the owner/publisher.

AI road tests Queensland QUEENSLAND University of Technology researchers are taking an electric car fitted with high-tech artificial intelligence sensors and computers on a three-month, 1200km Queensland road trip. Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the road trip in a zero-emissions Renault ZOE would map

Queensland roads for the cars of the future. “The QUT trial, in partnership with the Palaszczuk Government, is the first step in charting Queensland’s vast and varied road network for new vehicle technologies,” Mr Bailey said. “As researchers drive the car across Queensland, onboard sensors will build a virtual map to help refine AI-equipped vehicles to drive safely on our roads.

“It’s early days yet, but artificial intelligence technology and smart road infrastructure have potential to transform the way we travel in Queensland and reduce road trauma. “This is world-leading transport technology research and it’s happening right here in Queensland.” The road trip is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s Cooperative and Highly Automated

Driving pilot and is supported by the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre. Professor Michael Milford from QUT’s Australian Centre for Robotic Vision said the challenge for the current generation of automated vehicles was driving as well as people. “Engineers at QUT’s research engineering facility have developed a research car platform equipped with a range of

state-of-the-art camera and lidar sensors used on automated vehicles,” Prof Milford said. “As we drive, AI will watch and determine if it could perform the same as a human driver in all conditions.” Prof Milford said early testing of the system had already revealed how a paint spill on the road could confuse a selfdriving AI system into wrongly identifying it as a lane marking.

The upcoming research will specifically look at how the automated vehicle’s AI system adapts to road conditions in four main areas: ■ Lane markings; ■ Traffic lights; ■ Street signage; and ■ Overcoming the limitations of GPS systems in built-up areas and tunnels for vehicle positioning. More information is online at www.qld.gov.au/cavi.

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SENIORS \\MARCH, 2019

COVER STORY

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Australia’s great learner Dr David gives new life to old knowledge

Tracey Johnstone DAVID Bottomley AM is Australia’s newest and oldest PhD graduate after completing his study of ancient school education methods that he believes have relevance to today’s school teachers. The 94-year-old said his wife, Anne, joked with him that he was a bit slow in getting a PhD, but after seven years of study he finished one year ahead of schedule. Dr Bottomley finished his first degree in 1948, took up teaching science and maths before moving into working in and studying social and market research. In 2008, 60 years after his first degree, he completed a Masters in Education. His love of study and of stretching his mind beyond the norm is in his blood. His father was a minister who welcomed his children to his library. “I worked my way up from the lowest shelf that I could reach,” he said. That experience instilled in him an enthusiasm to question everything. “It’s just a normal process where whatever you are placed in, you want to understand it and question it,” the scholar said. He cited the Royal Society of London’s motto that a science person should question, never just accept, and look for correlation. His brother Bob, who has a PhD in enzymatic chemistry, worked with the local flour millers during WWII to transform

LIFELONG LEARNING: Australia’s oldest PhD graduate, Curtin University’s Dr David Bottomley AM with his wife, Anne. the protein level of Victorians. He has a daughter, aged in her 60s, studying for a PhD in music and a granddaughter finishing a degree in medicine. Dr Bottomley’s Doctor of Philosophy was achieved through West Australia’s Curtin University and under the guidance of Distinguished Professor David Treagust. “I took five headmasters of equal positions in the 19th century, who were quite well known in the field of history of science, and I looked for the similarities and differences within these five,” he said. Each teacher created within the school

curriculum situations which Dr Bottomley’s described as “leading to students fitting in and running within a stimulating environment to higher learning for themselves”. Not surprisingly, about half his small home in Melbourne is taken up with his study materials which have grown to almost 80 lever-arch files full of his research. “It’s a rather crowded one,” Dr Bottomley says with a chuckle. “I am now redistributing the files with ideas for the next step.” The idea of stopping vigorously exercising his mind is all but a brief lapse in this exceptional

man’s thinking. He jokes he is in “great need of a haircut”, and since finishing his PhD, feeling “bored stiff”. But that is doubtful. While he might, for a brief moment, have wondered what he would do with himself each day, it’s taken no time for his curiosity to reassert itself. While Dr Bottomley addresses his need to get more active by heading out the door, pushing his walker around and studying his world, his mind is actively considering his next intellectual challenge. He has already identified as an outcome of his PhD thesis the subject of his next area of

study; “exploring the concomitance of creativity in schools”. He wants to find some area of interest from this research that will be valuable to current school teachers. Also on the radar is the wellbeing of his wife of 68 years. Anne lives in an aged care facility close-by. Dr Bottomley visits her three or four times a week and has keenly observed the environment she is living in. “We can change our focus by changing one letter,” he said. Care to cure is what he is talking about. “The challenge today is cure. What I hope to explore is people with

Photo: Jaimi Joy

different skills, crossfertilising with each other,” he said. “I would love to be in the position to make a presentation to this Royal Commission about nursing homes because what I want to say is, ‘heaven’s sake, change the idea of care to cure and you change the whole axis of your thinking about one of the huge problems of today’. “There is an enormous amount here I don’t know, but I hope to explore. “I wonder how many vested interests are going to resist me?” The learning journey is ongoing for this scholar, who happily describes life as “really exciting”.

ORGANISERS of local events for Seniors Week 2019 have the opportunity to apply for grants of up to $1000 to help bring their ideas to life. The Council of the Ageing (COTA) Queensland is coordinating the grants off the back of a $100,000 subsidy from the Queensland State Government aimed at helping to turn the annual event into one to remember across the state.

This year, Queensland Seniors Week is on from August 17-25. It provides opportunities to promote positive community attitudes towards older people and ageing, facilitate community participation, and enhance community connections. COTA Queensland Seniors Week coordinator Lisa Hodgkinson said it’s a great time to get out to events and activities, connect with people in your communities and

explore programs and services. “Last year 870 events were held, with 115 events funded by the Queensland Government. “Through the 115 funded events we celebrated with more than 26,000 people and we are anticipating another big week in 2019,” Ms Hodgkinson said. To find out more and to make an application log on to qldseniorsweek.org.au.

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MARCH, 2019// SENIORS

Love is in the air, after 70 years of marriage CHALKING up 70 years together is a real cause for celebration, and Bolton Clarke At Home Support clients Rex and Fay have some very simple secrets to a long and loving marriage. An inspiration to their four children, 10 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren, for more than seven decades Rex, 95 and Fay, 89 have said “I love you” every day. They also keep the romance alive with the help of weekly date days arranged through their Home Care Package. The pair met at highland dancing, where Fay was performing and Rex fell in love with her ankles. “She had racehorse ankles,” Rex says. “She had to have good ankles to catch me!” “He was asking other people out for dances, but I think it was just chemistry,” adds Fay. “I saw him and there was something about

him.” When Rex asked Fay’s father for permission to marry her, the answer was conditional. They were allowed to be engaged but could not marry until Rex had a house. Fay’s parents expected it would take a few years, but such was his love for Fay and his desire to marry her, Rex had the house built in just 11 months. Rex was a bullock worker in the Bunya Mountains before a three-year stint in the RAAF. The couple lived in Roma for many years, where he was integral in the planning and construction of the Pinaroo Cottages Aged Care community with the support of Rotary, serving as President for a year. The site was opened by Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen, who lived in a cottage behind Rex and Fay. Sir Joh helped Rex put up a water tank at Pinaroo in

TRUE LOVE: Fay and Rex, pictured on Valentine's Day, are still deeply in love after 70 years of marriage. the cold and sleet. When asked about the secret to their long marriage, the pair say it wasn’t always easy to get along – they have had their share of arguments, but communication and

compromise are important. “Never take an argument to the bedroom, and always talk it over. Life’s too short to complain,” says Fay. She remembers on one

early date she wanted to see the film The Red Shoes, released in 1948, about a ballerina. Rex hates ballet but took Fay to see the film, where they sat in the dress circle. He harrumphed all the way

through it, such was his displeasure – but he did it for Fay. These days the couple’s home is a shrine to their love and the family they have created, filled with photographs down the generations. But a photo cannot capture the way they look lovingly at one another, and the love has not waned in almost 71 years of marriage. Neither has the romance – this Valentine’s Day, Rex worked with Home Care Package Planner Sue Davidson to plan a special outing. The team arranged a new dress for Fay and a buttonhole for Rex, collected them from home and took them for a special lunch at Hervey Bay’s Waterfront Restaurant. After more than 70 years, it’s a well deserved celebration. Their dedication to one another and the love they share is the true essence of the feast day of St Valentine.

Moving brings new life Alison Houston DID you ever think that moving house could change your identity? It’s true for all ages, but particularly for seniors choosing to retire overseas, to seaside or rural idylls, from the farm to town or city, to be near family, downsizing or moving to a nursing home. “Our identities are created and evolve in places,” said Dr Rachael Wallis, of USQ’s Institute for Resilient Regions. When we move to a new house, particularly if it’s a big move to a new area, we become the newcomer, which influences how we are perceived by others, and how we perceive them. We lose our “comfort zone” of our local neighbourhood, roads, shops and healthcare we are familiar with, people and faces we know, perhaps even behaviours and attitudes we expect. If you no longer work or have children at school, it can be more difficult to make social connections. Rachael’s research has

shown that people who become actively involved in their new community, through social or sporting clubs and charities or volunteering, thereby getting to know people and making new friends, have much happier and more successful moves. Being open to changing your own ways and attitudes was also important, particularly if you moved to a country with a different culture. “The people who adapt most easily are those who get themselves involved and find a community of people they can talk to easily,” Rachael said. “It’s important to be satisfied and happy in yourself in order to make inroads into making a new life.” Being realistic about the things you can and cannot control is important. For instance moving solely to be near family who already have their own full life, and expecting them to change for you, could be setting yourself up for failure. “You need to clearly establish guidelines so

AT HOME: Dr Rachael Wallis said our identities are shaped by our environment, and our choices are heavily influenced by media, such as this image of herself at home in a pretty Toowoomba country setting. Photo: Bruce Woolley everyone’s expectations are clear from the start,” Rachael said. It was also very important, she said, not to underestimate how much our ideas are influenced by the media in all its forms when making our decisions, and to fact-check as much as

possible. People reported being influenced towards sea or tree changes by programs as far back as the 1970s British TV series The Good Life, through to A Country Practice, Sea Change and River Cottage, as well as by movies, books, poetry and art, painting an idyllic

small-town life, without importing into that picture the realities and demands of their own lives. Unlike other moves, which are generally seen as positive, providing new-found freedom, job options or the chance to have a family, for seniors forced to downsize or

move into a nursing home due to health concerns, moving is often associated with negative emotions, fear and loss of independence. “The important thing is that it is that person’s decision,” Rachael said. Taking a proactive approach was again the key to success, she said, looking at downsizing or accepting home care help, for instance, as means of maintaining independence, and accepting having lived long enough to reach the age of needing help as a positive. “What is most important is to have good relationships and for life to be meaningful,” Rachael said. That could mean completing a crossword, reading, helping a neighbour, keeping in touch by phone, letters or social media, or whatever your situation allows to stay interested and ward off isolation. “It all helps you feel bigger than yourself – that you are useful and you are not facing ageing on your own.”


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NEWS

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MARYBOROUGH’S MURALS: Benjamin Higgins or 'Mr Mupz' is an artist whose practice spans murals, street art and illustration.

A most decorated soldier A PORTRAIT of Maryborough’s most decorated serviceman during World War II is the subject of the Maryborough Mural Project Charity’s most recently completed mural. He was Frank Lawrence DFC DFM. “One of Flight Commander Frank Lawrence’s proudest moments was his participation in Operation Manna, dropping foodstuffs to the Dutch starving in the Netherlands”, said

Elizabeth Lowrie, a founding committee member of the charity. “Operation Manna flew a total of 139 Manna sorties between 30 April and 7 May to the Rotterdam area – a total of 343,350 kilograms of foodstuffs were dropped. “This is the third and final mural for our southern museum wall,” said John Meyers, a director of Maryborough’s Military Museum. “It completes our partnership with the charity – the other two are

the Battle of Long Tan mural and the Tubby Clayton mural. Three excellent pieces of art with a story to tell. They fully represent Maryborough’s participation in Australia’s war years, World War I and II and the Vietnam War.” Benjamin Higgins or ‘Mr Mupz’ is an artist whose practice spans murals, street art and illustration. His primary media include aerosol, acrylic, ink and watercolour. Painting for the past 16 years, he has produced

and exhibited a vast array of artworks – from walls to galleries – both around Australia and overseas. With his diverse art skills and influences drawn from surrealism, magical realism, nature, wizardry, and beyond, his style continues to delve into the unexplored depths of his imagination. The Maryborough Mural Project Trail is comprised of over 30 murals and installations – an easy two-kilometre walk around Maryborough’s CBD. A fantastic weekend

activity! If you have not already seen it, drop into the Town Hall Visitor’s Centre for a self-guided map. Map pads for accommodation venues to hand out to their visitors are available from Fraser Coast Opportunities and Events. If you like what MMP does, be a volunteer or send your donation to: Maryborough Mural Project - BOQ BSB:124080 and Account No: 22621596.

‘‘

It completes our partnership with the charity

— Elizabeth Lowrie

Opportunity for groups to receive CARE Grants STOCKLAND has announced the launch of its annual CARE Grants program for 2019, inviting local not-for-profit and community groups to apply for funding to help create more cohesive, inclusive and engaging community-based programs and local opportunities. Committed to shaping vibrant communities, Stockland will once again award up to $300,000 to organisations across the country to support local

community-building initiatives. Stockland’s CARE Grants program offers funding support to local groups, clubs and programs who support health, wellbeing, community connection, education, or local environmental initiatives. Those seeking funding are encouraged to apply for a CARE Grant via the Stockland Shopping Centre, Residential Community or Retirement Living Village in their local

government area or go to stockland.com.au. about-stockland/ stockland-in-thecommunity/care-grants. Tiernan O’Rourke, Chief Financial Officer at Stockland, said: “Stockland is proud to once again lend a hand to community groups across Australia with the 2019 CARE Grants program. “This program enables us to recognise and invest in and show our support for the local community groups who make such a

difference to the social fabric of where we live, work, shop and play, now and into the future.” Since 2014, the Stockland CARE Grants program has distributed more than $1.2 million in funding to more than 1000 local community groups across the country. “Stockland has a long-standing commitment to work with the community through its shopping centres, retirement living villages

and residential communities across the country. “We focus on building liveable, thriving communities and are proud to support local groups who make such a difference in their communities every single day.” said Mr O’Rourke. Stockland’s CARE Grants program is accepting entries from 9am (AEDT) Monday, February 25, until 5pm (AEDT) on Friday, March 22, 2019.

Community groups will be selected based on a range of criteria relating to Stockland’s key community and environmental focus areas. The grant recipients will be announced from week commencing May 27, 2019. For details on Stockland CARE Grants program, past recipients and selection criteria please go to stockland.com.au /caregrants.


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Early test for new boss Improved standards of aged care top of agenda

THE new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner has a big job ahead of her, keeping watch over a rapidly changing sector as it provides vital services for older Australians, writes Jennifer Hullick. After the dire challenges faced by aged care service recipients and providers in recent years – with the Oakden nursing home tragedy at the forefront – the sector is undergoing major change across Australia, says new federal Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson. Anderson took up her position on January 2, at the head of the new national commission which replaces the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency. The commission’s purpose is to hold aged care service providers to account and to attend to recipients’ complaints. “Under our Act, we are required to ... enhance the safety, health, quality of life and wellbeing of aged care recipients,” Anderson said. “It’s making sure that aged care providers receiving Commonwealth subsidies are doing the job that is expected of them. “Those standards – which are about to change – set out as clearly as possible the way in which services need to be delivered, but more particularly the outcome being sought from the delivery of care.

AGED CARE ROYAL COMMISSION ❚ It’s been a baptism of fire for new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson, with The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety opening in Adelaide on January 18 just two weeks after she started in the job ❚ Senior Counsel Assisting Peter Gray told the preliminary hearing that 54 per cent of submissions raised issues about unsafe care, while 59 per cent aired concerns about staffing ratios ❚ The first formal hearings of the Royal Commission were held in mid-February

The new Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, Janet Anderson, is determined to ensure that aged care providers receiving government subsidies are meeting the standards expected of them. Photo: Britta Campion “My audit teams go into nursing homes and look at the home care services and make an assessment of the extent to which those services are compliant with the standards. “That’s a core function.” Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said the new commission would better target substandard care and work to ensure the safety of older Australians.

“A single commissioner overseeing compliance monitoring, complaints and customer service means no more silos,” Wyatt said. “For the first time, senior Australians and their loved ones have one place to go when they need help, want to raise a concern or access information about an aged care service. “The commission will also be empowered by the

new aged care Charter of Rights and will implement the new, stronger set of Aged Care Quality Standards, the first upgrade of standards in 20 years.” Speaking soon after taking on the new role, Anderson said she was optimistic about the future of the sector, with ongoing changes aimed at improving outcomes for older people. “We are also looking to

develop Consumer Experience Reports by home care recipients,” she said. The report system is an innovation recently introduced in nursing homes, which is revealing a raft of additional information previously unavailable to watchdog agencies or consumers. “If you go on our website, you can search by nursing home and find what the residents are

saying and their feedback on the care they are receiving,” Anderson said. “We haven’t yet introduced that for home care recipients but we are looking at the design ... so we can get the voice of the home care consumer as richly as we’ve now managed it for nursing home recipients.” Anderson said, in more than 90 per cent of cases, the commission had been able to achieve a resolution of consumer complaints to the agency. To fulfil its role, the commission has regional offices in every jurisdiction except the Northern Territory, which is serviced from Adelaide, with auditors making local visits to nursing homes and checking the standard of services from home care and home support providers.

Equal aged care access plan for multicultural communities OLDER Australians from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background are at the centre of the Aged Care Diversity Action Plan released at the end of February by the Federal Government. Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, said the plan was designed to help Australians with this background to overcome barriers they may face in accessing aged care services. “Australia’s diversity is one of our greatest

strengths and as our population ages our government is determined to ensure equal access to high-quality, culturally comfortable aged care for people of multicultural heritage,” Mr Wyatt said. “Staying connected to your culture and being cared for by someone who understands your background can make all the difference to a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.” In 2016, there were 3.7 million Australians aged 65 years and over. Of this number, one-third were

born in a non-English speaking country. “It may be a lack of awareness and knowledge of services available, concerns over the complexity of the aged care system, language barriers or lack of CALDappropriate aged care providers that prevent senior people from easily accessing the right aged care services,” Mr Wyatt said. “This new Action Plan will help guide aged care recipients and their families, while assisting providers to ensure their

DIVERSE: The Aged Care Diversity Action Plan will help people express their needs to aged care providers. Photo: real444 services are inclusive and culturally safe for all consumers in their care. “The plan links to resources to help senior

CALD people and families express their needs when communicating with aged care providers. “In addition, people working in aged care – doctors, nurses, support staff and allied health workers – will find it valuable to understand the perspectives of CALD people. “I thank the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, which held extensive consultations Australia wide. FECCA consulted older people from CALD backgrounds, their

families, advocates and representatives, carers, aged care providers, health professionals and other peak agencies.” Around 700 individuals provided feedback for the plan. “Everyone in Australia has the right to access quality, inclusive and culturally safe aged care services that cater to their individual needs and respect their background and life experiences. The CALD Action Plan is available at agedcare.health.gov.au


SENIORS \\MARCH, 2019

TALK ‘N’ THOUGHTS

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The Best Quality Assisted Living in the Wide Bay

Fighting for a fairer go

Gail Forrer NATIONAL Seniors has launched its 2019-20 Budget Submission calling on the government to redress decades of neglect. Recommendations included: setting the pension rate independent of government; increasing assistance for private renters; supporting access to online services; expanding dental care for pensioners; helping pensioners with energy costs; and unlocking the productive wealth of the family home. National Seniors Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke said Australians wanted a fair-go for pensioners and the submission recommendations provided practical ways to ensure their standard of living kept pace with community expectations. “The aged care royal commission has focused attention on Australia’s failure to support vulnerable older people,” Mr Henschke said. “We are also failing our pensioners, and our Budget Submission recommendations are an investment that can curtail future public spending on the ageing

population.” AGE PENSION TRIBUNAL ■ AN Age Pension Tribunal should independently set the Age Pension rate to take the politics out of the pension. Mr Henschke said the pension had become a target for budget cuts with younger taxpayers being told they are bearing the tax burden to support seniors. “The tribunal would take responsibility for calculating a fair and adequate pension rate and any supplements based on need and circumstance,” Mr Henschke said. “It’s decisions would be accepted without debate in the same way monetary policy is set by the Reserve Bank.” REDUCING THE AGE PENSION TAPER RATE ■ THE submission also called for the Age Pension asset test taper rate to be cut from $3 to $2. “This previous budget measure had a punitive impact on older Australians, discouraging them from saving for retirement, and must be reversed,” Mr Henschke said. “The current taper rate disadvantages those who have saved, relative to those who haven’t.” “It forces retirees to take on riskier investments simply to generate the same income they would get if

eligible for the pension. The alternative is they consume their savings to precipitate eligibility for the pension.” MAKING ESSENTIAL SERVICES MORE AFFORDABLE ■ THE submission emphasised lifting government incentives and subsidies that enabled pensioners to access essentials such as energy, dental care, internet and housing. “Accessing the private rental market, which is increasingly out of reach for many pensioners, can be improved by lifting the maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance,” Mr Henschke said. He also said low income households were hardest hit by escalating energy prices. Indexing the Energy Supplement in line with the energy component of CPI would help pensioners and encourage government action to keep energy prices stable. The submission also called for improved oral health through the provision of basic dental care to be expanded for pensioners, and greater support for pensioners to access services and social connection online through subsidised connection to the NBN or another internet provider.

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FAIR-GO: Budget submission recommendations have provided practical ways to ensure Australian pensioners standard of living, keeps pace with community expectations. Photo: shapecharge


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Art captures home help Remembering life on domestic front “IN AN era of past conflict, unimaginable human sacrifice has been called upon to meet and overcome the challenges and demands of war,” said Deborah Hannam about one of the Maryborough Mural Project’s controversial installations. “This sculpture, called The Domestic Front: Lest We Forget is intended to remind us all of the tremendous fortitude, commitment and support provided by Australian women domestically during the war years. “Steeped in symbology, the piece is for public viewing in Old Town Hall Arcade, entry from 425 Kent St. Opening times are 9-5 weekdays,” said Elizabeth Lowrie, the project’s co-founder. “Much art is controversial, and this piece certainly is. It was created for the Anzac Centenary in 2016. “It’s deceptive, and only when you get up close do you understand how

intricate and thoughtprovoking the symbology in the piece really is. “MMP loved it so much we bought it from the sculptor to add to our Trail in June last year. “We just forgot to tell everyone about it in our rush to have the Trail up and running!” Sculptor Lisa Baier says she has been “potty” since 1998 when she attended a night course in ceramics. Her main focus has been on symbolic sculpture and altered tableware to represent both imperfection and individuality. As a community-minded person, Lisa has participated in the Benalla Ceramic Mural Project in Victoria and facilitated a totemic installation in Cooma, NSW which personified the “sisterhood” between Yamaha City in Japan and Cooma. To date, Lisa continues to produce both distinctive hand-built

Check out The Domestic Front: Lest We Forget sculpture at 425 Kent St this month. sculptures and individualised tableware while promoting more community endeavours with a collective group of local artists. See this thought-provoking

sculpture as part of the Maryborough Mural Project Trail, which is comprised of over 30 murals and installations – an easy two-kilometre walk around Maryborough’s CBD.

Drop into the Town Hall Visitor’s Centre for a self-guided map. Map pads for venues to hand out to visitors are available from Fraser Coast Opportunities and Events.

Photo: Contributed

If you like what MMP does, be a volunteer or send your donation to: Maryborough Mural Project. C/- BOQ: BSB:124080; Account No: 22621596.

Brits want pension upgrade HISTORY OF BRITISH PENSIONS

Gail Forrer FEELING ripped off. That’s how Jim Tilley feels, but he’s not leaving it at that. He’s up and fighting to see that all British ex-pats living in Australia understand the legalities of the UK state age pension. As the spokesperson for British Pensions in Australia [BPiA], he wants every person who has paid into compulsory national insurance contributions when working in the UK, to have the same pension rights as any other British citizen – living in the country or not. He aims to change the laws that freeze the UK age pension payment to Australian ex-pats from their year of relocation. He believes that regardless of location, people who paid into the British system should be entitled to the same annual yearly increases as any other British citizens. The British overseas residents pension situation has anomalies, which BPiA are seriously challenging.

EQUAL RIGHTS: Jim Tilley believes Aussie ex-pat pensioners are suffering monetary discrimination. Firstly, according to the BPiA, the UK pensions are up-rated annually for citizens living in the USA, Israel, the EU, the Philippines, Turkey etc, but they are not uprated in 48 of the 53 Commonwealth nations. Indeed when Mr Tilley put pen to paper, he was scathing of the system that is allowing the current pension scheme

to continue. “Freezing pensions of British ex-pats is an example of blatant miserly British Government discrimination from a nation which believes in and promotes itself as being fair minded, respecting equality, sound ethics and moral behaviour,” he wrote. Mr Tilley said there are many reasons people

leave their country, but it’s not usually for a grand holiday, moreover it’s often to support their family in other countries, and it is likely they have paid a lifetime of taxes into the British system. The BPiA has recently been supported by stage and screen actor Miriam Margolyes, who is no less scandalised and warns that the policy “plunges

the most vulnerable into poverty”. The BPiA are there to support anyone who finds interested in finding out about their eligibility for the the UK age pension. For help, either phone 1300 308 353 or visit www.bpia.org.au and in return for a small annual membership sub, they will give you their help.

Late 1940s: UK state pensions were first payable abroad. At the same time the UK began negotiating reciprocal agreements on a country by country basis. 1980s: The government stopped signing new agreements and the situations has not changed since. COUNTRIES WHERE THE BRITISH PENSION IS INDEXED Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, United States. COUNTRIES WHERE THE BRITISH PENSION IS NOT INDEXED There are about 90 counties (many in the Commonwealth) including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India and Pakistan.


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Community notes

Community group guide TO ALLOW for readers’ requests for the publication of more neighbourhood news, please keep notices short and to the point (100 word maximum). If you would like to submit a photo ensure it is at least 180dpi or 500kb to 1mb in size and of faces, in a nice bright setting. Email editor@seniorsnewspaper.com.au.

GYMPIE NATIONAL SENIORS

AS IT was Valentine’s Day, heart-shaped chocolates were on the plates and some members dressed in the traditional red and white colours. Also, it was “Find a frog month” so lots of ornamental frogs were placed as decorations on the tables. Guest speaker was Ian Mackay from the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee. Ian showed true-size photos of endangered species of creatures which are only found in the Mary River. These were The Mary River Turtle, Mary River Cod and the Mary River Lungfish. Raffle winners were Shirley Lund and Lynette Jensen, while lucky door winners were Jenny Murray and Barbara Riggs.

BURRUM DISTRICT COMMUNITY MEN’S SHED

THE Hervey Bay RSL is well known for the donations the club hands out to the local community. Last year Hervey Bay RSL supported the local community with cash and in-kind support of over $400,000. On Thursday, February 29, 37 clubs were presented with

donations as a result of the most recent grant applications. The Burrum District Community Men’s Shed was fortunate to receive $2655 for purchase a new bandsaw as a replacement for our current outdated piece of equipment. This new bandsaw will enable our Men’s Shed to continue its valuable work in supporting men’s health in the local community. The Burrum District Community Men’s Shed thanks the Hervey Bay RSL for its generous support.

QUOTA PREEASTER EVENT

MARYBOROUGH Quota Club welcomes you to come along to its preEaster event on Saturday, March 30. Doors open at noon for a 1pm start. Free entry and afternoon tea. Sandwiches, chips & drinks to purchase. Quality prizes, raffle, lucky door. Proceeds to local charities. Tombola Pensioner’s Hall, Adelaide Street, Maryborough.

FREE SUPPORT SERVICE FOR SENIORS

THE Seniors Legal and Support Service is a community service providing free legal advice

GIVING THANKS: The Hervey Bay VIEW Club's annual Thanksgiving Service was held in the beautiful old church in the grounds of the Hervey Bay Historical Museum. and support for seniors 60 years and over, who are experiencing or at risk of elder abuse, mistreatment or financial exploitation. The service can provide information, advice and support including: Short-term counselling / advocacy; Information on your legal rights; advice on Enduring Power of Attorney documents; referrals to other support, legal and consumer services; community education. For further information, phone 07 4124 6863 or call into the office situated at Shop 6, 16 Torquay Road, Hervey Bay (opp RSL) – Monday to Friday 9am-3pm.

VIEW CLUBS

Fraser Coast The VIEW Club Committee for 2019 elected in February, meets on the first Thursday of each month. Our members will attend the International Women’s Day in March and our guest speaker will be Warrant Officer Class 1 Kim Newman. She will speak about her career in the Australian Army and the Queensland Police Service. For more

Some of the Gympie National Seniors ladies dressed for Valentine's Day (Back: left to right) Fay Groves, Marion Manthey, Val Harris, Glenis Cameron, Dawn Treeby and Lorelle Darlington. Seated Jan Davies, Mayflower Kanitz and Kathy Sandison.

information, phone Michelle on 07 4194 5995. Hervey Bay OUR meetings and luncheon are always the second Monday of each month at the Club House, Tooth Street, Pialba from 10.30am and usually includes a guest speaker. Monthly socials are on the fourth Monday at various venues from 9.30am. February included the election of our committee for the year and our annual Thanksgiving Service, which had the best-ever attendance. Our club continues to grow with new members joining on a regular basis to enjoy the friendship and fun that we offer all our members. Our club’s focus is to continually raise funds for the Smith Family to support our Learning for Life Students with their education. New or interested ladies are always welcome to join our very friendly club. Phone Mary on 07 4128 3908 for more information.

ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT RETIREMENT LIVING?

COME along to a free “Retirement Living Options” session presented by lawyers from Caxton Legal Centre. These talks will give an overview of different legal issues in retirement villages, manufactured home parks and other types of accommodation, with a focus on what you need to know before making the big decision about where to live in retirement. We will be visiting Hervey Bay library on Tuesday, May 14 from 3-4.30pm and the Maryborough Library on Wednesday, May 15 from 10-11.30am. Places are limited, please phone Michelle on 07 3214 6333 to RSVP.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

THE Hervey Bay and Maryborough Multiple Sclerosis Support Group meets on the first Friday of each month on the Deck at the Hervey Bay RSL at 10am for a coffee and a chat. The March meeting had the best attendance ever and we had two guest speakers from Physikal Health Services with Rick Hoefnagels an accredited

exercise physiologist and Tasmyn, a physiotherapist who has just joined the team. As mentioned before, our monthly meetings are very therapeutic for members to share and listen to the problems of others. We are very fortunate to have several ladies as carers and volunteers to assist and help several of our members, and to them we say a big thank you. Phone Bev on 07 4128 2692 or email bev_cornwell11 @outlook.com for more information.

HERVEY BAY CRAFTERS MOTHER’S DAY CRAFT FAIR

THE Fair will be held at the Hervey Bay RSL on May 4 & 5 at 9.30am-3pm. Stalls of locally hand-crafted goods will make lovely gifts for Mother’s Day. A large variety of gifts for ages one to 101. Win chocolates and champagne for Mum every day. Admission is free. Morning tea and lunch always available. Raffle supporting Meals on Wheels Fraser Community.

WOMEN’S DAY: Faye Waterman, Michelle Pollock, Sandra Saunders, Ros Kitchen, Jean Jennings Zone Councillor, Lainey Sanders President, Jacky Hens and Pauline Harriden from the Fraser Coast VIEW Club.


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The new, true costs of Tracey Johnstone PHIL Goulding stopped talking. It was only for a few moments, but the silence was noticeable. Up until then our conversation had been flowing freely. You see, we were talking about the face of ageing prisoners in Australia and it was quickly evident there is a lot of sensitivity around the subject. Mr Goulding is the deputy general manager of operations at Melbourne’s Wintringham, a specialist aged care provider for the homeless and disadvantaged. He is a member of a growing cohort of professionals across Australia gradually peeling back the layers to reveal the challenges for ageing prisoners who are in custody, rehabilitation or on release from prison, and for the corrective and justice health care workers managing these people. The professionals are focused on people aged 50 and over; in the prison system they are considered ‘ageing’. Many of them have entered the system with chronic health issues brought on by drug and alcohol use, poor nutrition, lack of medical care and, for some, after spending a lot of their life in both prison and juvenile detention. All of this escalates age-related illnesses. Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) researcher Matthew Willis said these factors often resulted in high levels of physical, mental health and cognitive impairment, and higher vulnerability to victimisation within the general prison population. These ageing prisoners fall loosely into four categories – recidivists, first-time prisoners incarcerated at an older age, inmates who are growing old in prison due to long sentences, and those who commit crime as a result of cognitive damage or decline.

GOING UP

The number of senior prisioners is increasing and so too is the cost of providing appropriate aged care health support and facilities which they have a right to access as stipulated under the UN Human Rights Committee in its International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights . In particular, this states the

AGEING JUSTICE: A snapshot of life inside the NSW Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network at Long Bay Correctional Centre. Photo:

NSW Justice Health

Dr Natasha Ginnivan, Justice Health Program, Uni New South Wales. right of a prisoner to be treated with humanity, dignity and respect while in detention. At June 30, 2018 there were 5,554 prisoners aged 50 years and over – 94.3 per cent male and 5.7 per cent female – adding to Australia’s burgeoning prison population. This is an increase of 81.6 per cent between 2001 and 2010, and another increase of 67 per cent from 2010 to 2018. At the same June date there were 1,156 prisoners aged 65 years

and over – 97.2 per cent male and 2.7 per cent female. Between 2001 and 2010 there was an increase of about 128 per cent, and a further increase of 119.4 per cent during the years to 2018. The ABS in its Prisoners in Australia Report 2018 noted 62 per cent of the prisoners aged 65 and over have a “serious offence/charge of sexual assault and related offences”. The increase in numbers isn’t due solely to an ageing Australian population.

“Another part of it is some of the changes we have had to sentencing laws and parole laws,” Mr Willis said. Parole is now harder to get, which can result in people staying in prison for longer. There has also been improvements in DNA technology, investigative techniques and information handling which have all impacted on prosecuting old offences, including sex offences which can carry long life sentences. The consequence of the growth in older prisoners is an increase in remand costs due to specialist service delivery and facilities, changes to prison activities and upskilling correction and health services staff to cater for this cohort. In 2013-14 it was costing about $292 per prisoner per day according to the Report on Government Services 2015. The 1999 AIC report Elderly inmates: issues for Australia calculated that cost increases three-fold for ageing prisoners.

WHO’S IN CHARGE

Currently eight jurisdictions look after prisoner welfare in Australia, each with its

own ageing prisoner management approach. UNSW Kirby Institute researcher Dr Natasha Ginnivan suggests it’s time for a national policy approach to deal with accelerated ageing. “Because there isn’t a management plan in place for dementia, cognitive impairment or frailty, or pre-frailty which is a measure that has been used in population ageing, we don’t know the prevalence of some of the muscular-skeletal and mild cognitive concerns within this population,” Dr Ginnivan said. “We know that when they get to a certain stage it becomes very expensive to house them when they are frail, not withstanding the human rights issues around providing appropriate care.” NSW, then Queensland and Victoria have the greatest number of ageing prisoners. In NSW, a Correction Services spokesperson reports most of the state’s older inmates are in mainstream facilities and their medical or disability concerns are considered, including placement in bottom bunks or ground floor placement. “The infrastructure at some facilities has also been modified with

hand-rails above beds and in bathrooms, easy-to-use taps and ramps in yards,” the spokesperson said. Elderly and frail inmates are located in the Long Bay Aged Care Rehabilitation Unit and the Kevin Waller Unit. Old-age and neuro psychiatrist Dr Sharon Reutens said NSW had speciality psychiatrists and geriatricians, and speciality units to address the problems around dementia in ageing prisoners. Corrections Victoria (CV) developed a framework for 2015-2020 which identifies actions around designing and managing its correction services to meet the needs of its ageing prisoners. Subsequently, CV last month entered a contract with Wintringham. Mr Goulding said: “We’ve been asked to provide advice on older prisoners and assessing them for their care needs.” “It’s a really positive step. It’s the first time there is an acknowledgement that there is a gap.” Over the next three years they will look at two prisons to identify aged care needs, including where some prisoners


SENIORS \\MARCH, 2019

NEWS

ageing prisoners

A world grappling with longevity issues

Gail Forrer

Acacia Prison in West Australia which has speciality aged care facilities included its design. Photo: Russell Barton won’t admit their needs as they don’t want to be transferred. “At the end of the project, then further planning will be done.” Many of Victoria’s ageing prisoners are in a handful of centres such as Port Phillip Prison and the Hopkins Correctional Centre, which has recently been refurbished specifically to cater for prisoners needing aged care support. The Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) spokesperson said “while prison can be a challenging environment for older prisoners, every reasonable effort is made to support them while in our custody”.

CRITICAL CHALLENGES

In most states correctional facilities are cognisant of, or acting on, providing some facilities for ageing prisoners. But Dr Reutens questions how will justice health not only identify, but also cater for the complexities of dementia. “We need a societal discussion about it,” she said. “I think it has to stem from what is the purpose of prison and does

FORETOLD forewarned: Increased longevity is a fact of life in many parts of the planet, but it is Japan that boasts the world’s best longevity rates, with 27.3 per cent of its citizens 65 years or older. However, on the flip side of the coin, complaints and arrests involving elderly Japanese people, and women in particular, are taking place at rates above those of any other demographic in the country. Almost one in five women in a Japanese prison is a senior. Their crimes are usually minor – nine in 10 senior women who’ve been convicted were

‘‘

Long Bay Correctional Centre staff help elderly inmates tend to their bonsai plants.

Photo: Corrective Services NSW

incarcerating cognitively impaired people fulfil the purpose of the prison which is to deter and rehabilitate. “Can that be adequately addressed by imprisonment in a culturally impaired population? “It’s really hard in prison because everything is done for you. “You don’t make your breakfast, you have no household chores; all your activities for living are

Phil Goulding, deputy general manager at the not-for-profit organisation Wintringham. Photo: file

Victoria's Hopkins Correction Centre which was recently refurbished to include speciality aged care facilities. Photo: Scott Burrows taken over so it can be really hard to identify. Someone can slip under the radar until they are quite demented.” When it comes to leaving prison at the end of a sentence or when parole is available, the options are limited if the person has aged care needs. “Where do you put a sex offender?” Mr Goulding asked. “In a good world, once you have done your time, everything is fine.” Mr Willis said: “In the case of older people, you are potentially releasing people who have completed their sentence at quite an advanced age and needing specialist care and specialist type of accommodation, and in a

lot of cases not having family and people who can provide that kind of support for them.” Under 65 the choice is NDIS. Over 65, it’s My Aged Care. But the wait times can be up to two years. “There can be a hiatus on release for some older prisoners and then they will probably end up with a GP or in a hospital and the system will pick them up,” Mr Willis said. The QCS said on release it connects eligible prisoners to the NDIS and aged care services. In Melbourne, Wintringham has an accommodation facility. In Sydney there is a new HammondCare venue. “HammondCare does not

13

Almost one in five women in a Japanese prison is a senior. found guilty of shoplifting. As social policies are formed to serve increasing longevity in the Australian population, reasons behind the imprisonment rate of Japanese seniors for minor crimes is something that should be kept in mind. The minor nature of the crimes appears to be a cry for help in a

Part of the bonsai collection at NSW's Long Bay Correctional Centre.

Photo: Corrective Services NSW

discriminate based on the criminal history of any potential residents,” residential care general manager Angela Raguz said. “When the Darlinghurst aged care venue for homelessness people is open, entry will be based

world where the social position of a very old (in numbers), yet healthy and active person has not yet been established long enough to have attained associated community institutions, structures and societal relations. In some cases these seniors are the first of three or four generations of family but are unable to access help from busy younger family members, or perhaps they are coping as the first and only generation. While we live longer lives, adjustments need to be made to social, emotional and/or financial resources available. Japanese statistics show that from 1980 to 2015, the number of seniors living alone increased more than sixfold, to almost six million. And a 2017 survey by Tokyo’s government found that more than half of the seniors caught shoplifting lived alone, while 40 per cent either don’t have family or rarely speak with relatives. These people often say they have no one to turn to when they need help. Further research by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the International Women’s Media Foundation identified women as suffering not only financial strain, but loneliness and a lack of purpose. Sadly, prison was where they found a roof over their head and regular meals, along with companionship. Source: Various associated stories including Bloomberg Report on several factors including the physical, psychological and social needs of potential residents, as well as the safety of staff and other residents.” There is the opportunity for the issues around the health and wellbeing of ageing prisoners, which currently seems to be bubbling away under the surface of the community, to be addressed through the Aged Care Royal Commission. A spokesperson for the Commission said it may accept submissions on prison aged care and other services offered in prisons


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MARCH, 2019// SENIORS

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Money

April Kennedy IN 2018, Stephanie and Ryan Stevens were delighted to receive the news they were going to become parents for the first time. Shortly after, in a shocking twist of fate, Ryan lost his life in a tragic ATV bike accident. Unfortunately, Ryan died before having the chance to prepare his will, leaving Stephanie, who was only three months pregnant, to fight a five-month-long battle with their mortgagee Bankwest. The mortgage for the couple’s four bedroom home was in Ryan’s name solely. With no valid will, Stephanie was frozen out by the bank because she did not have legal authority to deal with his affairs. The mortgage increased significantly accruing interest and administration fees. Stephanie was unable to pay the monthly

Widowed single mum left homeless

repayments on her own. She had to wait for Ryan’s life insurance and superannuation to be finalised to pay the mortgage. Unfortunately, Ryan’s entitlements fell short by $30,000 to pay the loan. Stephanie’s parents offered to be guarantors and make up the shortfall but BankWest rejected the offer. The family home was repossessed and sold at a loss of $70,000. Stephanie was left homeless. In recent media reports, BankWest acknowledged that the level of support Stephanie experienced “fell short of her expectations during the distressing time”. The bank acted cruelly, but within its legal rights. Without a will, when there is no person officially recognised as having the proper authority to make decisions on behalf of the estate, an application to

ADVICE: April Kennedy. the Court for ‘Letters of Administration’ is required to deal with authorities such as banks. The process of applying for Letters of Administration can take several months, or even years, if there is a blended or hostile family dynamics, or missing family members.

Photo: Murray Waite

Despite being married, it also took five months for Stephanie to be officially recognised as the beneficiary of the estate. This is because without a valid will, Ryan died “intestate”. Like more than half of all Australians, with no valid will, the task of

dealing with his estate fell to the laws of intestacy. Intestacy laws in each state and territory are comprehensive and vary significantly. These laws identify who has the proper authority to make decisions on behalf of the estate, as well as who will inherit the assets. Generally, the administrator and beneficiaries of an intestate estate will usually be the ‘next of kin’. In New South Wales, the whole of his or her estate will pass to the surviving spouse. If there is no spouse then the next in line to inherit will be children of the deceased. In Queensland, the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $150,000, the household chattels and an equal share of the residuary estate. The deceased’s children are entitled to the

remaining share of the estate in equal parts. If there is no family then the estate could potentially be left to the Government. The most common reasons we hear for not having a will are “I don’t want to tempt fate”, “I’m too young to have a will”, “I don’t own anything, I only have debt, so what’s the point” and “I’ve heard that making a will is expensive”. But as we can see, the cost of preparing a will is next to nothing when compared to the turmoil and cost to your loved ones by not having one. April Kennedy is a Wills and Estates solicitor at Attwood Marshall Lawyers. Established 1946, the firm has offices at Robina Town Centre, Kingscliff, NSW, and The Strand Coolangatta.

For a free estate planning review phone 1800 621 071 today.

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TRAVEL BRIEFS

REAL DEALS: The Cruise and Maritime Voyages ship, Columbus.

LAST MINUTE ESCAPES

Cruise and Maritime Voyages is offering guests up to 75 per cent off a range of last-minute escapes departing this March and April. The offer gives travellers the chance to experience Western Australia’s epic coastlines, the world-class local produce of South Australia, the wild splendour of Tasmania and iconic landmarks of New Zealand and the East Coast of Australia. A little further afield, guests can experience the best of Asia on both short and long voyages, some departing from Sydney and Auckland. Nine last-minute escapes are on sale including two seven-night tours of Tasmania. Go to CMVAustralia.com or

phone 1300 307 934.

HIGH COUNTRY WALKS

Victoria’s High Country has launched a website – walkhighcountry.com.au – which showcases more than 100 walks around the spectacular region. From short village strolls to multi-day mountain hikes for the more adventurous, Walk High Country is a one-stop place for visitors looking to explore the unique beauty of Victoria’s North East the slow way. Guide yourself or choose from a suite of new guided walk experiences around the region, including: At Mt Buller, Ness Hinneberg, the Hike Priestess of Skadi Adventures offers fully supported walking adventures for women, from half day to overnight hikes.

❚ Bright Adventure Company’s new three-hour guided adventure at Mount Buffalo, the Cathedral Explorer. ❚ Take a High Country Hiking Tour, guided, multi-day walk in and around Mt Stirling including Craig’s Hut, Eagle Peaks and Crosscut Saw. ❚ At Falls Creek, the new Trails, Tales and Tucker walk takes in historic High Plains huts and superb scenery on an easy guided walk and picnic, suitable for any age. ❚ A unique, fully guided and supported premium pack-horse walking holiday through the Victorian Alps with Parktrek and Bogong Horseback Adventures.

GET ENLIGHTEN(ED) IN CANBERRA

The nation’s capital will

be transformed in March for the annual Enlighten Festival. ❚ Canberra Balloon Spectacular, March 9-17 Canberra turns 106 this year. Join in the celebrations with a program bursting to the seams with live music and entertainment for all. There’s something for everyone this Canberra Day. For more festival information, go to enlightencanberra.com.

EXPERIENCE SUNSHINE COAST OUTDOORS

❚ Paddle powered by sun Go solar-powered on your canoe tour. Eco River Rides are harnessing the sun to help you fuel your adventure. In an Australian first, the company is using solar-powered canoes to take visitors on an unforgettable journey through the Maroochy River Wetlands. For more details, go to eco riverrides.com.au. ❚ Pedal green EcoTekk Electric Bikes offers Sunshine Coast visitors a chance to explore the region without working up a sweat. With no shortage of tracks to choose from, it’s a great way to discover the Sunshine Coast. E-Bike comes to you, at your

resort, your hotel, your house or friend’s house. For more details, go to ecotekk.com.au/ home/sunshine-coast.

NEW QUEENSLAND FOOD FESTIVAL

It’s new and it’s on August 8-11 on the Sunshine Coast, The Curated Plate. The festival aims to feature chefs from Australia and the world. Guests will get to immerse themselves in the flavours foraged from organic and sustainable practices and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime dining experiences. The Curated Plate program will burst with exclusive culinary events that will span the region, bringing to life the unique local artisan culture. Pre-sale tickets are available from March 12. For more details, go to hecuratedplate.com.au/ sunshine-coast.

MONGOLIA BY MOTORBIKE

Save 10 per cent on a ride across one of the world’s most remote places – Mongolia, the world’s emptiest country. Experience the vast expanse of Mongolia’s striking landscapes on the back of a classic Royal Enfield motorbike on some of the world’s most

open roads with this special offer from Extreme Bike Tours. Appealing to the more than one million Australians who ride motorbikes, Extreme Bike Tours is offering a special 10 per cent discount on a Mongolian tour starting on August 2, 2019, with the discount available until April 15, 2019. Extreme Bike Tours is one of the world’s leading motorcycle tour companies, offering tours in the Himalayas, Bhutan, Mongolia, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka and Cuba. For more, go to extremebiketour.com.

TAHITI WHALE SWIM CRUISES

New week-long whale swim cruises have been launched in Tahiti by Australian eco-experience company, Majestic Whales Encounters. The unique cruises will see guests spend six nights aboard a brand new 16m catamaran as they sail the turquoise waters off the island of Moorea and swim with wild humpback whales. The cruise departs on September 16 or 22, 2019. Phone Majestic Whale Encounters on 0405 594 253 or go to majesticwhale encounters.com.au.

1300 551 997 | (07) 5513 1086 E: info@goseetouring.com www.goseetouring.com

CRAFTY CRUISING: Crochet is enjoying a revival as a simple, calming activity which can be enjoyed while cruising onboard Celebrity Solstice.

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Get hooked on cruising CRAFTY crocheters can combine cruising and their passion, and hook into a great deal which includes $1500 worth of crochet kit including premium yarn, patterns, skill kits, books, tools and workshops. The 12-night Crochet Cruise will weave its way to Tasmania and New Zealand in October. French for ‘hooked needle’ and dating back to the 1820s, crochet is enjoying a revival as a simple, calming activity that expresses creativity and forges friendships, with the number of avid crocheters growing globally. Departing Sydney on October 27, the Cruise Express Crochet Cruise

will travel aboard Celebrity Solstice. The crochet group will be based in a private room with spectacular ocean vistas. The cruise will take in Hobart, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Akaroa, Picton, Tauranga and the Bay of Islands, with the cruise ending in Auckland. In Auckland, passengers will enjoy an exclusive tour of Fibrefest, an annual event dedicated to all things wool, yarn and fibre. Led by three of Australia’s top crochet teachers - Emily Littlefair, Joy Clements and Kathy Hodgetts - the cruise includes skill-building workshops, a choice of three projects according

to skill level, crochet-related fun trivia and one-on-one crochet assistance. The 14-deck Celebrity Solstice offers three pools, , 11 dining venues, nine bars and lounges, spectacular stage shows, a spacious gym and a ship-top deck covered in real grass. The cruise cost is from $3990 pp , twin-share, including 12-nights onboard the Celebrity Solstice, one night’s accommodation at Auckland, an economy flight from Auckland to Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne, a walking tour of Hobart. For more, go to cruiseexpress.com.au.


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Musical cruise on Murray SPEND an August night or three with the music of Neil Diamond while gently cruising along the Murray on the paddlewheeler PS Murray Princess. Entertainer and storyteller Dave Freeman will over three nights take you on an intimate journey into the music of Neil Diamond. The journey starts on Friday, August 23 with a three-course dinner and dance to the live tunes of gifted keyboard artist Paul Gill. On Saturday night, Freeman will perform his OMG Neil Diamond Sounds Like Me Show including storytelling, songs, dancing and music from Neil Diamond’s famous Hot August Night album. On the final night, dance the night away as Dave and Paul provide live entertainment, singing everyone’s favourite songs during the Captain’s Dinner and Dance. By day the paddlewheeler will travel along the Murray River visiting historic towns and passing by the ever-changing and picturesque river scenery. There are several stops along the way starting with the Captain’s walk in Mannum, exploring the Murray Bridge township and its historic Round House, stopping at Salt Bush Flat to learn about the thriving ecology of the river and its flora and fauna on a guided nature walk, at River View Lodge get up close to the 20 million-year-old cliffs and amazing birdlife. Onboard the Murray Princess check out the wheelhouse, join in a music quiz with Paul Gill or play some bocce on the riverbank with Dave Freeman. Start each morning onboard with a hot buffet

OLD TIME BEAUTY: The paddlewheeler PS Murray Princess.

Photo: Heidi Linehan

Go wild in absolute comfort of Stonestreets fleet

ULTIMATE COMFORT: The pride of the Stonestreets fleet of tour coaches are the mighty 4x4. breakfast and indulge in a two-course or buffet lunch each day. As night falls watch the sunset and enjoy a delicious cocktail before savouring a three-course meal or buffet dinner. The three-night Hot August Night Music Cruise

departs Mannum at 4.30pm on Friday, August 23. Early Booking Saver fares start from $944 per person twin share. The cost includes accommodation, all meals, guided nature walks, eco-excursions,

SOME of Australia’s most spectacular destinations are often found in our most rugged and inhospitable regions. Locations like Cape York, the Kimberley, Outback South Australia and Central Australia, each unique, striking and shaped by centuries of harsh conditions have become dream travel destinations and bucket-list items for many Australians. For many would-be adventurers though, the task of tackling the unforgiving conditions that make these regions so beautiful, is daunting. Thankfully there is a way of experiencing the wonders of Australia’s most unspoiled natural wilderness in luxury and

onboard presentations, onboard Wi-Fi, the Captain’s Dinner and Cocktail Party, the OMG Neil Diamond Sounds Like Me Show, entertainment by Dave Freeman and Paul Gill, use of ship’s facilities including a sun deck, bar, two lounges, restaurant

gentle adventure. Stonestreets Travel is a Queensland-based tour operator, which has been co-ordinating bucket-list worthy, escorted group tours to a host of destinations for more than 20 years. The pride of the Stonestreets fleet of tour coaches are the mighty 4x4 coaches, which make tackling the rutted roads and creek crossings of the Australian Outback a breeze for travellers. Contact Stonestreets Travel’s friendly team for a list of 2019 tours or free tour brochures, or view our range of tours online, go to stonestreetstravel.com.au or phone Stonestreets Coaches on (07) 4687 5566.

and a mini gymnasium. Complimentary scenic coach transfers from Adelaide, or secure car-parking in and Mannum post cruise coach transfers to Adelaide CBD or Adelaide Airport, are also included. Private car transfers for

up to four people are also available from and to Adelaide CBD to Mannum and return to Adelaide Airport for $150 per person each way, based on two people travelling. For more information, go to murrayprincess.com.au

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MARCH, 2019// SENIORS

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I have always enjoyed the company of the Irish, easily warming to their humour and yarns.

STUNNING: Blackrock Castle on the River Lee, Cork, Ireland.

Photo: catherine_jones

Ireland... it’s just like Peter Chapman

From the amazing views to the wonderful people, the impression you get from the flicks is even better in real life

IT MIGHT seem a little strange, but my decision to do a self-drive tour of Ireland was inspired from watching movies centred on the shamrock isle. They always revealed beautiful scenery, picturesque boutique hotels and friendly Irish pubs. As I watched I envisaged myself joining in on a song or two while downing a pint of Guinness at McMurphy’s corner pub. Adding to my views of Ireland was the fact that I have always enjoyed the company of the Irish, easily warming to their humour and yarns. The chance to make the trip finally came up via a decision to book a 14-day Baltic Sea cruise out of Southampton. The wife rightly said we can’t go all the way to England and just jump on a cruise ship, we need to combine something with it. So the decision was made that we’d spend a week touring Ireland and

we’d hire a small car for the trek. Now if you know nothing about Ireland – and to tell the absolute truth I didn’t – it’s best not to just look at a map and say to yourself it doesn’t look that far from town to town. At first the idea was to stay in Dublin for a few nights then head north taking in the likes of Glasgow, the Giant’s Causeway and then slide down the coast coming across through Kilkenny and back to where we started. All this was planned for just seven days. Fortunately sanity prevailed and instead we decided to only concentrate on the southern parts of Ireland. We didn’t want to just drive around looking out the car window. After arriving at Dublin Airport we picked up our hire car and headed towards our accommodation in the city. Mistake one was that we didn’t choose a car with a GPS instead deciding to wait a few days and get a SIM for the

phone to use as our guidance system. That decision cost us a frustrating three hours as we circled Dublin’s maze of one way streets searching for our hotel. I don’t like admitting it, but it was my decision not to go with the car GPS, a fact I was reminded of more than a few times during the trip. We stayed at the Dawson Hotel and Spa in Dawson Street which we found a convenient location from which to walk around the city. The room was small, but clean and the only issue was that we were on the second floor and there was no lift, just a strong doorman to carry your bags upstairs. A TripAdvisor tip to take the free walking tour in Dublin proved a winner the next day. A young university student with a wonderful knowledge of the city was our guide and for almost four hours he told us some fascinating stories about the history of the city. To go on the tour all you need to do is to turn up at

Dublin Town Square before noon and join a group. The guides make their money from tips and there were plenty who reached into their pockets at the end of the walk. My mother taught me the famous Irish song In Dublin’s Fair City when I was just five years old and I have been bringing it out as part of my entertainment repertoire ever since. Mind you, it’s a very small and limited repertoire. So I was delighted to see our final stop on the walking tour was in front of the Molly Malone statue. Of course as any Aussie knows you never let a chance go by, so I launched into the song and to my pleasant surprise had the entire street singing along with me. I loved it and even the wife joined in for the chorus. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in Dublin, ranging from Michelin Star credentialed to the cheap bistros at the many local

pubs. We found Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse and Grill just down the road from our hotel and enjoyed a special night out. Unfortunately the budget didn’t allow us to return, but if you spoil yourself every night it doesn’t seem so special when you do. Day one on the road took us across Ireland to the seaport of Doolin. We booked in at a recently built B&B, Egan’s Wild Atlantic View. The host, who happened to be the Ireland Fly Fishing Champion, was great, the room was first class and the breakfast made to perfection. It’s a big recommendation from us. We chose Doolin because from there it’s a short drive to one of Ireland’s premier tourist spots, the Cliffs of Moher. It was a windy day on the cliffs, but worth the climb for a spectacular view. From Doolin we wound our way through to Killarney were again we


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Aerial view of the scenic Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. This popular tourist attraction is situated in County Clare along the Wild Atlantic Way. Photo: miroslav_1 Long exposure of Temple bar in Dublin with people drinking and walking by during night in autumn.

Photo: Marc Dufresne

Doolin.

Dawson.

Muckross House.

the movies, but better

picked our accommodation well with a stay at Muckross Park Hotel. It sits opposite the national park and in the morning we grabbed a free bike from the hotel and went for a pleasant slow two-hour cycle. The only dampener on this stop was the pub food next to the hotel was a meal we should have missed. Stay at the hotel by all means, but find a good restaurant in town to dine out at is our advice. My wife had one wish for our Ireland tour, and that was to stay one night in a castle. That’s why we booked our next stop at the Waterford Castle. Unfortunately the castle has only a few rooms and we were shovelled off to a block of units on the estate. The unit was good, but it wasn’t a castle. As a keen punter I found a steeple chase meeting at Wexford to call in before we said goodbye to Ireland. Fortunately the luck of the Irish prevailed and a

10/1 winner helped pay for all our petrol and a few pints of Guinness. To sum it up, the few disappointments we had on our whistle stop self-drive tour were overshadowed by many highlights and if we had our time over again we’d do the same, except this time we’d find a real castle to stay in, ghosts and all.

IRELAND

APPROX COSTS: Self-drive car hire: $350, five days Dawson Hotel Dublin: $250 per night Rating: 7/10 Egan’s Wild Atlantic B&B, Doolin: $150 per night Rating: 9/10 Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney: $350 per night Rating: 8/10 Waterford Castle: $400 per night Rating: 7/10 BEST TIP: Take your time while driving around and go online early to book your accommodation and you will save hundreds by doing it.

MUST-SEE: Bunratty castle at dusk with reflection in the river in Ireland.

Photo: Mustang_79


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Cataract tips and choices before surgery

Wellbeing

Tracey Johnstone

SLEEP APNOEA: Left untreated, people with this condition were found to have problems recalling specific details about their lives.

Memory could be being lost during apnoea episodes

SLEEP apnoea is not just about suffering through poor sleep and breathing problems, it’s now been found to affect people’s memories. A new study led by RMIT University looked at how obstructive sleep apnoea affected autobiographical memory. It found that people with the condition, when untreated, had problems recalling specific details about their lives. Lead investigator Dr Melinda Jackson said the research built on the known links between depression and memory. “We know that overly general autobiographical memories – where people don’t remember many specific details of life events – are associated with the development of persistent depression,” Dr Jackson said. “Our study suggests sleep apnoea may impair the brain’s capacity to either encode or consolidate certain types of life memories, which makes it hard for people to recall details from the past. “OSA is increasingly common, affecting up to 30 per cent of elderly people and around one in four Australian men aged over 30. “Sleep apnoea is also a significant risk factor for depression so if we can better understand the neurobiological

mechanisms at work, we have a chance to improve the mental health of millions of people.” About five per cent of Australians suffer from sleep apnoea. The BetterHealth Channel describes it as when a person’s breathing stops for a period of time, generally between 10 seconds and up to one minute, until the brain registers the lack of breathing or a drop in oxygen levels and sends a small wake-up call.

the condition includes nasal CPAP, mouthguards or surgical correction of upper airway obstruction. Dr Jackson said the use of CPAP machines to treat sleep apnoea had improved some of the cognitive impairments related to the condition. “An important next step will be to determine whether successful treatment of sleep apnoea can also help counter some of these memory issues or even restore the memories

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Our study suggests sleep apnoea may impair the brain’s capacity to either encode or consolidate certain types of life memories, which makes it hard for people to recall details from the past. The sleeper rouses slightly, opens the upper airway, typically snorts and gasps, then drifts back to sleep almost immediately. This pattern can repeat itself hundreds of times a night, causing fragmented sleep. The recommended treatment for OSA includes weight loss and cutting back on alcohol. Active treatment of

that have been lost,” she added. The study was conducted in collaboration with the Institute for Breathing and Sleep, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, and University of Melbourne and published in Journal of the International Neuropsychology Society.

BEFORE you make a decision on whether to have cataract surgery there are several issues you should become familiar with. Because you have cataracts doesn’t mean you have to have surgery, says cataract and retinal surgeon Dr Simon Chen from Vision Eye Institute. He suggests glasses may be a solution, to start, but once the cataracts reach a certain point where you no longer have the quality of vision that you want, then it’s probably time you have surgery to remove them. An eye specialist will talk you through the pre-surgery steps. They will look at what level of vision you have and your lifestyle to determine if you need to have cataract surgery. You will also be assessed for suitability based on your general health, whether you have other issues with your eyes and what is the cause of the cataracts. “Most cataracts are typically related to age,” Dr Chen said. But sometimes they can be related to underlying health conditions which will influence the treatment choice.

PRE-SURGERY EYE HEALTH

If you have the common problem of dry eyes, the accuracy of the critical measurements being taken pre-surgery can be affected, so a specialist is likely to treat that condition firstly. “When you have cataract surgery we take a range of measurements and they are used to calculate the power of lens that is going to be put in your eye, like a pair of glasses, but it goes inside the eye permanently,” Dr Chen said.

SURGICAL OPTIONS

There are two choices of surgery – manual or laser-assisted. With the commonly used manual operation the surgeon uses a scalpel to make an incision into the eye and then uses other devices to remove the cataract.

EYE TIPS: Cataract surgery is a very common and for many seniors, it’s almost inevitable the surgery will be needed. Photo: wathanyu “Even the best surgeon in the world when they have a blade in their hand, not every operation is going to be exactly the same,” Dr Chen said. “So, there is a little element of unpredictability in surgery no matter how good the surgeon is.” In laser-assisted surgery the first few key steps are performed by computer guided laser. “It removes some element of human error,” Dr Chen said. It also increases the predictability of the surgery outcomes. The choice of this laser surgery is often limited by cost and availability. Many seniors have both cataracts and macular degeneration. “If you have macular degeneration, that will limit the improvement you get (from surgery),” Dr Chen said. “Even if you have a perfectly performed operation, you will probably see a lot better, but you may not see perfectly afterwards. It’s important to ask your surgeon what sort of outcome you are expecting.” “For a lot of people who have additional eye conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, there is increasingly a wide range of different procedures we can do at the same time as cataract surgery.”

LENS CHOICES

There is no one size

when it comes to lens choices. It comes down to what is your lifestyle. The most common choice is long distance vision with glasses worn for reading. Or you can choose a reading lens and then wear glasses for long distance. The third choice is a multifocal lens so no glasses are required, but there are limitations with your sight at night when driving.

NON-SURGICAL CHOICES

“Not any good ones,” Dr Chen said. He adds those on offer can’t reverse the cataract nor stop them getting worse. It may be possible to delay cataract surgery and choose to update your glasses and change your lifestyle such as stop driving or stop working. “Once it starts to deteriorate and it starts to have a negative impact on your quality of life, then you should consider surgery,” Dr Chen said. “The longer you leave it, the more advanced the cataract becomes and so the higher the risk of complications during surgery.” Dr Chen said cataract surgery is a very common and for many seniors, it’s almost inevitable the surgery will be needed. He believes after surgery a person’s quality of life improves, there is less likelihood of falls and the opportunity to maintain an independent lifestyle increases.


SENIORS \\MARCH, 2019

WELLBEING

Melanoma journey One man uses his experience to warn about sun protection Tracey Johnstone WITH one foot on the throttle of his caravanning dreams and the other on ensuring he continues to survive from his long melanoma journey, Dennis Applebee is ready to hit the road. The 69-year-old and his wife Pam have sold their seven-days-a-week dry cleaning business in Tasmania’s Devonport and retired. The first caravan trip is for four weeks as they watch how Dennis’s health handles the experience. There’s been no mention of remission. But it can come back at any time. Every time a little bump pops up, Dennis heads straight to the doctor. “Cover up,” he states emphatically. “Slip, slop, slap; cover up,” he declares again. “I will be covered up and will be looking for shade. “My message is to enjoy the sun, but don’t go out and bake yourselves.”

Pam adds that with the knowledge we have about melanoma, young people should always cover up. “Have a look at the people who have this cancer; most of them die,” she said. “Dennis is very lucky he has survived.” Just over 20 years ago Dennis was a keen runner, fitting in a 10km run each day. He was a naturally an outdoors person. “You think back to 1986,” Dennis said. “There was no such thing as cover yourself and things like that, and I worked outside all my life. “Then a mole popped up on the left-hand side of my forehead, near the temple, and I thought what the hell is this? I wasn’t feeling a bit bright. “My boss brought me home from Shipton where I was working for the water board.” Dennis went straight to his doctor, and “that’s where it all started”, Dennis recounts. A surgeon removed the mole, but testing revealed it was a melanoma. “He said to us; get your life in order, you have only

MELANOMA MARCH: Tasmanian Dennis Applebee and his wife Pam, ready to head off on long awaited retirement trip after Dennis’ difficult melanoma experience. six months to live,” Dennis said. During that time he really struggled with a lack of knowledge around melanoma.

Only six months later Dennis noticed a lump near his left ear, right near his lymph glands. The melanoma was back. He had to undergo surgery to

remove the affected lymph glands as well as a shoulder direction. Following this Dennis had to undergo an intensive 12 months of chemotherapy to treat the melanoma. “They threw everything at me,” he said. Dennis and Pam have two sons and 10 grandchildren, and he just wants to enjoy life more and with them. Dennis says they have heard their grandfather’s message about taking care of their skin. The couple plan to be back from caravanning in time for Melanoma March. He will again throw his support behind the Devonport Lions Club march and fundraiser. “I have a big scar down the side of my neck,” Dennis said. “A lot of people see it and ask what happened there. That’s when I start telling them. “I often start off by saying, ‘that’s where they cut off me bad head’ as Tasmanians have two heads,” he jokes. “It really starts the conversation.” For more information, go to the website melanomamarch.org.au.

Australia’s melanoma research AUSTRALIA has regained the unenviable title of having the world’s highest rates of invasive melanoma. The study conducted by QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and published this month in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, has found that invasive melanoma rates in Australians have plateaued, while rates in New Zealand have started to fall. The most recently available data show that in 2014/2015 about 50 in every 100,000 Australians were diagnosed with invasive melanoma, compared to about 47 out of every 100,000 New Zealanders. QIMR Berghofer Senior Scientist Professor David Whiteman said the Australian figures were surprising because the 2016 analyses had suggested that melanoma incidence would decline in both countries.

Include the sunscreen in your morning routine

DO IT DAILY: Everyone, every morning, should be applying sunscreen before heading out the door.

SLAP on the sunscreen as part of your daily routine, experts are telling us. “We are exposed to sunlight in so many ways and not all of it is due to conscious sunbaking. In Australia, we get a lot of incidental sun exposure from everyday activities such as walking to the bus stop or train station, or hanging out washing,” QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute’s Associate Professor Rachel Neale says. Critically, she reminds us that the DNA damage that causes skin cancer and melanoma accumulates with repeated small doses of sunlight. The recommendation is that we apply sunscreen every morning before we head out the door, when the maximum UV level is forecast to be three or higher. “For much of Australia, that means people should apply sunscreen all year round, but in areas like Tasmania and Victoria there are a few months over winter when sunscreen is not required,” Prof Neale

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People should apply sunscreen all year round... added. The easiest way to do this? Brush your teeth, brush your hair, apply the sunscreen; every day. And, if you are staying outdoors for any length of time, wear a hat, protective clothing, sunglasses and reapply the sunscreen every two hours. For those seniors concerned about what affect sunscreen could have on them, Terry Slevin from the Public Health Association of Australia says: “There is consistent and compelling evidence that sunscreens are safe, and reactions occur in a very low proportion of the population”. “Importantly, clinical trials have found that people who use sunscreen daily have the same levels of vitamin D as those who don’t.”


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Living

Gail Forrer A NEW drug to combat incontinence has been labelled a “game changer”, but for some sufferers the price is too much to pay. Approximately 6.3 million Australians experience bladder or bowel control problems. A report released in 2011 by Deloitte Access Economics revealed that in 2010, total health system expenditure on incontinence in the Australian population was estimated at $271 million or $57 per person with incontinence. This figure was projected to rise to $450 million by 2020. But one 76-year-old Queensland woman believes she will not be included in those statistics after being prescribed the incontinence drug Betmiga. In an email to Seniors News (2017,she wrote: “I have been battling incontinence for the past 10 years (as do so many of my friends). I have been down the road of physio, surgery and as a last-ditch effort I saw another urologist who after tests prescribed Betmiga (25mg). “It has made an enormous difference to my life, all but preventing the symptoms, but unfortunately the cost of each prescription is quite prohibitive. It started out this year at $48 per prescription but after

The price to pay for good health is high

August the cost leapt to $64.95. Who knows what the future cost will be. “I realise that the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) is always under strain, but with our ageing population and the government spending so much money on keeping we oldies in our own home (all good), surely instead of making people use padded pants or diapers, both expensive and they end up in landfill, to subsidise Betmiga is in the government’s interest as it truly works and as my urologist assured me has the fewest side-effects of comparable drugs.” Spokesperson for the Urological Society of Australian and New Zealand Urologist Dr Caroline Dowling, has praised the efficacy of Betmiga (also known as Mirabegron). “It’s a game changer,” Dr Dowling said. However, she warned there were several causes behind incontinence and it would not suit everyone. “But it definitely works for some,” she said. She advised the first step in finding an appropriate treatment entailed acknowledging the condition to your GP. “Have the cause diagnosed and from there ascertain suitable treatments,” she said. Betmiga is manufactured by the Astellas company. In response to

CURES COSTS: In Australia, around 6.3 million Australians experience bladder or bowel control problems.

Photo: PeopleImages

FAST FACTS Increased funding for Continence Aids Payment Scheme The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) is an Australian Government scheme that provides a payment to assist eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the cost of their continence products. In July 2018, the Continence Aids Payment Scheme contribution amount was increased in line with the Consumer Price Index. The current payment is $596.60 for the financial year 2018-2019. Clients can choose one full payment in July, or two half payments in July and January each year. ❚ If you would like a CAPS application form, phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 330 066. You can also request the CAPS application form from the Australian Government’s Bladder Bowel website. ❚ If you require assistance in completing the CAPS application, phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 330 066. ❚ If you have changed your bank or address details, notify the CAPS Team on 1800 239 309. Only the person receiving the benefit, or their nominated representative, can call the CAPS Team to change/update details. questions from Senior News. Astellas stated it has thoroughly investigated

requesting PBS reimbursement. However, the company found that: “After reviewing the

body of clinical, epidemiological and economic data, Astellas was uncertain that the

value offered by the unique mechanism of action and different tolerability profile of the Betmiga can be accurately captured and quantified”. “Furthermore, one of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee’s key criteria for reimbursement is affordability in the absence of PBS subsidisation. While Astellas acknowledge the difficulty some patients face in affording Betmiga as a private prescription, at its current price Astellas believes it is unlikely to meet this criterion.” Astellas said it would continue to reassess this decision on a regular basis.

Five super tips to guarantee fine spinal health SUFFERING from back pain is a burden that affects all aspects of one’s health. As the body is controlled by the central nervous system, the spine must be able to support it in order for people to function at their full potential. The spine should be recognised as a priority when it comes to maintaining good health. Back pain is an increasingly common problem many people face, with 70-90 per cent of Australians experiencing back pain at some point in their life. Between 2014-2015 alone, 3.7 million people reported back pain, equivalent to one in six people, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

There are a number of simple lifestyle changes individuals can make daily to improve their spinal health and reduce the risks associated with back pain. Leading spinal surgeon Dr Michael Wong shares five ways to improve spinal health.

1. REDUCE SITTING TIME TO 45 MINUTE INCREMENTS

“If you’ve got an office job, you’ll notice that your daily routine tends to lead you from bed, to the car, to a chair and finally the couch. Whether you partake in exercise or not, sitting for prolonged periods of time causes the brain to recognise that position as one to hold, allowing your muscles to

shorten and locking your posture. It’s even been claimed that ‘sitting is the new smoking’, with long bouts of uninterrupted sitting increasing our risk of death. It’s important to take a break from the sitting position at least every hour if your job or lifestyle keeps you at a desk. Keep an eye on the time or set a timer to stand and walk around the room every 30-45 minutes to give your body and mind a quick break to refresh.”

2. CONSCIOUSLY CORRECT YOUR POSTURE

“Sitting for long periods of time causes the back to tense up and lock, which is even worse when sitting with bad posture. A good way of correcting

this is to get into the habit of noticing and fixing your posture to sit up with a straightened back. The more you correct yourself, the more you will unconsciously sit in this position. Mobile phones also cause posture issues. When in use, keep the device at eye level to decrease the stress to the back and neck.”

Although this may be uncomfortable initially, it is a good habit to get used to. For more support, sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs. Invest in a supportive mattress and pillow that promotes proper alignment of the neck.”

exercise to strengthen core muscles. Also make sure to stretch before doing heavy lifting or exercising and add it to your daily routine just before bed. Stretches can be as simple and as quick as bending forward, bending back, and bending side to side.”

3. SLEEP ON YOUR BACK

4. STRETCH YOUR MUSCLES

“It is important to stay flexible through stretching to avoid back problems or potential injuries. The core muscles, particularly the lower back and abdominal muscles need to be strong and supple to support the spine and take pressure off the lower back. Core muscles are rarely used in everyday activities, so have specific, targeted

5. FOCUS ON A HEALTHY DIET

“In terms of sleeping, the most comfortable positions usually aren’t beneficial for spinal health. Sleeping on your stomach offers no support to the back and the pull of gravity causes the spine to bow. The most supportive position for your alignment is sleeping on your back.

“Be conscious of any excess fat, especially on the central abdomen which puts extra weight on the lumbar spine. When you have a healthy diet, it is more likely you will have more energy to do exercise regularly. Nutrients in anti-flammatory food have properties that can help relieve pain and assist in reducing osteoarthritis of joints.”


SENIORS \\MARCH, 2019

LIVING

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Dementia care How to handle THAT diagnosis with dignity and love Alison Houston A DEMENTIA diagnosis is something no one wants, but it does allow that person, their family and carers to know what they are dealing with and what help is available. Dementia Australia community engagement volunteer Elisabeth Shepherd is speaking from experience when she says there are more services and information available today than ever. “It’s a case of saying ‘this is part of my life now; how can we make this work?’” Elisabeth said. Her mum was diagnosed with dementia aged 73. Elisabeth described coming home from overseas to find her mum completely different from the woman she had known, and her dad having picked up most of the shopping, cooking and other household responsibilities. When her mum did go to the supermarket, she quickly became overcome and anxious due to the

noise, lights and sheer number of products. Elisabeth realised it had always been her dad who had written to her overseas, with just a quick note from her mum, or a piece of art enclosed – there had been no suggestion of an issue. Despite a good family GP, her parents were reluctant to talk about her mum’s memory loss and increasing anxiety, believing as many do, “there’s nothing you can do about it, so what’s the point?” She admits her mum struggled when eventually referred to the memory clinic for testing, but when the diagnosis came and they were able to get services in to help, she said it made life easier for both her parents. “Once we got a few services involved, it made dad realise just how much he had been doing and how hard it had been,” she said. “It also gave them both a lot of help with how to make things work day-to-day, and when mum started going to a day

centre each week, she really enjoyed it, and dad realised how important it was for him to have a break too.” Both have since passed away. Elisabeth, with a social work background, said she had noticed in her volunteer work how openly people today talked about dementia, their diagnosis and the help they needed. “Every single person is affected differently, but the benefit of the Dementia Australia carers’ workshops and support groups is you get really good information put forward very clearly and concisely and you are with people who are going through the same thing as you,” she said. “People come out feeling empowered, knowing they are not Robinson Crusoe, and having gained ideas of how other people have dealt with situations similar to their own.” Elisabeth does not underestimate how daunting it is to watch a loved one change before

your eyes. Her father struggled with the loss of his life partner, who was unable to speak long before she died. “But he always said that after being married for 40 years, he knew exactly what she wanted or needed without her saying,” Elisabeth laughed. She said that inside knowledge of what their loved one likes, what makes them laugh is the secret for family and carers successfully making life happy. Her message for those dealing with dementia for themselves or loved ones is “your life can still be meaningful, you can have quality of life and still get joy from listening to music, doing and seeing art, patting a dog... and being together, as we still enjoyed being with mum, her quirkiness and sense of humour”. Topics at the free Dementia Australia Family Carer Course include: effective communication, the nature and impact of dementia, activities for

MEANINGFUL: Dementia Australia community engagement volunteer Elisabeth Shepherd with a wedding photo of her mum and dad, for whom she was a carer for 15 years, and one of her mum’s last pieces of art. living and pleasure, understanding and responding to behaviours and day-to-day strategies. Courses run regionally, 9.30am-2.30pm in Toowoomba on March 26 and May 29, in Warwick on May 8 and in Dalby on

May 20. To book, or find a course near you, phone Dementia Australia on 1800 100 500, email qld.services@dementia. org.au or go to dementia.org.au.

Tips to simplify your life INSTEAD of sending your unwanted household items to the tip as you try to de-clutter your home after the Christmas holidays, the alternative could be re-homing them. The latest rage for dealing with de-cluttering is KonMari. Sustainability Victoria acting CEO Stephanie Ziersch said the rush of affection for this method was a positive thing but highlighted the risk of items being discarded instead of consciously re-homed. The six KonMari steps are – commit yourself to tidying up, imagine your ideal lifestyle, finish discarding first, tidy by category, not by location, follow the right order (clothes, books, paper, miscellaneous items, sentimental items) and ask yourself, does it spark joy? Ms Ziersch suggests adding in a seventh step – reflect on waste and take action to reduce, reuse, recycle and respect. “While we’re encouraged to hear households en masse are busy clearing out the

clutter, the question remains, where are we sending all those bags of joyless garments and items once we’re done with them?” she said. “All that clutter doesn’t just disappear once you’ve given it a kiss and thanked it for its service.”

SV SUGGESTS THESE SEVEN TIPS WHEN EMBARKING ON THE KONMARI JOURNEY: ■ 1. Consider selling unloved items on sites like eBay, Gumtree or Facebook ■ 2. Contact your local charity group to see if members are willing to pick up your unwanted furniture ■ 3. Gift your once-loved items to a friend or family member ■ 4. Take your old TVs and computers to drop-off points where they are recycled as part of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme ■ 5. Drop your mobile phones and tablets off for recycling at MobileMuster collection points at phone shops and post offices

CLEANING UP: Clutter doesn’t just disappear once you’ve given it a kiss and thanked it for its service.

Photo: marekuliasz

■ 6. Offer your good quality clothes to charities who will resell them for fundraising purposes, or potentially give them to disadvantaged people ■ 7. Contact your local

council to find out how your items can be recycled locally “While the concept of tidying your home, and letting go of objects that serve no purpose is

important, waste avoidance is just as pressing,” Ms Ziersch said. “For example, Australians are the world’s second largest

consumers of textiles, buying on average 27kg of new clothing and other textiles each year of which around $500 million worth of clothing is sent to landfill.”


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SENIORS \\MARCH, 2019 1

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Across 1 What is Herman Melville’s best-known work? (4,4) 7 The 20km Simplon Tunnel connects Switzerland with where? (5) 8 Which best-seller by Jung Chang has sold over 10 million since 1992? (4,5) 9 What from whales was used for lamps and candles? (3) 10 What word can follow light, new and tax? (4) 11 What describes food that fulfils the requirements of Jewish dietary law? (6) 13 Who (Dorothy L ___) created the character Lord Peter Wimsey? (6) 14 What is an extravagant trip taken by an official at public expense? (6) 17 In which city did William Caxton print the first book in English? (5) 18 What creature is an oriole? (4) 20 What is frozen water? (3) 22 In a story, who did Geppetto create? (9) 23 Which magazine did Mohamed Fayed take over in 1996? (5) 24 What was the cheapest section of a passenger ship? (8)

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7 8 9 10

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21 22

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SUDOKU

Fill the grid so every column, every row and 3x3 box contains the digits 1 to 9.

QUICK CROSSWORD 1

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8

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9

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Down 1 Which song begins “And now, the end is near...”? (2,3) 2 What was the name of the upstairs family in TV’s Upstairs, Downstairs? (7) 3 What is a layer of cartilage separating adjacent vertebrae in the spine called? (4) 4 Which old man ferried the souls of the dead across the Rivers Styx and Acheron to Hades? (6) 5 Which army officer ranks above captain and below lieutenant colonel? (5) 6 What athlete is part of a peloton? (7) 7 What is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas? (8) 12 Which British car had models Spitfire and Stag? (7) 13 What small sea creatures might be in a Cajun jambalaya? (7) 15 Which Hindu deity is usually depicted as a young cowherd boy playing a flute? (7) 16 In cheese-making, what curdles the milk? (6) 17 What is tofu made from? (5) 19 What bee does not work, but can fertilise the queen? (5) 21 Which fictional company features in Looney Tunes cartoons? (4)

16/3

5x5

ALPHAGRAMS

Insert the missing letters to make ten words — five reading across the grid and five reading down.

Solve the anagrams. Each solution is a one-word anagram of the letters beside it, and the five solutions are sequential. For example, if the fiveletter solution starts with J, the six-letter solution starts with K, and so on.

C A

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QUICK CROSSWORD Across: 1. State of mind 8. Earnest 9. Smile 10. Tear 11. Lunatic 12. Die 13. Oboe 15. Turn 17. Sly 19. Fragile 20. Aqua 23. Ashen 24. In a word 25. Guesstimate. Down: 1. Sleuth 2. Aorta 3. Ever 4. Futile 5. Insanity 6. Drifter 7. Coerce 12. Defiance 14. Bear hug 16. Affair 17. Series 18. Waddle 21. Quota 22. Taxi.

How many words of four letters or more can you make? Each letter must be used only once and all words must contain the centre letter. There is at least one nine-letter word. No words starting with a capital are allowed, no plurals ending in s unless the word is also a verb. TODAY: Good 25 Very Good 32 Excellent 40

Find a finished crossword by deleting one of the two letters in each divided square. Solution opposite

BLACKOUT

ALPHAGRAMS: IDEAL, JOINTS, KNEADED, LAUGHTER, MEDICATED.

DOUBLE CROSS

SUDOKU

5x5 P R E S S

R A

GK CROSSWORD Across: 1 Moby Dick. 7 Italy. 8 Wild Swans. 9 Oil. 10 Year. 11 Kosher. 13 Sayers. 14 Junket. 17 Bruges. 18 Bird. 20 Ice. 22 Pinocchio. 23 Punch. 24 Steerage. Down: 1 “My Way”. 2 Bellamy. 3 Disc. 4 Charon. 5 Major. 6 Cyclist. 7 Isthmus. 12 Triumph. 13 Shrimps. 15 Krishna. 16 Rennet. 17 Beans. 19 Drone. 21 Acme.

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WORD GO ROUND

V

Down 1. Detective (6) 2. Main artery (5) 3. Always (4) 4. Pointless (6) 5. Madness (8) 6. Wanderer (7) 7. Force (6) 12. Rebelliousness (8) 14. Powerful embrace (4,3) 16. Illicit relationship (6) 17. Sequence (6) 18. Walk awkwardly (6) 21. Allocation (5) 22. Move slowly (aircraft) (4)

WORD GO ROUND

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aver calve carve carven cave caver cavern clave cleave cleaver clever crave craven eleven elver enclave even evener ever lave laver leave leaven leaver leva levee lever nave navel nerve neve never rave ravel raven reave reeve RELEVANCE reveal revel vale valence vane veal veer vela velar venal veneer venereal vernal

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L C

AILED IN JOTS DEAD KEN LARGE HUT DECIMATED

Note: more than one solution may be possible.

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Across 1. Mental condition (5,2,4) 8. Sincere (7) 9. Beam (5) 10. Rip (4) 11. Madman (7) 12. Expire (3) 13. Musical instrument (4) 15. Rotate (4) 17. Cunning (3) 19. Delicate (7) 20. Water (4) 23. Pale (5) 24. To sum up (2,1,4) 25. Rough calculation (11)

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PUZZLES

K S I P D A M P R G N N A P O

Y T Y P O B U A I R T I G H T

Y R I T D T V I X I E G Y R M

D A F F O D I L I L E T H A L

K I L E I I D S N L F I M S S

F G P W O S A C M E A N D E R

F H M V F H E R O D F E O J Y

S T A R S G S Y D I S A V O W

T Y H E R F W H E O F T U G I

J L A W I D O W E R E W R A P

Z I Z A G E B E N A Q V P O E

E N T R A P U B O R R O W E R

P E E D G L J B U I I Y I W W

E N V E L O P E B T I E S W Y

S C P D Y Y S D Q Y M F P U P

BLACKOUT

Work out which squares need to be deleted to reveal a completed crossword. Solution opposite

DOUBLE CROSS

S T Y P D O A M P A I G R T I G P H T

D S E E R A I G H T L I N E N F A T V F E W R E W A R D E D D O S I A L D I S H D E P L O Y I E O P I L S R W E B B E D M O D E O I L L E I R A R I T Y E A S E R I T I N E A W O E H D V R W I S P R A S E O A E U L R W I P E R P


WIDE BAY

MARCH, 2019// SENIORS

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