In this sponsored post, “CityNews” is celebrating seniors by speaking to people who are passionate about helping them make the most out of later life.
SENIORS Week, which was scheduled from March 23-29 has been postponed due to coronavirus, says Jenny Mobbs, CEO of the Council on the Ageing ACT (COTA).
Seniors Week, organised annually by COTA is the celebration for and of older Canberrans, says Jenny.
Jenny says that COTA ACT will instead host ACT Seniors Week on September 14-20.
“We need to be guided by the government to ensure people’s safety,” says Jenny.
“We will postpone Seniors Week until spring and hope to work it in with Floriade, to make it a big seniors event.” Older people are our fastest growing demographic in the ACT, says Jenny and she wants seniors not to be socially isolated from friends and information during this time.
The COTA ACT office at Hughes Community Centre remains open for visitors but some scheduled group classes and activities may be changed or cancelled and Jenny advises people to call or visit the COTA ACT website for updates on their group classes.
“We don’t want people to be lonely. Heed the government’s health messages such as hand washing and keep up to date with current information from the radio and newspapers,” she says.
“Call us if you need help.
“COTA ACT is here to listen, advise and support seniors during this time.”
She says that her team’s mission is to never leave a question unanswered by those who contact COTA.
“Everywhere and everything that affects older people, we try to be there,” she says.
“Our ageing population is very fast growing and they are (more likely to be) staying here in the ACT. Retirees used to move away but now they are staying and that’s a big change.”
Jenny says that the need for information, support and connection for seniors is strong. “Our staff presents 60 seminars each year… our ‘Seniors Scoop’ newsletter goes to a database of 35,000 people,” she says.
About 50 phone calls are made every day to their seniors information and advisory phone line, supported by their dedicated group of volunteers.
With wide-ranging issues affecting older people in Canberra, Jenny says that COTA is proactive in lobbying the government and working with them to help find solutions in areas such as transport, health, energy costs and housing.
COTA also has advisers and experts to help people and their families navigate the aged-care system, downsizing, wills and end-of-life plans.
“If we hear of an issue, such as the introduction of the NBN or development of a new policy, we get people in to talk about it and do follow ups,” says Jenny.
COTA ACT has been working with the government to launch the next stage of “Age Friendly Canberra – A Vision for our City”.
Seniors Minister, Gordon Ramsay says: “I am proud to launch the next stage of our work in this area – the ‘Age Friendly City Plan 2020–2024’. The plan will guide the work of the ACT government over the next four years to continue to ensure older Canberrans are valued, supported and connected.”
For more information and support phone COTA ACT on 6282 3777 or visit cotaact.org.au
Move it or lose it, says Jacqui
“THE old saying ‘move it or lose it’ is so true. Older people need to keep moving to sustain their movement and capacity,” says Jacqui Simmonds, who runs the weekly dance class held at COTA in Hughes every Friday morning for 30 or so older people, including her mother, Margaret.
Margaret says that she joined Jacqui’s dance class when it started 18 months ago and had never danced before. She says her balance and stability has improved since doing the class.
“Balance is important to me and being able to keep doing the things I want to do,” says Margaret who also volunteers at the COTA office and helps at the Seniors Week events.
“I also love the music, as it is music that our age group know and enjoy. It’s a lot of fun,” she says.
Jacqui, an experienced tertiary dance educator says that she runs the chair-based class as an off-shoot of the Belconnen Arts Centre’s “Dance for All” classes. She says that dancing provides older people with physical, emotional and social benefits.
“It is such a privilege to offer an hour of fun, laughter and joy,” she says.
The dance program is looking to expand and, Jacqui says, there are a range of other dancing classes available for seniors, including the Canberra Dance Theatre’s over-55’s troupe, GOLDs.
Inquiries also at cotaact.org.au
Strategic renovations get great results
YOUR Property Profits works with downsizers looking to move onto the next chapter of their retirement and wanting to maximise the sale of their home before they move into a smaller place or a retirement village, says owner Kim Persson.
“Often seniors do not have the energy or the know-how to renovate their home for sale, and sometimes they find themselves asset-rich but cash-poor,” says Kim.
Your Property Profits has a unique business model, unlike any other company in Australia, in which Kim and her business partner Sophie McLean, plus a team of tradespeople, stylists and real estate experts, organise and manage a renovation, and style and prepare a home inside-and-out, for sale.
They say they take all the hard work on for their clients and pay for all the up-front costs, confident in their ability and experience in the industry to make strategic improvements to a home that will increase the sale result.
“We do everything for our clients, they just have to leave us the keys and could enjoy a holiday or move in with family,” says Kim.
Kim says she and Sophie strategically analyse the market and what the majority of buyers want in a particular area.
“We renovate to appeal to buyers, to get the best price,” says Kim.
Unique village has a one move mission
GREENWAY Views, based on Athllon Drive, Greenway, represents a significant financial investment into a new kind of seniors’ living, according to LDK Seniors’ Living managing director Paul Browne.
From living independently in retirement through to end-of-life care, the model provides higher intensity personal care where it’s needed, with the mission to help seniors live independently in their homes for life, as part of its “one move promise”.
“People are downsizing later now, some are in their early 80s, and there’s no point doing that if you don’t get access to care when it’s needed,” Paul says.
“It’s unique, very much the first of its kind, and reflects the different mindset we’re seeing now in relation to aged care and retirement.
“If you’re 80 today, you’d have been 20 in 1960, this is a generation that is looking for more.”
Paul describes Greenway Views as “like a land-based cruise ship”, with more than 30 social activities, and facilities including shops, an auditorium, cafes, a corner store, wine cellar, beautiful landscaped gardens, restaurants, a Pilates studio, learning spaces and an RSL onsite.
“It’s all overlooking the mountains, and close to facilities including the South Point shopping centre and the Vikings Club in Tuggeranong,” Paul says.
“We have more than 380 senior living homes, repurposed from existing buildings, and with no exit fees – people are more paranoid about making financial mistakes later in life and want to see all contingencies.”
Greenway Views, Athllon Drive, Greenway. Call 1300 089872 or visit ldk.com.au
Garden village feels like home
WITH beautiful landscaped gardens, a veggie patch and a genuine home-like, family feel, Adria Village accommodates elderly people who need low to high care, says general manager Iva Vujica.
“We also offer accommodation from respite to long-term care, as well as a shared community room for activities and social events,” she says.
Adria Village is a medium-sized, 24-hour facility offering high-quality aged care, with staff that show dedication and make the lives of residents safe, comfortable and enjoyable, Iva says.
“We have a registered nurse on site, available 24/7 should anyone need medical attention, and I’m also a nurse,” she says.
“We offer a laundry service and a variety of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as morning and afternoon tea, taking into account residents’ dietary needs.”
Iva says the village has 36 two-bedroom independent living villas, and also caters for up to 42 residents in private rooms with an ensuite.
“We offer outings twice a week on our private bus, on Mondays to the local shops or for a coffee, and on Fridays to somewhere like the Australian National Botanic Gardens or to a club for lunch,” she says.
“Adria Village is close to Cooleman Court and the bus service outside the village connects us to Woden, Civic, Belconnen and Tuggeranong town centres.”
As well as organised social programs and twice-daily exercise classes, the village provides multilingual staff, regular mass, an on-site chapel, a psychologist, podiatrist, chemist, hairdresser, pharmacist and a themed “happy hour” once a month.
Diverse social groups tackle isolation
THOSE who are over 65 and speak English as a second language can be disadvantaged as they age, according to Jen Ramirez, who is the NSW/ACT care services manager for the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra (MCCI).
“We want to help seniors avoid social isolation, by creating social groups and services that address the wellness and reablement provisions of the [Australian Government’s] new Aged Care Quality Standards,”
“We have a weekly social group for the Serbian community in Farrer, and the Macedonian community in Queanbeyan where seniors can enjoy speaking in their mother tongue,” says Jen.
“We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to establish more groups throughout Canberra and Queanbeyan to address the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) seniors.”
Another focus for MCCI is on helping seniors in CALD communities to stay healthy and comfortable in their own homes.
“We can provide support through domestic assistance, personal care, flexible respite and individual support services,” Jen says.
“We want to make sure they understand what they are entitled to as they age.
“We believe in empowering the elders of our community to remain independent and supporting the carers and families of the Canberra and Queanbeyan region.”
Palmerston Community Centre, 8 Tiptree Crescent, Palmerston. Call 6169 3986 or visit mcci.org.au
Cochlear implants step in when hearing aids fail
ONE in three people over the age of 65 experience hearing loss, and if hearing loss is not addressed by middle age, there is a higher risk of dementia, says a spokesperson from the Royal Institute for Death and Blind Children (RIDBC), which runs the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program Canberra.
As such, regular hearing tests are recommended after the age of 50, says Deakin-based ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon Dr Tim Makeham.
“We know hearing loss is prevalent amongst older Australians,” says Dr Makeham, who is urging people to consider a cochlear implant when their hearing aids are no longer enough.
Hearing devices such as a cochlear implant keep people connected to those that matter most in their lives like family and friends, he says.
Last year, the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre (SCIC), Australia’s largest cochlear implant program and an RIDBC service, performed more than 400 cochlear implant surgeries, says RIDBC.
One person, who says he benefitted from the surgery was Alan Edwards. When his hearing loss increased over time, he says he became distant and as a result withdrew from society and, to some extent, his family. He says he persisted with hearing aids despite them becoming “physically painful”, but they weren’t enough.
“It is beyond measure the [positive] impact the cochlear implant has had on me,” says Alan.
And, a cochlear implant can have a positive impact on more people, according to RIDBC’s Jo Dodds.
For a comprehensive hearing test to determine if an implantable solution is right for you, contact the Canberra team at SCIC on 1300 581 391 or email@example.com. Fully bulk-billed appointments are available with a referral from an audiologist or GP.
The many benefits of moving
AN ACTIVE lifestyle has many physical and mental benefits and is particularly important for seniors, according to Orthopaedics ACT’s orthopaedic surgeon Dr Nicholas Tsai, who specialises in the areas of spine, hip, knee and trauma.
“Activity promotes cardiovascular fitness and social interactions; it elevates the mood and also helps to prevent osteoporosis due to inactivity and lack of sun exposure,” he says.
“All joints benefit from moderate daily movements, whether the exercises are land-based or in water. Walking aids are also important for pain relief if you have arthritis in the lower limbs.”
Orthopaedics ACT strives to provide the best advice to all members of the senior community, says Dr Tsai.
“Patients will be assessed by experienced orthopaedic surgeons, and in most cases a conservative management plan will be provided,” he says.
“The goal is always to improve the condition and to return to an active lifestyle as soon as possible.”
Dr Tsai says patients with mild symptoms will be referred either to their onsite sport and exercise medicine physician Dr Lari Trease, or a physiotherapist participating in the GLA:D exercise program, which helps people with hip and knee osteoarthritis manage their symptoms.
Orthopaedics ACT also offers joint replacement information sessions for those who have to undergo joint replacement surgery.
“Surgical intervention is offered as the last resort, usually after conservative management has not been successful or if the condition is deemed so severe that conservative treatment is unlikely to improve it,” he says.
Orthopaedics ACT, Woden Specialist Medical Centre, Level 2, 90 Corinna Street, Woden.
Call 6221 9320 or visit orthoact.com.au
Mike’s lifts keep seniors home for longer
MAINTAINING independence becomes extremely important as we age, says Personal Home Lifts Canberra owner Mike Bresnik.
“We cater to all walks of life in the supply and installation of domestic home lifts,” says Mike.
He says domestic lifts are gaining popularity as people choose to stay in their home, alongside trusted neighbours and lifelong friends, but are no longer able to climb their stairs safely.
“We hear from many people who love their double-storey homes and the neighbourhood they’re in, and don’t want to have to move or downsize,” he says.
“Adding a lift can save them money and stress as well.”
He says ill health or injury can also make an internal domestic lift a cost-effective way to help with mobility.
Personal Home Lifts Canberra offers two models. The “Elegance” will suit one to two people with a 170kg lift, while the “Elegance Plus” caters for a wheelchair and carer, holding 240kg.
“Designed purely for the domestic market, these lifts only take one to two days to install and as they’re a self-supporting structure, they need no formal or costly plan,” he says.
“Unlike a stairwell chair lift, these are quicker, cleaner and safer than anything currently offered on the market.
“Packed with numerous safety features for peace of mind, as well as remote controls, these lifts can become a must-have for double-storey homes.”
Personal Home Lifts Canberra. Call 6147 5566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The ageing risks of diabetes
OLDER people are more at risk of diabetes, according to Natalie Smith, the ACT general manager of Diabetes NSW & ACT.
She says more than 18,000 people in the ACT are registered as living with diabetes, of which 82 per cent of those are living with type 2 diabetes.
In Australia, about 280 people are diagnosed every day, according to Diabetes NSW & ACT, and one in four adults over the age of 25 are living with diabetes or prediabetes.
“We want to get the message out there and provide education and awareness,” Natalie says.
Type 2 diabetes can often develop in older age groups, according to Diabetes NSW & ACT, which is why it is very proud to be able to support the community through awareness activities, screening events, support and education opportunities.
“We are offering [more than] 30 face-to-face education programs in the ACT until June to support those living with diabetes, and our membership for concession card holders and pensioners costs $33 and is valid until June 2021,” she says.
Not-for-profit provides care for the caring
CARERS may experience isolation, often have their own health problems, lose touch with friends, and have higher levels of exhaustion, depression and worry, according to Carers ACT general manager Kim Bool.
“Caring for somebody who is elderly or living with a long-term illness or disability can be quite exhausting, so Carers ACT focuses on providing support that will help make a carer’s life easier,” she says.
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 support to assist people in looking after an elderly family member or friend.
Kim says Carers ACT can explain how the “My Aged Care” system works and how to get the most out of it, too.
And, one of the most significant supports Carers ACT provides is help for carers to take short breaks from caring in order to recharge.
Carers ACT encourages them to “think outside the box” about ways they would like to have a break beyond the traditional option where a professional support worker temporarily cares for their family member. They say there are other options such as Carers ACT’s Deakin Cottage or residential respite or in-home care.
“Taking a break could also mean having someone else take on regular tasks, like transport to medical appointments, cooking, gardening, cleaning and personal care,” Kim says.
Experts unite to improve the health of seniors
TO make life easier for seniors, Arthritis ACT offers support through exercise and social groups in a one-stop shop of coordinated care, says CEO
“We know it’s important to keep active and healthy as we age, and Arthritis ACT has a team of experienced exercise physiologists, physiotherapists, counsellors, occupational therapists and dietary specialists who can help,” she says.
“The beauty of this is that they all work together to improve the health of seniors.”
Rebecca says Arthritis ACT has many support networks for those with long-term conditions, and can link seniors in with specialists.
“People can pop in if they want to discuss their needs, but if it’s an allied health requirement they will need to make an appointment to guarantee they will see who they need,” she says.
“The great thing is we can schedule more than one appointment at a time, which makes everything so much easier.”
Arthritis ACT also runs support groups, exercise programs and social activities such as movie groups to help people dealing with arthritis pain speak with others going through the same experience.
“Our range of exercise programs include 30 sessions of hydrotherapy each week, yoga, tai chi, strength and balance classes and aqua aerobics,” she says.
Keeping Canberrans warm at any age
SENSITIVITY to heat and cold can change as we get older, according to a spokeswoman from Therma Quilts, who says the company has been keeping Canberrans warm since the 1980s.
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, says the spokeswoman.
“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.”
Therma Quilts, 10-12 Kemble Court, Mitchell. Call 6241 6859 or visit thermaquilts.com.au
Corey makes access to eyewear easy
CURTIN Optical stocks a wide range of eyewear, contact lenses and accessories, says owner Corey Nicholls, pictured.
Having been a part of the Curtin community for 20 years, Curtin Optical has three experienced optometrists available for appointments from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
“We cater to all tastes – from budget to well-known brands,” says Corey.
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 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.
Curtin Optical’s instore services have a same day turnaround and its mobile jobs have a 24-hour turnaround.
Corey says its independence from large chains gives customers a more personalised service. They are also providers to the ACT pension scheme and DVA.
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. Shop 1B, Curtin Place, Curtin. Call 6281 1220 or email
Calls to nominate (and thank) volunteers
CANBERRA’S peak body for volunteering and community information, VolunteeringACT, is calling for nominations for the Senior Volunteer of the Year Award.
“Recognising the extraordinary work of volunteers is vital,” says VolunteeringACT CEO Vicky Darling.
“Older Canberrans volunteer so many hours each year. While volunteers do not expect to be paid for their contribution, we acknowledge and celebrate these individuals, and want them to know their acts of selflessness do not go unnoticed and, in fact, epitomise what it means to be a part of the Australian community.
This year, the 29th year of the Volunteering Awards, there are nine award categories, with the Senior Volunteer of the Year Award honouring an individual or team (aged over 55) whose volunteering contribution has made a significant impact, Vicky says.
“It’s a time where we take stock of the unparalleled contribution volunteers make to our community, and thank them for their hard work, knowing we live in a world where we are asking more of volunteers than ever before,” she says.
Vikcy says head to volunteeringact.org.au to nominate (and thank) a senior volunteer today. Nominations are open until 5pm, April 6.
VolunteeringACT, Level 2, 2020 City Walk, Civic. Call 6251 4060 or visit volunteeringact.org.au
Enjoy later life without home maintenance
FOR seniors, now is the time to enjoy life without the demands of home maintenance, says Goodwin’s executive manager of retirement living, Erik Boddeus.
With retirement villages in Monash, Ainslie, Crace and Farrer, Erik says Goodwin provides communities where seniors can enjoy their later years of life.
“Trained and reliable Goodwin carers can help you with a range of tasks in the home and out in the community,” Erik says.
“Services are tailored to your specific needs so you can live the life you want.”
Residents can choose from one, two or three bedroom architect-designed award-winning villas or apartments within its vibrant and active communities and resort-style facilities.
There are also live-in care communities, which are a new generation of “nursing homes” offering “luxurious accommodation” that residents can personalise, says Erik.
Goodwin has a large care team, which Erik says includes 24/7 on-site nurses, professional chefs, allied health staff, activity coordinators and Australia’s industry-first full-time, in-house pharmacist.
“Demand for our services is increasing and we’re well placed in Canberra to offer this to local seniors,” Erik says.
And, Goodwin offers in-home care, so seniors can stay in their home for longer, he says.
Assistive technology gets people moving
ESTABLISHED in 1993, Total Mobility sells, supports and services a broad range of “assistive technology” to individuals, aged care facilities and hospitals.
“We provide a unique service in Canberra as we have a wide range of mobility products and equipment for sale or rental,” says Total Mobility ACT branch manager Tim Kapustin.
From basic products to assist daily life such as walking sticks or aids to open jars or pick items off the ground, to customised powered scooters, Total Mobility sells to the public as well as works with people who have funding through the NDIS or community aged care packages.
With two service technicians based in the ACT, Tim says the team provides great service and support to their customers.
“Our staff are experts and experienced in the industry,” he says.
“People can come to see us in our showroom and know that the person who serves them is a product specialist.”
And if there’s any tricky or highly technical questions that the eight-person team can’t answer immediately, Tim says they can refer queries onto their colleagues in Sydney.
“We don’t sell items just for the sake of the sale. We work with our clients to find the best solution for them, within their budget,” says Tim.
Reliable occupational therapists keep seniors safe
ROSELLA Occupational Therapy has been providing experienced, reliable occupational therapy services in the ACT area since 2016, according to director Joanne Kinsella.
“Our services are delivered within people’s homes, as we’re focused on keeping seniors safe in the community,” she says.
Joanne says Rosella can provide assistive equipment, including wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walking aids, adjustable beds, lift-recliner chairs, custom seating, hoists, lifting aids and mobile shower commode chairs.
“The list is endless – we can assess people’s homes and identify potential needs, and then make suggestions for equipment that will help,” she says.
Rosella Occupational Therapy also provides falls risk assessments, according to Joanne, who says they’re valuable for people who are thinking ahead about preventing falls, as well as those who have already fallen.
“We look at changing the environment, removing trip hazards, improving lighting, looking at shoes, glasses, improving strength and coordination and making routines easier,” she says.
“Another focus for us is dementia support, to provide appropriate recreational activities, enable people to be able to do more for themselves and take away frustration as much as possible.”
Rosella Occupational Therapy, call 0457 206492 or email email@example.com
Caring team gives personalised support
THROUGH a mix of individualised services, annecto, a not-for-profit originally established in Melbourne in 1969, helps seniors stay living in their homes for as long as possible, says practice leader Beth Wurcker.
The Canberra location has been servicing the region for three years now, and is active in Queanbeyan and Googong, too, according to Beth who says annecto is offering four funding levels of aged-care packages to the region, from which families then select the services they need.
“This could be anything from domestic assistance, personal care, overnight care, shopping or getting out to social events [and] we’ll soon be taking a small group of three or four to the art gallery and for lunch,” she says.
“We can also provide nurses, physios, maintenance or personal support equipment.”
The non-faith-based organisation is extremely proud of its small, friendly team of support workers here in the ACT, says case manager Liss Guest.
“We ensure that the support worker is compatible with the client, as it really has to be the right fit,” Liss says.
“As we’re so small, we can provide a very responsive, unique and personalised service, and the highest quality support so our clients feel safe and comfortable at home.
“We’re a caring and inclusive team, and we’re on the journey with the family.”
Kerstin helps seniors navigate the law
FROM buying and selling properties to new relationships, separations and general family law advice, seniors can face the same legal situations as younger people, says KJB Law’s estate planning special counsel Kerstin Glomb.
“While my area of expertise is estate planning, wills and enduring powers of attorney, as well as superannuation, [which includes] ensuring the proper nominations go where they should, there are many occasions where the legalities of a situation apply to any age,” says Kerstin, who is also a notary public.
Kerstin says KJB Law looks after people’s affairs, including grant of probate, wills and family trusts, too.
KJB Law says it has invested in specialised solicitors and staff to practice across a range of areas including estate planning, family law, conveyancing and commercial law to ensure that it’s always able to provide legal services with prompt attention and high-quality.
Its principals, Andrew Freer, Des Moore and Jo Twible, say they present the human side of the legal profession making the law more approachable and easier to understand.
And, Jo Twible and associate Raina Sinha both have expertise in retirement village contracts, including aged-care entry and exit, and inter-family transfers.
KJB Law, ground floor, 10 Corinna Street, Woden. Call 6281 0999 or visit kjblaw.com.au
New partnership has solutions for independence
MOBILITY Matters, which specialises in the sale of rehabilitation and hospital equipment, has joined forces with Leef Independent Living Solutions to bring a bigger range to the market, says regional manager Kristy Randall, who is part of the new leadership team for the group.
Recently, the three Mobility Matters’ showrooms in Fyshwick, Bega and Batemans Bay have joined Leef Independent Living Solutions.
Leef’s general manager of integrated care and functional health Cathie Lindholm says the Leef group will enhance Mobility Matters’ current range with new specialised items such as eating and drinking products like feeding arms to allow a person to feed independently or an electronic spoon to assist people whose hands tremor.
“Our slogan is ‘reverse the way you feel’,” Cathie says.
“Whatever their circumstances, we strive to make people’s lives easier, and as independent as possible.”
Cathie says Leef has a big focus on supporting people with dementia and has specialised products such as jigsaws and robotic pets.
“Dementia patients can become agitated and disoriented so having something like a pet can give them something to focus on,” says Cathie.
“The robotic dogs and cats are programmed to look at you when you speak to them, they even have a heartbeat and snore when they sleep!
“Whatever the challenges people face, there will be something we can do to make it easier, a bit of fun or make it possible.”
Good health starts with the feet
WITH 30 years’ experience in podiatry, Dr Mark Clayton of The Healthy Foot in Dickson has been helping people identify and manage their podiatric pain and chronic foot injuries for decades.
“Usually the feet are the compensators, they compensate for any abnormalities,” says Mark, who believes it’s possible for chronic foot pain, knee pain and hip pain to be linked.
“From my point of view, it’s good to start at the feet. If you adjust the feet correctly, the rest of the body can follow.”
As well as identifying and treating causes of podiatric discomfort or pain, Mark says The Healthy Foot can provide footwear advice, preventative care, aesthetic treatments and can create orthotics tailored to each individual’s needs.
He says they sell orthotic-friendly footwear in many styles, colours and sizes.
The Healthy Foot, 1/151 Cowper Street, Dickson, or 1/37 Heard Street, Mawson. Call 6262 8383 or visit thehealthyfoot.com.au
Walking poles with suspension
THE BungyPump is the only walking pole with in-built resistance in Australia, says the ACT representative of BungyPump, Duncan Craig.
“BungyPump boosts the benefits of walking, activating 90 per cent of your muscles and burns up to 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.
“The suspension also provides upper body strength and toning 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 holding a series of free “come-and-try” sessions during March.
“The sessions will each be 45 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.
“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.”
Charity helps seniors achieve their goals
LIFE Without Barriers supports people to achieve their goals and maximise their opportunities to participate as fully in society as they wish, according to ACT and south west NSW operations manager Richard Cabrita.
Richard says Life Without Barriers values independence, which is why it runs training programs to help seniors stay independent, such as a popular program on slips, trips and falls for older Canberrans.
“This is by far our most popular session; booked out months in advance,” he says.
“We have heard so many good reports, individuals are feeling stronger, able to confidently access their home and community with significant reduction in falls.”
Richard says Life Without Barriers was established close to three decades ago by a determined group of community members with a clear vision to partner with people to improve lives for the better.
Soon, Richard says Life Without Barriers will finalise its merge with DUO Services, a not-for-profit service provider for seniors and people with disability, to provide help with daily living and life tasks, companionship, community and social support, personal care and mobile services, therapeutic and clinical care, cleaning and household tasks, home modifications, maintenance and handyman, garden maintenance and modifications, and respite care.
Volunteers support people with Parkinson’s
PARKINSON’S ACT supports and promotes the wellbeing and interests of people with the nerve-degenerating disease Parkinson’s, says Parkinson’s ACT president John Sheldrick.
“We are a volunteer-run, non-profit organisation providing information, support and education for people living with Parkinson’s, as well as their families, friends and carers in the ACT and region,” he says.
“As part of this we run five different support groups, including two dance groups, a singing group [called the ‘Bushlarks’] and painting with Parkinson’s.
“We’re also establishing a young onset group in Canberra, as a place for people to chat and share experiences.”
John says they host information seminars and publish a monthly bulletin.
“We contribute to Parkinson’s research, as well as providing support for aged-care nurses in improving their knowledge of the disease, and scholarships for a student nurse at UC and a medical student at ANU.”
Kristen’s fun and affordable way to move
NORDIC Walking is one of the most affordable and fun ways to get moving, and stay active and healthy, so seniors can keep doing all the things they love, says Kristen Pratt of Capital Nordic Walking.
“Exercise, when done properly, is proven to boost health,” she says.
“Even a few minutes every day can strengthen the immune system, improve brain function, reverse the effects of ageing in the heart, and may even improve your memory.
“Exercise can also be a boon to mental health.”
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Kristen says exercising outdoors is by far the safest option because there are less people, little or no contact with surfaces that others might have touched and plenty of fresh air.
“Nordic Walking is an incredible fitness activity – it’s fun, super effective, and convenient,” she says.
“It suits all ages and fitness levels and is suitable for people with health and mobility challenges like Parkinson’s, arthritis or balance problems.
“It’s a low-impact, total-body workout – as gentle as walking – but delivering results that are proven to be way better than walking, jogging or cycling.
“It doubles the number of muscles being worked to over 90 per cent, can blast as many calories as running, strengthens your upper body and core, improves your posture, and takes a huge amount of strain off your legs, hips and back.
“Best of all, it’s fun to do with friends and family.”