In this sponsored post, “CityNews” speaks to the organisations in the ACT who support seniors and are passionate about helping them make the most out of later life. 

LAST year the United Nations declared that the decade of 2020-2030 would be dedicated to promoting healthy ageing amongst seniors. 

The “Decade of Healthy Ageing” will bring together experts to set out a strategy for seniors to ensure they live healthy, happy lives, and to promote the wellbeing of seniors of all ages.

To celebrate seniors in Canberra and promote healthy lives here, “CityNews” speaks to the organisations in the ACT who support seniors and are passionate about helping them make the most out of later life. 

COTA ACT CEO Jenny Bobbs

Community art competition encourages fun 

THE Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT is seeking entries for its “Silver is Gold” community art and photographic competitions, which it’s hosting as part of its year-long “Silver is Gold Festival”.

“For the art competition, we’re seeking works of art by amateur artists that feature at least one older person, aged 55 or older,” says COTA ACT CEO Jenny Mobbs. 

“A range of materials can be used, including watercolours, acrylic paint, pencil, charcoal or mixed media.

“Entries for the photographic competition should feature an older person or persons, aged 55 or above, taken with a camera or mobile phone.”

Anyone can enter, with six age categories in each competition – preschool to year 1, years 2-6, years 7-10, years 11-12, an open category for those aged 18-54, and a seniors category for those aged 55 and over.

Both competitions are free to enter and open to all ACT residents, regardless of age or ability. 

Each entrant can submit two photos and one artwork, completed in the past two years, and prizes will include gift vouchers for books, photography or art-related items.

“Entries might feature a portrait, someone enjoying social or fitness activities, intergenerational moments, activities with grandchildren or perhaps a mature-age worker or volunteer,” Jenny says. 

“Our judges are looking for entries that capture a moment or tell a story, and we encourage a sense of fun and humour.”

For more information and entry forms, visit cotaact.org.au, call 6282 3777 during business hours or email events@cotaact.org.au 

Pre-surgery programs help with recovery

WHEN it comes to knee and hip surgeries, Arthritis ACT offers pre-habilitation programs – “pre-hab” for short – to help make recovery a success, says CEO Rebecca Davey.

Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey.

Prior to surgery, or to avoid surgery, pre-habilitation programs build up muscle tone around the knee or hip to allow for better rehabilitation after surgery, she says. 

“The outcome following surgery, or even the ability to avoid needing to have surgery, is what makes this program so important,” she says.

At Arthritis ACT, a not-for-profit that supports anyone suffering from chronic pain, illness or disability, not just arthritis and joint pain, pain is treated in an holistic way, not just addressing pain through management or treatment but also the psychological components to pain, Rebecca says. 

“What we find is if you’re not treating your mind as well as your body then your body is going to suffer,” she says.

“If you’re not treating the whole person, you’re not going to get a vital outcome.”

Arthritis ACT’s programs address the isolation and anxiety that many chronic pain sufferers feel through support group sessions or one-on-one meetings, she says. 

“We support people that are just doing it really tough and don’t know where to turn,” she says.

Arthritis ACT also supports people on NDIS, DVA and My Aged Care, helping people work towards managed pain solutions for the future, says Rebecca.  

Arthritis ACT, 170 Haydon Drive, Bruce. Call 6251 2055, email info@arthritisact.org.au or visit arthritisact.org.au

New program offers advanced care

Occupational therapist Kate Sterrenberg and vice-president Marcia Kimball.

RUN by the experienced occupational therapist, Kate Sterrenberg, Parkinson’s ACT is offering a new program to help with symptom management and advance care planning, says Parkinson’s ACT vice-president Marcia Kimball.

The program, funded through a John James Foundation grant, will run one day a week for the rest of the year, Marcia says. 

“Kate will visit the home of any people requesting the service, and comprehensively assess what patients may need and how to make their day-to-day lives much easier,” she says. 

“We call her a super therapist – she’s been a godsend.”

Parkinson’s ACT, a not-for-profit, aims to provide information, education, support activities, understanding and management programs to improve the quality of life of people with the neuro degenerative condition, Marcia says. 

About 2000 people suffer from Parkinson’s disease in Canberra, and, with a growing ageing population, this number continues to rise, she says. 

Marcia’s husband John has Parkinson’s, and Marcia says she’s seen first-hand how much Parkinson’s ACT can help, and what it can mean to those with the condition and their families.

Marcia says Parkinson’s ACT offers support groups to all types of people in the Parkinson’s community. 

“There’s groups available for women, men, carers, young onset and more,” she says.

“Our vision is to help make sure people are well-informed, and have the support to help them through their condition.”

Parkinson’s ACT, 7 Collett Place, Pearce. Visit parkinsonsact.org.au or call 6290 1984.

Pairing seniors with the right hearing aid

FOR more than 35 years, the ACT Deafness Resource Centre has been advising seniors on the right hearing aid to suit their needs, says CEO Glenn Vermeulen.

ACT Deafness Resource Centre CEO Glenn Vermeulen

For some people, it may be that the television has become hard to hear, while for others, they might be missing out on what their grandchildren are saying, says Glenn.

“We provide them with information that can help them make an informed choice about the type of hearing aid they get and what they can expect from them,” he says. 

“[We also help them] go into their audiology appointment armed with lots of information that helps them understand what’s going on, and make that choice based on accurate information, both from us and the audiologist.”

And for those who are already fitted with a hearing aid, Glenn says their John James Foundation “Hearing Aiders” program goes into nursing homes to charge and clean them for patients.

There’s no charge to residents for the service, which Glenn says is currently running monthly in 16 nursing homes across Canberra.

Since the ACT Deafness Resource Centre first opened in 1985, Glenn says the technology has continued to change rapidly, with hearing aids becoming obsolete after only four to five years.

“Technology is moving very fast,” he says.

ACT Deafness Resource Centre, 1b/27 Mulley Street, Holder. Call 6287 4393, email hearinghelp@actdrc.org.au or visit actdrc.org.au

Financial advice for all life stages 

HELPING people financially at all stages of life, the team at Wholistic Financial Solutions understand that seniors have unique financial needs, says CEO Catherine Smith.

Wholistic Financial Solutions CEO Catherine Smith

“Senior clients often have differing needs such as planning for retirement, investing in retirement, managing their cash flow, minimising their taxes, planning their estate matters and assisting their next generation build wealth,” says Catherine.

“Wholistic can help in relation to all of these matters.”

Not just accountants, the team members at Wholistic Financial Solutions are also financial planners, mortgage brokers, property advisers, retirement consultants and superannuation specialists who look after the “whole” of someone’s financial needs, all under one roof, she says. 

With a vision to take clients on a journey to financial freedom, Catherine says they are the most awarded team of financial and property experts in Australia.

“We understand how conflicting opinions from professionals in different fields can make the financial world a lot more complicated,” says Catherine.

“At Wholistic Financial Solutions we work as a team to answer all your questions simply and efficiently. The unique combination of our services also makes our advice very affordable.”

Running a seminar on March 22 and 23 at the Ainslie Football Club, Catherine says: “Those interested can find out the 36 factors affecting property right now and how to build wealth through property.”

Wholistic Financial Solutions, 4/6 Pelle Street, Mitchell. Call 6162 4546 or visit wholisticfinancialsolutions.com.au

Lawyers take discomfort out of wills

WHILE death can be hard to think about, Capon and Hubert Lawyers and Mediators help take the discomfort out of making a will, says wills and estate planning lawyer Ashilpa Khanna. 

Wills and estate planning lawyer Ashilpa Khanna of Capon & Hubert Lawyers & Mediators.

According to Ashilpa, there’s a lot of common misconceptions related to wills. 

One is that the spouse takes control of the estate and its assets, which is not generally the case, and another is that superannuation is governed by the will, which is also not generally true, she says. 

A lot of people also make a will that, over time, becomes irrelevant to their current situation, she says. 

“The team at Capon and Hubert can make sure your plan for the future is expertly organised, updated and ready,” she says.

“Our staff are experienced in their fields and we take pride in knowing our clients.”

A relative dying without a will also causes significant strife, since a will names the legal guardians of the person’s children, she says. 

“The last thing you want to have if you die is a fight over who’s going to raise your children,” she says.

But to better deal with any sudden tragedies, Ashilpa firmly believes everyone should have an estate plan and it all starts with a will. 

At Capon and Hubert, Ashilpa says great care is taken into providing expert and honest advice, ensuring each client is aware of the legal process and disclosing any upfront fees.

Capon and Hubert Lawyers and Mediators, first floor, 32-38 Townshend Street, Phillip. Email enquiries@chsol.com.au, call 6152 9203 or visit chsol.com.au

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. 

Orthopaedics ACT’s orthopaedic surgeon Dr Nicholas Tsai.

“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 to 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, Phillip. Call 6221 9320 or visit orthoact.com.au 

Pool offers a therapeutic exercise alternative  

FOR people living with arthritis or people recovering from surgery, the Hartley Hydrotherapy pool is a therapeutic alternative to regular exercise, says operations manager Jess Surgeon.

Located in Hughes, the pool is heated to 32-35C with a shallow 1.1m depth and is open to mixed sessions as well as pre-booked individuals or groups, says Jess.

“People can come along with their own individual programs and you don’t need a referral to use the pool,” says Jess, who notes that there’s also the option of coming with a physiotherapist.

“We have a lot of people that come just for their own exercise benefit. They may have previous injuries or prefer not to go to the gym.”

And because the pool is heated, Jess says it has that therapeutic aspect. “[For] people who have restricted movement of their limbs, it’s a great way to relax at that temperature,” she says. 

There’s also a number of amenities at the pool that make it easier for people who have difficulties moving, to use the pool, such as a hoist to lower people into the pool, non-slip tiles and two change rooms, she says. 

There’s on-site equipment, too, which people can use during the session, such as pool noodles, flotation devices, water dumbbells, an exercise step and kick boards, says Jess.

Hartley Hydrotherapy, 13A Wynter Place, Hughes, Call 6185 1653, email hydrotherapy@hartley.org.au or visithartley.org.au

Your Property Profits co-directors Kim Persson, left, and Sophie McLean.

Renovations get home sellers top results 

HELPING people – including seniors – with all aspects of property renovations, Your Property Profits takes on all the hard work, says co-owner Kim Persson.

“We can help seniors with all aspects of a renovation with our team of tradespeople, stylists, real estate experts, photographers and more,” she says.

“Clients can sit back while we focus on getting the best results possible for their property.”

And clients don’t need to worry about any up-front cost, as the renovating team front the cost of clients who then pay after the property has sold, she says. 

“We work to budget and timeframe, whether it’s minor repairs or major renovations, all costs are pushed back to settlement,” says Kim.

Some renovations they’ve completed are worth about $300,000, others are less, some properties need a fresh, modern remodel, others an extension, and some may not need anything at all, she says. 

“No matter what it is, we have the expertise to enhance the property in the right way, to get the most value for the client,” she says. 

And for anyone thinking of selling, she says now’s a great time to sell. 

“At the moment the market is seeing not enough supply for demand, so we’ve had some huge results for the properties we’ve worked on,” she says. 

Your Property Profits. Call Kim and Sophie on 0411 648908, email hello@yourpropertyprofits.com.au or visit yourpropertyprofits.com.au 

Principal Dr William Vass

Dr Vass offers life-changing hearing help 

GETTING help with hearing loss is all about improving communication and gaining clarity, says Dr Vass Hearing Clinic principal Dr William Vass.  

With many years of experience in the hearing industry, he says that while people think nothing of having an eye test or wearing glasses to correct their vision, the idea of having a hearing test and facing up to hearing issues is still not comfortably accepted. 

“Hearing loss is identified as an elderly person’s issue and it is associated negatively with ageing,” Dr Vass says.

“That’s not necessarily true. Generally, people don’t want to admit they need hearing help. 

“I say to patients: ‘I wear glasses to improve my eyesight, it doesn’t mean I am blind!’

“Wearing hearing aids doesn’t mean the person is deaf, it means you are seeking better clarity and improved communication.” 

Dr Vass says patients have the certainty that they’ll be seeing him when they visit the clinic and that he will provide one-on-one, tailored care and advice.

The best part of Dr Vass’ job is seeing how his patients’ lives can be turned around once they make the step to get their hearing tested. 

“My patients can be depressed, isolated and angry. Hearing loss can result in communication breakdown and when they finally receive appropriate care, they are more outgoing and confident,” he says. 

Dr Vass Hearing Clinic, suite 14, John James Medical Centre, 175 Strickland Crescent, Deakin. Visit drvasshearing.com.au or call 6282 2717.

The importance of a power of attorney 

SELECTING an enduring power of attorney is important for anyone, not just those who are ageing, says senior director of the Wills, Estates and Trusts Unit at the Public Trustee and Guardian, Gregory Burn.

Deputy public trustee Gregory Burn.

The deputy public trustee says: “With our ageing population, it’s possible that more people will lose their decision-making capacity through conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s, and we might be starting to experience this with our parents or partners.

“There could be a lengthy period of incapacity, that could be temporary or permanent, and doesn’t just happen to people who are ageing. With an enduring power of attorney in place, people can feel safe knowing that someone they trust can make medical and financial decisions for them in their lifetime.”

And, everyone over the age of 18 with legal capacity should have a valid, up-to-date will in place, Gregory says.

“Once a will is set up, it will need to be reviewed and updated every three to five years. Things can change, whether it’s the birth of a child, a death, marriage or a divorce,” he says.

A professionally prepared will is important to protect anyone’s interests in the event of your death, Gregory says. 

“Without a will, the law sets out what happens to your estate, and that might not be what you intend,” he says. 

Public Trustee and Guardian, ground floor, 221 London Circuit, Civic. Call 6207 9800 or visit ptg.act.gov.au.

Expanding on high-quality aged care services 

AGED-care provider Warrigal is now offering a higher level of localised support to residents and their families after taking over an aged care facility in Calwell and Stirling late last year, says CEO Mark Sewell. 

The acquisition means another 288 aged care places in Canberra will join Warrigal’s 11 residential care homes and nine other aged care homes across Illawarra, the Southern Highlands and Queanbeyan. 

“We’re really excited about these homes joining Warrigal and look forward to the contribution Warrigal can make with its significant experience in offering high-quality aged care services for over 50 years,” Mark says. 

“This expansion will allow us to reach and support older people from these new areas, which aligns with our values and vision of older people living great lives through a comprehensive, local and trusted aged care system.”

In Calwell, residents have access to an on-site cafe, landscaped gardens, a courtyard with a barbecue area, and are only 250m away from Calwell shops. 

Meanwhile, in Stirling, 15 minutes from Civic, residents can choose from exclusively private residences, which are all air-conditioned, Mark says. 

At both locations, he says residents enjoy a 24-hour emergency call system as well as on-site registered nurses.

Warrigal, a not-for-profit, provides a full transition of care for senior Australians, from residential aged care, independent retirement living, home care and social support, he says. 

Warrigal. Call 1800 927744, email warrigal@warrigal.com.au or visit warrigal.com.au

Supplies that make daily living easier

CAPITAL Rehabilitation Supplies aims to make the day-to-day lives of seniors and people living with disabilities easier and more comfortable, says manager and owner Tim Robinson.

“We have a range of products available for purchase or hire that can help anyone with their needs,” says Tim.

“Just some of these products include electric lift chairs, height-adjustable chairs, pressure care cushions and mattresses, electric hospital beds and home care beds, mobility aids such as walkers, wheelchairs, rollators, crutches and walking sticks.”

A family owned business with more than 40 years of experience in the industry, Tim says Capital Rehabilitation Supplies understands every individual has their own needs.

“We know that some of these issues are sensitive, and can be uncomfortable to deal with, so we try to be as delicate and helpful as possible. If we do not stock a certain item we will always do everything in our power to locate the product,” he says.

“We pride ourselves on our patience and helpful attitude. People can come discuss what they require with us and we can find what works for them.” 

Capital Rehabilitation Supplies, 3/66 Heffernan Street, Mitchell. Visit capitalrehabilitationsupplies.com.au or call 6174 4813.

Professionals specialise in earwax removal 

Earworx founder and clinical director Lisa Hellwage.

SPECIALISING in professional earwax removal, Earworx helps people get back to the hearing levels they had before they were impacted by earwax, says Earworx clinical director and founder Lisa Hellwege. 

“Have you noticed lately that you’re experiencing hearing loss, tinnitus, or a feeling of fullness or pain in your ears? You may be suffering from a build-up of earwax,” Lisa says. 

Excessive earwax is present in one in 10 children, one in 20 adults and more than one third of the elderly and developmentally delayed people in the community, she says. 

“Some people are more likely to experience a build-up of earwax [such as] people with narrow, hairy or curvy ear canals, who wear hearing aids, who use cotton buds, ear plugs or ear bud headphones, who work in dusty or dirty environments or people with a hereditary disposition to wax impaction,” she says. 

Using the same dry technique preferred by ear nose and throat specialists, Lisa says their qualified registered nurses use dry and effective micro suction technology to safely and gently remove wax. 

“Our core business is ear wax removal; we are passionate about it, and it’s what we do best,” she says. 

“If you suspect you or your loved ones may be experiencing this problem, please contact us at Earworx to book an appointment. A 50 per cent reduced rate applies if no wax is found, and pensioner discounts are also available.” 

Earworx, at North Canberra Family Practice, 5b Chandler Street, Belconnen, call 6129 5100, and Wentworth Avenue Family Practice, 55 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston, call 6203 4600. Visit earworx.com.au

Home care tailored for ‘you’

JUST Better Care, an in-home aged care and disability support service, recently launched its “just for you” brand position nationally, but as local franchise owner Kiri Tennent explains: “It’s only partially new.”

“We’ve always been customer-focused, so personalised and tailored support was already our approach, and ‘just for you’ says it beautifully,” she says.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ – the supports we provide are based on your individual situation.”

Just Better Care Canberra and South Coast prides itself on a genuine connection to the community, she says.

“We are a completely local team. When you call us, you speak to someone who not only works in our office but lives nearby too,” she says.

“I love that about Just Better Care – we’re real people making a real difference.”

Supporting people to navigate the often-confusing aged care system, to find appropriate support is a constant challenge, Kiri says. 

“For us, it’s about giving people all of the options so they can gain the most out of their funding and continue to live the life they choose,” she says.

“Everyone has different needs and lifestyles. Finding out what’s important to you is what’s important to us.” 

For in-home or lifestyle support for any age or ability, Kiri says contact them for more information. 

Just Better Care, unit 9A, 189 Flemington Road, Mitchell. Call 6280 4070, email canberra@justbettercare.com or visit justbettercare.com

Luxury living that’s perfect for retirement 

LABELLED as a beautiful, hidden secret, Summerfield has spacious designer villas in Braidwood that are perfect for retirement, says sales director Jane Mackenzie-Ross.

Located an hour from Canberra, three from Sydney, and 45 minutes from the coast, Summerfield is in a fantastic location that’s perfect for people aged 55 and over, Jane says. 

“Summerfield offers luxury, yet affordable three bedroom, two bathroom, two car villas, with stunning views of the surrounding heritage-listed region,” she says. 

“There are heaps of activities and facilities for residents to enjoy nearby, including a club house, heated pool, garden, arts and crafts, and of course the many restaurants and cafes throughout the historic Braidwood – perfect for foodies.”

Jane says the town of Braidwood itself has a rich history, plenty to see and do, great people and the cleanest air, making it not just a place to live, but a place to love.

“All houses in Summerfield are also sustainable with 6.6kW solar, 5000-litre rainwater tanks and designed all with north-facing sunrooms,” she says.

“It’s also located right next to the new hospital in Braidwood, making all medical needs easily accessible.”

Summerfield, 70 Little River Road, Braidwood. Visit summerfield.com.au or call 1300 737970.

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