Special week supports seniors to ‘love later life’

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COTA ACT chief executive Jenny Mobbs

SENIORS Week will be celebrated with a series of public events designed to inform, inspire, entertain and support older members of the community to “love later life”.

Coordinated by Council on the Ageing (COTA ACT), the week (March 18-24) features concerts, information sessions and activities such as yoga, dancing and art appreciation.

Chief executive Jenny Mobbs says: “We celebrate seniors every day – but Seniors Week is particularly special as it gives a public platform to recognise the immense contributions of older people in our community.”

Seniors Week opens with two Chief Minister Concerts on Tuesday, March 19, at Albert Hall featuring the Band of the Royal Military College. This is followed on Thursday, March 21, by the Seniors Expo at EPIC, 10am-3pm.

“The Expo will have more than 120 exhibitors covering travel and leisure, health and social services. The day is all about positive ageing, active engagement, informed choices, and getting the most out of life,” says Gordon Ramsay, ACT Minister for Seniors and Veterans.

Mr Ramsay says that he is proud of the government’s recently launched “Age-Friendly Canberra – A Vision for our City” report, which outlines the government’s commitment to ensuring Canberra continues to grow and evolve as an age-friendly city for all citizens, including older people.

“I know the experiences, wisdom and resources of older people in our city benefit our entire community and it is vital, as a growing city, that we foster and value the contributions of our older citizens and celebrate the pivotal role they play in our community,” he says.

More information at cotaact.org.au

Be certain of the future by making a will

ACT Seniors Week is an opportunity to promote positive community attitudes towards older people and ageing, says ACT’s Public Trustee and Guardian, Andrew Taylor.

“The Public Trustee and Guardian (PTG) is a proud and continued supporter of Seniors Week. Importantly, PTG is only too well aware of the importance of having an up-to-date will and enduring power of attorney,” says Andrew.

“A will is essential to protect your interests in the event of your death.

“To demonstrate PTG’s commitment to seniors in the community, PTG provides a complimentary will to all persons in our community of 60 years and over, with a condition that you appoint the Public Trustee and Guardian as primary executor or as secondary executor to your spouse/partner,” he says.

Andrew warns that a failure to have a valid and up-to-date will can result in extra cost and potentially undesirable or unforeseen outcomes upon a person’s death.

“Your will should be reviewed in the event of a change of circumstances such as marriage, a birth or divorce,” says Andrew.

Other aspects to be considered when making a will include:  

  • Marriage revokes an existing will unless the will was made in contemplation of the marriage.
  • In the case of divorce, the divorced spouse or civil partner will be treated as though they had predeceased the person making the will and will not participate as beneficiary or executor.
  • A person, of either gender, living as a partner with the deceased for over two years, will participate as a beneficiary under the laws of intestacy and may be able to bring an action for a greater share in the will under the Family Provision Act 1969.
  • Unless there is a specific exclusion stated in the will, the share of a deceased child of the person making the will is automatically shared by the person’s children.
  • Your will should appoint a person (executor) to administer the will, to collect and deal with assets, to pay debts and to account to your beneficiaries in keeping with your instructions. An executor should be chosen carefully.

For more information, or to make an appointment to prepare your will, contact the Public Trustee and Guardian on 6207 9800 or visit ptg.act.gov.au

People who care about carers

LOOKING after someone who is elderly, particularly if they are living with a long-term illness or disability, can be very challenging – physically, emotionally, mentally and financially, says Lisa Kelly, CEO of Carers ACT. “Carers ACT’s primary goal is to look after the wellbeing of carers so they can maintain their caring role and has a wide range of services and supports to assist people in caring for an elderly family member or friend,” she says.

Lisa says that Carers ACT can explain how the “My Aged Care” system works and how to get the most out of it.

And for carers wanting to take a break, Lisa recommends letting someone else look after some of your regular tasks, buy special equipment or technology aids, Attend a Carers ACT social, wellbeing or educational activity and book your family member into short-term respite care. Carers ACT can also arrange emergency respite.

Lisa says many carers experience loneliness and social isolation. She suggests carers look into having a volunteer visit the person being cared for and joining social activities and support groups run by Carers ACT.

Carers ACT also provides a wide range of aged-care workshops such as palliative care, wills and power of attorney, dementia care, budgeting, back care, first aid, nutrition for seniors, understanding loss and grief and advanced care planning.

Lisa suggests trying one of Carers ACT’s stress management options such as weekly yoga, meditation or tai chi classes; art and writing therapy; photography and wellness workshops.

Carers ACT, 1800 052222, email carers@carersact.org.au or visit carersact.org.au

The team at Deakin’s Specialist Servies Medical Group… from left, Dr Tween Low, Dr Elizabeth Gallagher and Marita O’Shea

Specialists help women of all ages

THE multidisciplinary team operating out of Specialist Services Medical Group in Deakin offers conservative and surgical treatment options for women of all ages, says specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Elizabeth Gallagher.

Dr Gallagher says the team is made up of obstetrician, gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon Dr Omar Adham, obstetrician, gynaecologist and fertility specialist Dr Tween Low, physiotherapist Marita O’Shea and psychologist Lia Bain.

“Marita is a specialist women’s health physiotherapist with a special interest in pelvic floor dysfunction,” Dr Gallagher says.

“She provides advice and management of age and pelvic-floor appropriate exercise as well as conservative management of bladder and bowel problems, incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.”

Dr Gallagher works with women who have problems such as period problems, incontinence, pelvic pain and pain with sex.

But she says a large number of her patients are older women who come to her with problems such as prolapse, incontinence, abnormal bleeding, vaginal pain, abnormal pap smears and other general gynaecologist needs.

“There’s often something we can do or we might need to investigate further,” she says.

Located one block from the Mint, Dr Gallagher says the newly renovated rooms are light and airy.

“We have easy access to disabled parking and other parking that’s close by and free,” she says.

Specialist Services Medical Group, Lidia Perin Building, 12/12 Napier Close, Deakin. Call 6282 2033, 6162 1649 or email deakin@specialistservices.com.au

Walking poles with suspension

THE BungyPump is the only walking pole with in-built resistance in Australia, says ACT representative, Duncan Craig.

Duncan… BungPump offers additional balance

“BungyPump boosts the benefits of walking, activating 90 per cent of your muscles and burns 77 per cent more calories than walking without poles,” Duncan says.

“It’s a case of ‘no pain, more gain’ as the poles’ in-built suspension eliminates hard shocks, which means that elbows and shoulders are not over-exerted and the pressure is relieved on knees and hips giving your body a low-impact exercise.

“People with lower back pain immediately feel relief, too. One woman, who tried the poles, didn’t think she’d be able to walk even a short distance because of her lower-back pain but she was surprised at the huge difference she felt because the poles eased the pressure from her back.”

Duncan will be demonstrating BungyPumps at the Seniors Expo, holding a series of free “come-and-try” sessions during Seniors Week, and then more sessions will run the following week.

“The sessions will each be 30 minutes in duration and provide information about the different types of poles, the health and fitness benefits of walking with them, and the opportunity to experience walking with the poles,” he says.

“If you can’t make it to the expo, give me a call and come for a walk with me so I can introduce you to BungyPump and you can experience it for yourself, obligation free.”

Call Duncan on 0404 373157, email duncan@bungypump.com.au or visit http://bungypump.com.au

ACT Better Hearing Australia chairman Bill Leane

Helping families give ‘better hearing’ support

BETTER Hearing Australia believes there are four parties to every hearing-loss discussion or decision and ACT branch chairman Bill Leane says of these four parties, the weakest link is family support.

“The kinship knowledge that was once passed from grandmother to granddaughter, to aunty, to niece, has been largely lost and not replaced,” he says.

“The Better Hearing Australia approach to hearing loss is to revive that past kinship knowledge in the context of our modern society.

“We help identify the client’s hearing priorities and engage the family (with current policy settings, and agents’ resources) through our framework and strategies to collaborate and realise those priority goals.”

The other three parties, which Bill says facilitate the experience behind hearing improvement are government policy, policy agents and the disability client.

While the fitting and functionality of hearing devices remains the domain of technical specialists, Bill says hearing-loss management is once again within the family’s grasp.

To strengthen the role family has on hearing matters, Better Hearing Australia provides people with courses, classes and programs that deliver skills to deploy in the wider society.

“Contact Better Hearing now and ask for our 2019 program of information sessions and training courses on strengthening family hearing-loss support networks,” Bill says.

Better Hearing Australia, COTA Building, 2 Wisdom Street, Hughes. Visit bhacanberra.org or call 6281 3962.

Personal Home Lifts Canberra

Domestic lifts keep seniors from moving

PERSONAL Home Lifts Canberra was formed late last year to deliver high-quality, high-safety, domestic electric lifts to the region, says a spokesman of Personal Home Lifts Canberra.

The team will be at the Seniors Week Expo to explain the benefits of the lifts.

We intend to cater to all walks of life in the supply and installation of domestic home lifts to homes,” says the spokesman.

“We have done this in response to many comments passed from those citizens who love their double-storey homes and neighbourhood.

He says some have lived in the same home for many years and prefer not to downsize or move away.

“In other circumstances ill health or injury makes an internal domestic lift a cost-effective method for mobility,” he says.

Personal Home Lifts Canberra offers two models. “Elegance” is for one to two people with a 170-kilogram lift, while the “Elegance Plus” caters for a wheelchair and carer, holding 240 kilograms.

“Designed purely for the domestic market these lifts only take one to two days to install and as they are a self-supporting domestic structure, they need no formal or costly plan,” he says.

“Quite unlike a stairwell chair lift these units are quicker, cleaner and safer than anything currently offered on the market.

“Packed with numerous safety features as well as remote controls these lifts will become a must-have for double-storey homes.”

Personal Home Lifts Canberra. Call 6147 5566 or email hello@personalhomelifts.com.au

Luxury village boasts most liveable climate

THOMPSON Health Care has been providing aged care in NSW since the ‘70s, and now it’s building a beautiful retirement village in Frederickton that,  according to CSIRO, has the most liveable climate in Australia.

“They have beautiful, mild winters and delightful summers, as opposed to Canberra’s cold winters and long, hot summers,” says special projects manager Sarah Rodgers.

Located in a community environment, 436 kilometres north of Sydney, Sarah says the first stage will include 56 villas and a resort-style country club.

“Each resident will have a two-bedroom, plus a flexi room, in a single-level luxury villa,” she says.

“[And it’ll be] right next door to the aged-care facility at Frederickton, which will provide the perfect location for seniors to live well at every stage.”

Sarah describes it as having a country yet coastal atmosphere with a luxury lifestyle.

“People have worked hard all their lives and now it’s time to treat themselves to a bit of luxury in a picture-perfect location,” she says.

“It’s a great place for people who are seniors by themselves and are looking for old-fashioned community values and safety in their later years.”

Sarah says the proprietor of Thompson Health Care, Doug Thompson, is looking forward to welcoming residents in the later half of this year.

Thompson Health Care. Call 8467 9333 or visit thompsonhealthcare.com.au

Richard Cabrita of Life Without Barriers

Organisation breaks ‘barriers’ for seniors

LIFE Without Barriers, now the owner of DUO Services Australia, loves supporting older Australians in Canberra and its surrounding area, which is why it’s excited to be joining other service providers at this year’s Seniors Week expo, says ACT and south west NSW operations manager Richard Cabrita.

“Our purpose at Life Without Barriers is to partner with people to change lives for the better – that includes decisions about how they want to live and where they want to live,” he says.

Richard says Life Without Barriers also provides services such as supporting people with personal care, cleaning and household tasks, garden maintenance, shopping and getting to appointments, as well as help with navigating the aged care sector.

“No matter whether it’s about the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, Community Assistance and Support (CASP) or Home Care Packages, Fee for Service or the NDIS, we’d love to talk this through with you,” he says.

“We appreciate the contribution that seniors make to our community here in the ACT, whether it be by volunteering, participation in local sporting clubs, supporting their families and grandchildren, as well as simply sharing their wisdom and experience with us.

“So when seniors need an extra hand, it’s important to us to provide that assistance.”

This year, Richard says Life Without Barriers has been able to access additional funding to help seniors and are opening up the pathway portals to receive a quicker service.

Life Without Barriers, 25 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith. Call 6213 1600 or visit lwb.org.au

Therma Quilts

Quilts tailored to keep you warm

THERMA Quilts has been keeping Canberrans warm since the ‘80s and continues to keep people warm even as their bodies change, says a Therma Quilts spokeswoman.

“Sensitivity to heat and cold can change as we get older,” she says.

But luckily, using quality textiles, the seamstresses at Therma Quilts hand-make every item suited to the customer’s needs and provide a top-up service when quilts and pillows show signs of wear or loss of warmth and fluffiness.

“Servicing of feather and down products are essential for keeping them in optimal condition for comfort,” she says.

“With time and usage, body proteins and lipids (natural oils and perspiration) are absorbed on to quilt casings and into the feather and down inside.

“Over time, this build-up dampens the down, which causes it to lose its thermal resistance. However, regular servicing of your quilts would ensure that your down is fresh, fluffy and keeps you nice and warm during winter.

“With time and usage, the fabrics on quilts wear out and get thin, but once holes appear there is no need to throw away your quilt.

“Whether you’re wanting to rejuvenate your quilt, customise it or buy a new custom-made one we can look after you,” she says.

Therma Quilts, 10-12 Kemble Court, Mitchell. Call 6241 6859 or visit thermaquilts.com.au

Curtin Optical owner Corey Nicholls

Independent optician offers personal service

OWNER of Curtin Optical, Corey Nicholls, says that its independence from large chains gives customers a more personalised service.

Having been a part of the Curtin community for 20 years, Curtin Optical has three experienced optometrists available for appointments from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Corey and his team stock a wide range of eyewear, contact lenses and accessories.

“We cater to all tastes – from budget to well-known brands,” says Corey.

Curtin Optical are providers to the ACT pension scheme and also DVA.

Curtin Optical also offers mobile optical dispensing services – spectacle selections and deliveries to the elderly or people unable to come into the store due to disability.

This also includes spectacle repairs and adjustments, and an after-hours service.

In addition, Curtin Optical offers an express service for those who have lost or broken their spectacles.

In its full workshop facility, Curtin Optical’s Corey is a fully-qualified optical mechanic and offers an express service on most (stock) single vision jobs, including rimless spectacles.

Curtin Optical’s instore services have a same day turnaround and its mobile jobs have a 24 hour turnaround.

Curtin Optical. Shop 1B, Curtin Place, Curtin. Call 6281 1220 or email looking@curtinoptical.com.au

Hands on ways of being pain free

SEEING a physiotherapist is a great way for seniors to prevent falls, manage lower back pain, shoulder pain and slow down osteoarthritis, according to Hands-On Physiotherapy.

“Pain management is important to allow you to be the best version of you,” says principal physiotherapist and co-owner Catherine Riddel.

Which is why Hands-On Physiotherapy has experience dealing with complex pain management.

Catherine says they do this by utilising a wide variety of treatment techniques and strategies to ensure they can help each client achieve their goals.

“We have hand therapists for upper limb pain management and musculoskeletal physiotherapists to treat neck, back, hip, knee and ankle pain,” she says.

And, Catherine says, as it’s a local physiotherapy service based in Mawson, people can expect a service which provides personalised attention to any needs.

“Hands-On Physiotherapy is committed to providing a holistic physiotherapy service with a commitment to excellence and integrity,” she says.

“Our appointments are one-on-one for the entire treatment period with your therapist.”

So, Catherine says, the staff will help with the pain so the clients can get the maximum enjoyment out of life, with functional capacity and the ability to participate in the activities they love.

Hands-On Physiotherapy, 1/43 Mawson Place, Mawson. Call 6286 6467, email admin@hands-onphysiotherapy.com.au or visit hands-onphysiotherapy.com.au

Catherine Smith, principal of Wholistic Financial Solutions. Photo by Luke Foster

Buy property now before it’s too late

THOSE nearing retirement or in retirement really need to ensure they maximise returns and minimise risk to make sure their super lasts, says Wholistic Financial Solutions’ founder Catherine Smith.

“One way to do this is to buy property in a self-managed super fund (SMSF),” she says.

“[But regardless of your age], if you have ever thought about buying a property in a SMSF your time may be about to run out.”

Catherine says both Labor and Liberal governments are looking to remove the ability for people with a SMSF to borrow to buy a property.

“Their reasoning for this is vague but it is still a very possible outcome of the upcoming Budget or after the election,” Catherine says.

“My suggestion for anyone who is thinking about buying a property in an SMSF would be to do it now before it’s too late.”

Catherine says buying property in an SMSF has great advantages such as investing in bricks and mortar, using gearing to maximise return, diversifying superannuation investments into the property market and reducing the chance of losing a lot of superannuation if the share market crashes.

“At Wholistic Financial Solutions we can help you through all stages of buying a property in an SMSF including setting up the SMSF, arranging the borrowing and even helping find you the investment property,” she says.

For a free meet and greet to discuss this further, Catherine says give the office a ring and ask for an appointment.

Wholistic Financial Solutions, Level 1, 83-101 Lysaght Street, Mitchell. Call 6162 4546 or visit wfcanberra.com.au

Empowering women of all ages

THE supportive women’s-only community at Fernwood Fitness empowers women of all ages and fitness levels to achieve their health and fitness goals, says a Fernwood spokeswoman.

“As we age, our bodies change and so do our health and fitness needs,” she says.

“The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing recommends that seniors aged over 65 undertake at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days.

“Whether it’s to stay active, get fit, or simply reduce stress, Fernwood is the place for you.

Unlimited group fitness is included in your membership, ranging from cardio, strength, dance and mind and body classes. You’ll be able to find something on the timetable to suit you.

“If you’re new to the gym, that’s okay. When you become a member, you will get a step-by-step induction from a support crew like no other, and feel like part of the family in no time at all.”

Visit any Fernwood Club or go to fernwoodfitness.com.au

Advocates stand ready to help with submissions

ADVOCATES from the ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) are on hand to offer free and independent advocacy support following the recent commencement of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

“Recently the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has commenced, in response to the shocking revelations of abuse being perpetrated inside aged care facilities,” ADACAS says.

“The Royal Commission seeks to receive submissions from older people, their families, carers and other stakeholders into issues, challenges and problems that people may be experiencing or might have experienced in the past when they accessed or tried to access aged care services.”

ADACAS CEO Michael Bleasdale says for some people making a submission can be very difficult, and not only because of the technology they are required to use to tell their story and get their point across.

“It can also be very confronting, so the advocates at ADACAS can provide help on how to make these submissions, and support people who may experience distress,” he says.

Deputy CEO Sonia Di Mezza says: “It is vital that people who feel compelled to give testimony at the Commission have their rights protected, and are encouraged to give their version of events without fear of retribution.

“ADACAS will assist people in the ACT to access whatever legal and other supports they need to make their contribution to the Commission.”

ADACAS, Weston Community Hub, corner of Gritten and Hilder Streets, Weston. Call 6242 5060, email adacas@adacas.org.au or visit adacas.org.au

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