November 29 - December 5, 2020: Issue 476

Singing Together While Apart -  Abendruhe

Video by Kevin Murray 
Cantiamo continues their Singing Together While Apart series. Sung by Cantiamo as part of their "Singing Together While Apart" series, the song "Abendruhe" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart evokes the tranquility of a quiet evening.

Free General Admission To Upgraded Australian Museum

Visitors to the Australian Museum will soon be able to explore the $57.5 million renovation that has delivered an increase in floor space for exhibitions, the introduction of education facilities, a new museum shop open and a second café.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government has made general admissions free to the public until 30 June 2021 to celebrate the reopening of the museum. 

“The Australian Museum is the country’s oldest museum so it is only fitting this world class institution has an upgraded home in the heart of Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said. 

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to explore the natural wonders of the world, learn about our history and be inspired by our culture.” 

The 15 month renovation, known as Project Discover, was delivered on time and on budget. It included repurposing back-of-house areas to more than 3000sqm of new public space, which will allow the museum to host one major travelling international exhibition or two smaller exhibitions at the same time.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said the Australian Museum was an important cultural home for the people of NSW and all Australians.

“Our cultural institutions come alive when we immerse ourselves in them, and the renewed and expanded Australian Museum is for everyone to enjoy. People can meet and spend time together, escape to a space of natural discovery, and explore,” Mr Harwin said. 

“The museum’s transformation has put it firmly on the world stage, yet it remains a truly Australian museum and an iconic part of Sydney’s own backyard.”

The NSW Government contributed more than $50 million to the Project Discover renovation.

The Australian Museum will reopen with free general admission to the public on Saturday 28 November 2020. Visitors will be required to register their contact details on arrival for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes. 

Find out more information on exhibitions at the Australian Museum

The Australian Museum, College Street entrance, Sydney - Photograph by and courtesy Greg O'Beirne

Live Life Get Active

Live Life Get Active is a registered health promotion charity that offers FREE outdoor activity camps and wellbeing and nutritional programmes to help address obesity, diabetes and mental health. The vision is to build fitter, healthier and happier communities right across Australia.

They work with government, health networks, commercial organisations, charities and council partners who help us fund our FREE camps, provide us with FREE use of land and supports and promotes their offering in their communities.

There's a great website with food recipes, classes and even an Active Aging exercise set of videos you can do from home.
Remember everything is FREE

Telling stories to ensure older people are valued and respected

November 25, 2020
Nominations are now open for the prestigious Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing (MACA) Media Awards.

Acting Minister for Seniors Geoff Lee says two new categories have been added this year for Influencers on social media and for media that has focused its efforts on Responding in Crisis, especially with the impact of COVID-19 on seniors.

“Media deserve to be recognised for tirelessly working to create a community where older people are respected and valued,” Mr Lee said.

“Giving a balanced and realistic portrayal of older people supports the NSW Government’s efforts in breaking down stereotypes.

“This year COVID-19 has had a profound effect not only on our community but also on the media as they provide key messaging about health and safety and ways to access services, so this is why we have opened the Responding in Crisis award.”

The other awards categories are Health and Lifestyle, Advertising, Images and News as well as the prestigious Gold MACA Award.

Nominees accurately represent issues about ageing and older people. Creativity is also recognised along with the ability to reach and positively influence a large audience.

ABC Back Roads host Heather Ewart said she was truly honoured to receive the 2019 Gold MACA Award.

“Having spent the last five years exploring Australia’s regional communities, I’ve met so many remarkable older Australians doing extraordinary things and being great role models,” Ms Ewart said.

Nominations are now open and close Saturday, 27 February 2021.

change to Centrelink and aged care nominee arrangements

By Services Australia
From 5 December 2020, Centrelink correspondence nominees can deal with us on your behalf for your aged care costs. This means if you’re in aged care and get Centrelink payments and services, you can have the same nominee for both.

You’ll automatically move to the new nominee arrangement from 5 December 2020 if:
  • your Centrelink correspondence nominee and aged care nominee are the same person
  • you have a Centrelink correspondence nominee, but not an aged care nominee.
If you have different Centrelink correspondence and aged care nominees, the changes won’t affect you just yet.  Your correspondence nominee will replace your aged care nominee in March 2021. Your correspondence nominee will then be able to manage your aged care costs.

Your nominee arrangement won’t change if you:
  • have a nominee for aged care, but not Centrelink
  • get a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) payment.
This change doesn’t affect My Aged Care representatives.

What you need to do
If these changes affect you, you’ll get a letter from us. You don’t need to do anything unless you want a different nominee.

If you don’t get a letter from us, you can still change to the new arrangements.

You can change or cancel your nominee at any time.

Next steps
Read more about choosing someone to deal with us on your behalf or nominate someone to deal with us if you get a DVA payment.

To change your correspondence nominee complete the Authorising a person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf form.

If you’re a DVA customer use the Aged care request for a nominee for Department of Veterans’ Affairs customers form.

To cancel your correspondence nominee call us on your regular payment line or use your online account through myGov.

Grandparent Advisers – 10 years of helping carers to step in when families need them most

This year is the 10th anniversary of Centrelink’s Grandparent Adviser program helping grandparents and other non parent carers with tailored support and information.

For a lot of Australians, being a grandparent means their main job is ‘spoiling the grandkids’. Old rules are set aside and at the end of the day, grandchildren can be handed back – and lie safe at home in their own beds.

For many other families, for many different reasons, grandparents or other non parent carers have stepped in to become the primary care givers to children.

Services Australia’s Grandparent Adviser Program helps these grandparents and other carers with tailored support and information.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the program and, perhaps not surprisingly, 2020 has also seen an increase in the number of calls coming through the dedicated phone line.

In March the Grandparent Adviser Line answered nearly 2,200 successful calls and since July, the line has on average, handled nearly 400 calls a week.

Polly Auld is one of Services Australia’s eight Grandparent Advisers. She is dedicated to helping grandparents, kinship and foster carers of children.

She helps people understand the payments and services they might be eligible for. She also helps with arranging appointments with specialist staff, supporting people to use our online services and linking them to local supports.

“A typical day can involve taking anywhere from 10 to 15 calls. Some can be 10 minutes, but regularly they are an hour or more,” Polly said.

“These are people who often haven’t had business with us in many years, if ever. They also haven’t had to navigate things like child care or schooling in the last 30 years, and a lot has changed since they last did. For example, I had one grandfather in his 70s needing a referral to community support to help organise the kind of internet his grandchild needed.”

Polly said the most rewarding aspect of her role as a Grandparent Adviser is helping someone from end-to-end, from the moment they first approach her for help, to getting all their supports in place.

“When I start with a new grandparent or carer, the first thing I tell them is they are not alone. There are so many people in a similar situation and there’s help and support for them the whole way,” she said.

“My priority is to get their payments and services sorted quickly and organise things like Medicare cards. This relieves a bit of that immediate pressure. Then I focus on getting them connected to support groups and help in their area.”

When coronavirus restrictions allow, Polly attends support groups for non parent carers. She said some grandparents often continued to attend groups even after they had stopped caring for a child, just so they could help others.

Grandparent Advisers are available to help all non parent carers, regardless of whether they are currently receiving payments or services from us.

There is a Grandparent Adviser in each state and territory. These staff regularly check in with each other for advice and support and to share the national workload.

“I really take my hat off to the team. They are each so empathetic and passionate about caring for their customers and getting the best result for them,” Polly said.

Any grandparent or non parent carer who has taken on a primary caring role for a child can reach out to their nearest available Grandparent Adviser by using the Freecall 1800 245 965 number. Messages left on the Grandparent Adviser phone line will be responded to within 48 hours.

More information

For more information about Grandparent Advisers, go to:

AVPALS Term 4 2020

Avpals are pleased to announce that our very popular group training seminars are resuming at the Newport Community Centre from the beginning of Term FOUR, 2020. Details of these courses APPEAR BELOW and we invite you to join up as soon as possible. We now offer the option to reserve and pay online using our secure credit card facility. Due to the additional Covid 19 restrictions above and beyond the government’s requirements, we have severely rationed the numbers that can attend.

The committee that manages our operations at Avalon has decided to resume face to face training at our Avalon campus from the beginning of Term FOUR 2020. If you were a student attending courses at Avalon at the time of the outbreak of the pandemic you will be contacted by our student coordinator in the next week or so. For more information call our help line 02 8064 3574.

For more information:

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)

Older Persons Advocacy Network offer free, independent and confidential services that focus on supporting older people and their representatives to raise and address issues relating to accessing and interacting with Commonwealth funded aged care services.

Older Persons Advocacy Network  seek to ensure that aged care consumers understand and exercise their rights and participate, to the maximum degree possible, in the decisions affecting their care.

Older Persons Advocacy Network achieve this through the delivery of individual advocacy support, information and consumer and service provider education.

Nine State and Territory based organisations form the OPAN network. Older Persons Advocacy Network is funded by the Australian Government to deliver the National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP), providing a national voice for aged care advocacy.

Older Persons Advocacy Network organisations offer free aged care advocacy services that are independent and confidential

Older Persons Advocacy Network organisations provide free information about aged care service provision, referrals and the rights and responsibilities of consumers

Older Persons Advocacy Network organisations offer free information and education sessions to consumers and providers of Commonwealth funded aged care services

Computer Pals for Seniors: Northern Beaches

In line with the current Coronavirus conditions we cannot access the Tramshed or continue face to face, one on one training. That is a shame but will not stop us providing you with training online.  

Online learning can take several forms - for Apple users there is Face-Time and for PC/Windows users (and Apple users too) Zoom, Skype,  WhatsApp and other similar programmes. Our intention is to support both Trainers and Students learning, where needed, to navigate through these apps to reach a comfortable situation for both parties. New students wanting to learn how to use their Smartphone, Tablet, iPad, PC, Mac or any other current piece of technology should contact our Training Co-ordinator: Anne Matthews 9984 0604 or

The Club Committee made a decision that for Term 2 no terms fees would be levied. The Annual Membership fee will stand and apply to new students joining at any time. We all are looking forward to the challenges the future will bring and overcoming them. Once the Pandemic has disappeared we expect things to return to something like the old normal but with some people returning to the Tramshed and some staying with online training. Which ever way you decide to go we intend to be available to help you.

NSW Seniors Website: Crosswords, Puzzles & Games

Did you know that the NSW Seniors website has a range of games and puzzles for you to exercise that great grey matter upstairs?

Recently new items have been added in and now the list is:

Just click on the links we've embedded next time it's too cold out for a stroll and exercise that other great asset you have - your mind!

council has a Home Library Service Available for Seniors

For those unable to visit the library because of age or disability, the Home Library Service maintains a vital connection with all that the library offers. Your Home Library Service Officer will help you select items for reading or listening. Volunteers or staff will then deliver and collect your library items on a regular basis.

Register for the Home Library Service
If you or the person you care for is unable to visit the library or carry library items home due to age, frailty or disability, please complete Council's Home Library Service Application Form or call us on 9942 2393. 

A medical certificate or statement signed by a doctor may be required to assess eligibility.

What happens next?
After staff receive your completed application form, a Home Library Service Officer will contact you to arrange a time to meet and discuss the service details with you.

Staff or volunteers will then select your items according to your borrowing preferences and then deliver them to you. During this visit you can return any items that you have finished with.

Apply for the $200 Seniors Energy Rebate

A new rebate for independent retirees who hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card to help with electricity costs. The Seniors Energy Rebate is available for eligible independent retirees to help cover the cost of their electricity.

To be eligible you need to hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC).
CSHCs are means-tested concession cards issued by Services Australia and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA). 

The Seniors Energy Rebate is $200 per household, per financial year.
If your application is successful, the rebate will be paid directly into your nominated bank or Credit Union account.

Note: Gas accounts are not eligible for the rebate.

What you need
  • your valid CSHC from Centrelink or the DVA
  • the most recent electricity bill for your current primary place of residence
  • your contact details
  • your bank or Credit Union account details
How to apply
  • Check you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Select the 'Apply online' button.
  • Enter the required details.
  • Submit the application.
If you're unable to apply online, visit a service centre or call us on 13 77 88.
If your application is successful, you'll receive payment within 5 working days into your nominated bank/Credit Union account. Service NSW will contact you if there are problems issuing your payment. 

Learn Something New: Australia MOOCs And Free Online Courses

There is a full range of everything your heart, mind and body wants to learn more about, presented and conducted by Australia's best universities, with courses starting Monday, April 6th!


EasyLink (formerly Easy Transport Manly Warringah Pittwater) - medical appointments,  shopping trips, mystery tours and Saturday Lunch - this great non-profit organisation offers great ideas and solutions 

Download your 2020 Senior Card Directory today!

NSW Seniors Card is pleased to provide members with the 2020 Seniors Card Directory, your guide to the best discounts and special offers from thousands of participating businesses across the state.

Each year five directories are released, one for each region in NSW. The regions are: Sydney & Surrounds, Central Coast & Hunter, Northern NSW, Southern NSW and Western NSW.

To download your copy, please click the links here:
  • Sydney and Surrounds
  • Central Coast & Hunter
  • Northern NSW
  • Southern NSW
  • Western NSW
Copies of the directory are also available for pickup from Australia Post Outlets, Service NSW Centres, MP Offices as well as participating local Councils and Libraries.

Northern Beaches Jive is a social dance group. Our Modern Jive classes are held every Wednesday at 7.30pm at Narrabeen RSL.

Modern Jive is an easy partner dance with an emphasis on having fun and is great for all ages. Our experienced teachers always make the lesson interesting and fun. 

You can come along to class any time as we cater for new beginners every week. You don't have to sign up for a course - just come along when it suits you. First timers are only $10 for the first two weeks in total!!  You can even just come and watch for free to see if you think you'll like it.

There’s no need to bring a partner as we rotate you around to different partners during the class.

We start with a beginner class at 7:30pm for 45 minutes, followed by social dancing. At 9pm we have an Intermediate /advanced class for 45 minutes, and a concurrent 'refresher' class for the beginners, then social dancing until 10:30pm.  That’s right beginners get 2 classes every night.

Casual entry is $15 per night.  Students and seniors are only $12 per night.  We also have discounted prices, for all groups, if you buy a 5 class pass.  Great value for learning and dancing up to 3 hours per night.

If you're keen and would like to go to a class more than once a week, or go to a dance party in the weekend then check out where you'll find more classes and weekly dance parties.

Click here ( to sign up for our weekly newsletter which will tell you who is teaching each week and any other venue news such as special events.

If you have any questions - email us at:

 Keep your Wits About You

A regular contributor suggests we all look at Lumosity to see if will suit keeping active mentally. Their website states: "improve Brain Health and performance. Designed by neuroscientists, Lumosity exercises improve core cognitive functions. Researchers have measured significant improvements in working memory and attention after Lumosity training. Dozens of research collaborations help improve the Lumosity training program and its effectiveness." You can visit their website to decide for yourself  at:


Northern Beaches Concert Band is looking for flute, clarinet, saxophone, tuba and trombone adult players.  We cater for players from beginner to advanced and have a varied and exciting repertoire.  Come and join us during school term time at 7.30pm, Pittwater High School, Mona Street, Mona Vale. 
Details 9970 7131 or 0414 560 263.

Country Pensioner Excursion ticket: NSW Public Transport

Parents missing out on REAL face time? If they have a Pension Card, sign them up & they could get unlimited $2.50 Country Pensioner Excursion tickets*.
Call 13 22 32 to sign up.

Country Pensioner Excursion ticket (CPE)
A Country Pensioner Excursion (CPE) ticket is an affordable ticket for eligible pensioners and seniors to travel by train in regional NSW and the ACT.

For $2.50 you can book an economy class seat on a NSW TrainLink 

Regional train service. You will need to book 7 days or less in advance

Seniors Toy Repair Group needs your help

Volunteers are sought to help out on Wednesday mornings (7.30am to midday) at the group's workshed in Ingleside. Volunteers need their own transport and be willing to sort and clean toys that are picked up at different collection points on the Northern Beaches. 

Prospective volunteers can email Mary Kitchen to arrange a visit to the workshed. To arrange a donation pickup please call Terry Cook on 0410 597 327 or email himFind out more about this great community group HERE

Aged Care Complaints Commissioner 

Any person can make a complaint to the Commissioner, including care recipients, family members, friends, staff, volunteers, or professionals.

Complaints may relate to any aspect of services including care, choice of activities, discrimination, catering, communication or the physical environment. The 1800 550 552 helpline is staffed 9am to 5pm (AEDST) Monday to Friday.

Out of hours callers can leave a message, or contact the Commissioner at anytime through the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner website.


In 2014-15, there were 10,924 contacts to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme. 3,725 were assessed as a complaint, 3,812 ‘other’ contacts includes non-compulsory notifications, own motion investigations and compliance referrals. There were also 3,387 out of scope contacts which were not related to an approved provider or an approved provider’s responsibilities under the Aged Care Act.

Older Australians locked out of the workforce rely on Covid-19 JobSeeker supplement

November 25, 2020
Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia today addressed the Senate Community Affairs Committee highlighting evidence from the Retirement Incomes Review showing 50% of jobseekers are involuntarily unemployed, as the Committee considers the withdrawal of the Covid-19 JobSeeker supplement.

COTA reaffirmed its support for the Raise the Rate campaign led by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) calling for a permanent increase in the JobSeeker payment to an adequate amount that will help support Australians to find work.

COTA Australia Chief Executive, Ian Yates, says the Government’s own Retirement Income Review released last week acknowledged that retiring before the pension age has a profound impact on savings and retirement incomes.

“Ageism in the workforce has locked tens of thousands of older Australians out of gainful employment,” says Mr Yates. “We are now in the midst of a high pandemic that has significantly reduced the number of vacant positions and driven unemployment higher.

“We should have a social support system in place that reflects these harsh realities. Many tens of thousands of Australians old and young will be unable to find work for some time. Even before the pandemic, most Australians receiving unemployment benefits were on the payment for over a year.

“We have urged the Senate yet again to recommend abolition of the Liquid Assets Waiting Period, a call supported by the Henry Review, which forces any single person with $5,500 in savings to wait 13 weeks before receiving a payment. This is essentially forcing them into poverty.

“For older unemployed people, this dangerously reduces their lifetime savings, compromising their quality of life in retirement.

“Whilst the work is done to find a better way to support private renters, Commonwealth Rental Assistance should also be increased by 40% to assist job seekers in the private rental market. Older renters are some of the most vulnerable in our society, a situation which the government should adequately address in the long term.

“We urge the Senate Community Affairs Committee to prioritise the dignity of all Australians seeking work and ensure that JobSeeker and other allowances are sufficient to keep Australians out of poverty and maintain their health and safety while they overcome the many barriers to finding employment.”

Digital Disconnection

As age increases, digital inclusion tends to decline, but there is help at hand for those who may be lacking in confidence online. If recent events have taught us anything, it is the importance of accessible online communication.

While social distancing measures have amplified the requirement for us to be digitally savvy, there is ample evidence to suggest the transition by education, information, government and community groups to move greater parts of their services and utilities online began some time ago.
It is clear that digital literacy and user capability is an important aspect of older Australians increasing their online presence. However, research shows that many of those aged 65 or over are struggling to adapt to this new digital environment.
Acknowledging the issue
According to data collected by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, 23 per cent of Australians aged between 50 and 69 have limited or no digital literacy. For those over 70, more than half are not online at all. The findings are supported by the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII), which ranked Australians aged 65 years and over as Australia’s most digitally excluded age group.
Fear of the unknown
One of the biggest barriers to getting seniors online is apprehension, with 75 per cent of people in this age group concerned about their privacy online. This is not without reason. Australians aged 65 or over made more than 26,400 reports to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch in 2018.
The peak body for senior advocacy, COTA, says moving government service delivery and communications online will increase the potential for scamming to target older Australians as email becomes the expected method of engagement and communication from government.
Building digital confidence 
But the news isn’t all bad. The report, Understanding Digital Behaviours in Older Australians also concluded that many older Australians are interested in developing and acquiring new digital skills. Those interested were particularly motivated to upskill for security-related activities such as privacy settings, backing up files, safely downloading files, securing online transactions and using Wi-Fi safely.
In recognising that face-to-face learning is the preferred method of acquiring new skills due to the opportunities for hands-on mentoring and guidance, the Commonwealth government launched a $50 million program to improve the digital literacy and online safety of Australians aged 50 years and older.
Set up both to build skills and confidence, the free program content includes information about protecting personal information, using security settings on devices, identifying scams, conducting secure online transactions and connecting with others through social media safely.
Dedicated network partners provide support in the basics of getting online - including topics such as esafety, using email, connecting with family and friends using the internet, online shopping, online hobbies and managing your data.
Good Things Foundation manages the Be Connected program which, since its inception, has linked up with around 3,000 network partners across the country including community centres, libraries, men’s sheds, Indigenous community groups, disability organisations, employment service providers and non-English speaking community groups.
Good Things’ Jess Wilson says in a recent survey conducted with its network partners, Good Things found that 75 per cent had learners who lacked access to digital devices to use at home. To assist with this, the group were able to award $1 million worth of grants which have enabled the purchase of digital loan devices and data.

The initiative has enabled older Australians to become more independent and less reliant on family members, whilst also affording seniors the skills to connect with friends and relatives living elsewhere. They are also able to gain confidence and learn how to look out for scams.
As of June this year, 350,000 people have been supported through the program.
Jess says, to ensure more seniors have access to digital literacy tools, it’s important that digital literacy programs like Be Connected be allowed to continue for at least the next five years so we can help more people.
“We know there is more work to be done to support older Australians, people on low incomes and people looking to get back into the workforce to improve their digital skills over the coming years as the country recovers from the pandemic and adjusts to the new digital world.”

“COVID-19 has shown just how important it is for people to be digitally literate so that they can better connect with family and friends, maintain their independence, find work and access government support services online.”
Australian seniors or those living with disability who need to access support to learn digital skills free of charge should do so via:

Anxiety associated with faster Alzheimer's disease onset

November 24, 2020
Anxiety is associated with an increased rate of progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease, according to a study being presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Alzheimer's disease represents a major public health crisis worldwide. The number of deaths from the disease has more than doubled since 2000, and it is currently the fifth-leading cause of death among individuals over 65 in the U.S.

Many people with Alzheimer's disease first suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a decline in cognitive abilities like memory and thinking skills that is more rapid than normally associated with aging. Anxiety has been frequently observed in patients with mild cognitive impairment, although its role in disease progression is not well understood.

"We know that volume loss in certain areas of the brain is a factor that predicts progression to Alzheimer's disease," said study senior author Maria Vittoria Spampinato, M.D., professor of radiology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston. "In this study, we wanted to see if anxiety had an effect on brain structure, or if the effect of anxiety was independent from brain structure in favoring the progression of disease."

The study group included 339 patients, average age of 72 years, from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative 2 cohort. Each person had a baseline diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment; 72 progressed to Alzheimer's disease while 267 remained stable.

The researchers obtained brain MRIs to determine the baseline volumes of the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, two areas important to forming memories. They also tested for the presence of the ApoE4 allele, the most prevalent genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Anxiety was measured with established clinical surveys.

As expected, patients who progressed to Alzheimer's disease had significantly lower volumes in the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex and greater frequency of the ApoE4 allele. Most notably though, the researchers found that anxiety was independently associated with cognitive decline.

"Mild cognitive impairment patients with anxiety symptoms developed Alzheimer's disease faster than individuals without anxiety, independently of whether they had a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease or brain volume loss," said study first author Jenny L. Ulber, a medical student at MUSC.

The link between anxiety symptoms and a faster progression to Alzheimer's disease presents an opportunity for improving the screening and management of patients with early mild cognitive impairment, the researchers said.

"We need to better understand the association between anxiety disorders and cognitive decline," Dr. Spampinato said. "We don't know yet if the anxiety is a symptom -- in other words, their memory is getting worse and they become anxious -- or if anxiety contributes to cognitive decline. If we were able in the future to find that anxiety is actually causing progression, then we should more aggressively screen for anxiety disorders in the elderly."

"The geriatric population is routinely screened for depression in many hospitals, but perhaps this vulnerable population should also be assessed for anxiety disorders," Ulber added. "Middle-aged and elderly individuals with high level of anxiety may benefit from intervention, whether it be pharmacological or cognitive behavioral therapy, with the goal of slowing cognitive decline."

The study was based on MRI scans done at one point in time. For future research, the team would like to study MRIs obtained after the initial scan to better understand the connection between anxiety and brain structure.

"We're now interested in looking at changes over time to see if anxiety has an effect one way or the other on how fast the brain damage progresses," Dr. Spampinato said. "We will also take a closer look at gender differences in the association between anxiety and cognitive decline."

The Conquest of the Prickly Pear: 1936

NFSA: published November 23, 2020
From the Film Australia Collection.  Made by the Cinema Branch 1935. Directed by Bert Ive.  Documents the biological control of the prickly pear by the Cactoblastis moth which was released in 1926.  In the 1920’s Queensland and New South Wales had 24 million hectares infested with prickly pear and the infestation was increasing by 400,000 hectares annually, making land useless and uneconomical to clear.

COVID-19 support line extended and expanded

The Australian Government is ensuring senior Australians get the services and assistance they need with a $2.5 million investment to extend and expand the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line. Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said the support line will be extended until 30 June 2021.

“The Government will invest up to $2.5 million so senior Australians can continue to access information about the COVID-19 pandemic and get the support they need,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Many vulnerable senior Australians may not have easy access to the internet or be able to readily access information about COVID-19.

“The support line has proved to be a very beneficial service for senior Australians who continue to face particular risks because of COVID-19, including social isolation and loneliness.

“Being able to pick up the phone and call someone, or receive calls from expert service providers, is proving to be very effective.”

Between 22 April and 23 October 2020, the support line received more than 5000 inbound calls and provided more than 29,000 outbound calls.

The top five reasons for calls included:
  • wellbeing checks
  • information about COVID-19
  • advice to vulnerable people
  • travel restrictions
  • access to new, or queries about existing, home care services.
The support service is a joint initiative of COTA Australia, Dementia Australia, National Seniors Australia and the Older Persons Advocacy Network. The expansion of the service will also include support from the Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) Alliance.

“We identified the need early on in the COVID-19 pandemic to provide targeted support for vulnerable senior Australians who are at greater risk of isolation, carer stress and elder abuse,” Minister Colbeck said.

“The extension of this valuable service will now include outbound calls to carers of people living with dementia, as well as more specific community supports for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) seniors.

“The Government’s investment in the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line means people have multiple ways to communicate their questions and concerns with trusted community organisations working with senior Australians.”

“The additional services will be established as quickly as possible to ensure all senior Australians, no matter what their circumstances, can access the support they need, when they need it, in a way they prefer.”

Senior Australians who would like information and support are encouraged to contact the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line on 1800 171 866, Monday to Friday between 8:30am to 6pm (except public holidays).  

Australian Government Dept. of Health: Hearing Devices for Seniors

Australian Government's Hearing Services Program (the program), offers the option of being fitted with a hearing device if a hearing assessment identifies you have a hearing loss and a hearing device may assist you. 

You will be given a recommendation for a fully subsidised hearing device, and may also be offered the option of purchasing a partially subsidised hearing device. These devices have been approved by the Office of Hearing Services.

You can find out more about this program on the Australian Government's Department of Health webpage on the program here

Media Releases concerning Seniors this week from National Seniors Australia

With around a quarter of a million members, National Seniors is Australia’s largest consumer organisation for the over 50s and fourth largest group of its kind in the world.

NLA Ebooks - Free To Download

The National Library of Australia provides access to thousands of ebooks through its website, catalogue and eResources service. These include our own publications and digitised historical books from our collections as well as subscriptions to collections such as Chinese eResources, Early English Books Online and Ebsco ebooks.

What are ebooks?
Ebooks are books published in an electronic format. They can be read by using a personal computer or an ebook reader.

This guide will help you find and view different types of ebooks in the National Library collections.
Peruse the NLA's online ebooks, ready to download - HERE

 Australian Ageing Agenda

Australian Ageing Agenda (AAA) is an independent and authoritative bi-monthly publication for people who work in or around the aged care and retirement sectors in Australia. It provides a broad range of news, education and opinion with an emphasis on knowledge sharing and research translation.

Each issue also contains regular updates on relevant business and financial issues along with a selection of well researched features on crucial systems and operations, clinical care, technology, built environment and other issues relevant to the ‘ageing sector’. AAA leads the way with the industry’s most comprehensive conference details and remains Australia’s number one source of news and information about ageing issues and aged care.

Have a look at their comprehensive website HERE

 MWP CARE (previously known as MWP Community Aid) is a local not for profit organisation that was founded by Daphne Elsworthy, a Collaroy resident, 52 years ago and we are still going strong! 

In 2019 our programs focus on assisting older people aged 65 years and older, we also assist younger people with a disability and their carers.  We are funded by the Australian Government Dept. of Health through the Commonwealth Home Support Program (known as CHSP). Pittwater Online News PROFILE

These services may be eligible for government subsidies. Call us on (02) 9913 3244 for a confidential discussion. Alternatively you may call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to discuss your needs. To access our services (and all other CHSP provider services) you must be registered with My Aged Care – the portal for all things related to Aged Care Services 

We provide services aimed at helping people to stay independently living in their own homes.

Our programs cover:

  • Transport – to medical and social appointments
  • Shopping – Escorted Shopping, Shop By List, Group Social Shopping
  • Visiting – a volunteer visits a client in their own home for social support
  • Individual Activities – visit a friend, the library, the beach, local garden, and nursery, go for a coffee & chat, attend community activities etc.
  • Social Group Bus Outings – our mini bus and experienced staff coordinate a calendar of bus outings to interesting venues
  • CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) social groups/outings  – Chinese, Italian, Korean , Filipino, Serbian
  • Home Maintenance Modification Service – provided to individual home owners at reasonable cost. Services provided by trusted tradespeople can include Plumbing, Carpentry, Handyman, Electrical, Modifications (ramps, rails etc.)

Visit our website for more at:  and on Facebook:

Peninsula Bridge Club - Founded in 1967, we are a key community hub on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We contribute strongly to our community: with both social connectedness for those who need it and opportunities to learn and train for those with competitive sporting goals. 

The Club is a vibrant organisation hosting up to three bridge sessions a day. We have 37 permanently set tables – that’s 148 players. We host over 30,000 player sessions every year. This includes prominent tournaments and education events attracting players from across the region. 

We pride ourselves on the friendliness of the club and our strong community spirit. We support local charities but even more importantly we support community members by providing them with social connection and mental stimulus – irrespective of age and mobility.

Our clubhouse is at Warriewood.

We have a new Beginners Course starting the end of September.

Each 2-hour lesson focuses on learning by playing, with a break for tea and chocolate biscuits mid-way. The course runs for 6 weeks and costs $100, which includes text book and support materials.

After the lessons we offer “Help with Play” sessions to practise what you’ve learned; Mondays 7-9pm; Tuesdays 2.15-4.30; Fridays 9.15-11.30. ($7 for members & $12 for visitors – membership

We also offer more advanced lessons each month so you can continue to improve your game if you want. 

If you are keen to learn this great game, please call or email Cath Whiddon (Director of Bridge Ed at PBC): 9979 5752 or

If you already know how to play, take a look at our website to see what’s on offer this month:

Peninsula Bridge Club Facebook page:

My Aged Care

If you need some help around the house or think it’s time to look into aged care homes, My Aged Care is here to help.
My Aged Care is the Australian Government's starting point on your aged care journey. Find and access the government-funded services you need.

Learn about different types of care
If you are just starting out on your aged care journey, this is your first step. You can see what services are available to help you stay in your own home, or what to expect in an aged care home.

Get assessed
If you’ve had a look at what services might be available and you want to know if you are eligible, this is your next step. Read about how to apply and what’s involved in the assessment process.

Find a provider
If you’ve been assessed and are ready to find a provider and set up your new services, start here. Find out what to consider and get information about service providers near you.

Manage your services
If you are receiving services and want to check what you’ve got in place or make some changes, head to this section.

Need some help?
If you need some help, the My Aged Care team can answer most of your questions over the phone. Call 1800 200 422

Community Connect

Need help on where to go to find the community information and assistance you need?

At Community Connect Northern Beaches, our professional staff and trained volunteers are knowledgeable, friendly and approachable and we will be only too pleased to help you find the service you want. We provide information and support, as well as advocacy and referral to other non profit community services and government agencies.

If we can’t help you we will get you someone who can. If you are newly arrived or do not have an English speaking background we can offer individual advice and support. Or Why not come to Specialist Community Support Workshops: Family Law, Power of Attorney plus Wills and Executors; Domestic Violence Support and Prevention; Positive Community Integration ; Crime Prevention; Or  Our Free English Classes. 

We also provide information on: Family Services: Child Care, Personal Support & Counselling; Health (Including Mental Health) ;  Material and Practical Assistance ; Advocacy to access state and federal MP assistance; Accommodation and Tenancy (help with form filling); Legal and Financial Matters ; Consumer Affairs ; Multicultural Issues; Conservation and the Environment ; Employment and Education; Accessing Community Facilities  -You are welcome to call in for: Brochures, booklets and fact sheets on a range of topics; Service Directories e.g. Council Guides and Migrant Directories; Publications e.g. The Senior newspaper and Nova.

Access to our community information data base, internet, email, fax and photocopying.(Please note there is a small charge for photocopying and use of the fax to cover the cost of paper, toner and fax call).  We also offer: A Legal Referral Program - Monday 1pm to 2pm at our 30 Fisher Road, Dee Why office.  Taxation Assistance for low income earners and pensioners from July to October. 

What does it cost?: Our services are free, however we are always grateful for a small donation where possible. The program is supported by NSW Department of Family & Community Services (FACS). CONTACT US: Phone: 02 99317777.

RSPCA's Community Aged Care Program

RSPCA NSW understands that to an elderly owner, a pet can mean everything. Our Aged Care program aims to keep pets and their elderly owners happy, healthy and together in their own homes for as long as possible. To do this, we assist elderly pet owners over the age of 65, Indigenous pet owners over the age of 50 and palliative care patients of any age.
  • services our Aged Care program offers include: temporary foster accommodation and/or emergency pet boarding if the owner requires medical treatment, respite or other assistance
  • assistance with veterinary treatment
  • home visits to assist the elderly with basic pet care
  • assistance with pet grooming
  • assistance with transport to and from the local veterinarian
  • a volunteer network to assist with dog walking and short periods of in-home care if the owner requires medical treatment, respite or other assistance
Please note that due to high demand for this program, we ask that pet owners first ask family and friends whether they are able to assist with their pet’s care.

This community program was previously known as Pets of Older Persons (POOPs).

For more information please contact the RSPCA Community Programs helpline (02) 9782 4408.

The helpline operates Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. During weekends and public holidays contact the RSPCA Contact Centre on (02) 9770 7555
Aged Care Program FAQs

Know Your Bones

CEO of Osteoporosis Australia, Greg Lyubomirsky says “bone health is an important part of your general health and anyone with risks for osteoporosis should be investigated.”

He has urged people to try the online self-assessment, Know Your Bones developed by Osteoporosis Australia and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. 

"Simply visit the website, complete the assessment in your own time and a personal report is generated which will outline potential risks and can be taken to your doctor if required.”

You can take the assessment here:



The Council on the Ageing NSW (COTA NSW) is the peak organisation for people over 50 in our state. We’re an independent, non-partisan, consumer-based non-government organisation. We work with politicians, policy makers, and service providers as well as media representatives to make sure your views are heard and your needs are met. COTA NSW works to empower and engage people over 50. For decades, we’ve shaped the policies and programs that change lives.

Since our beginning in 1956, COTA NSW has introduced policies and programs that make a real difference to peoples’ lives. We have proud record, having created: ■Meals on Wheels, ■Retirement Village Residents Association, ■Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association, ■Seniors Clubs, ■Seniors Information Service, ■OM:NI – Older Men: New Ideas, ■Grandfriends, ■Grandparents, Relatives and Kinship Care Alliance, ■Medication Management for Older People, and the ■Mature Employment Line

Heartmoves is a low-moderate intensity exercise program. Regular participation in Heartmoves will help to: Better manage weight, blood sugars, blood pressure and cholesterol; Improve fitness, balance, co-ordination and flexibility; Enhance your quality of life and meet other people. Ingrid Davey is a qualified Older Adult Instructor and accredited Heartmoves Leader who will guide you through an exercise program that is fun, safe and modified to suit you. Tuesday 9.30am and Thursday 10.30am at Nelson Heather Centre, 4 Jackson Road Warriewood.  The cost per class is $10.00 casual now and $17.00 for two classes. Phone Ingrid to secure your spot on 0405 457 063.

Tech Savvy Seniors

Tech Savvy Seniors provides free or low cost digital skills training on how to use computers, tablets and smartphones to keep in touch with family and friends, access essential services, conducting personal business and discover more about the things you are interested in.

Join the thousands of people over 60 who have already completed this fun, practical training and made new friends in the process.

With over 150 training locations across NSW as well as resources online it has never been easier to build your digital skills and confidence, with training available in a range of languages. To find out more about training sessions available near you, visit the Tech Savvy Seniors website to find your local library or community college provider.

For here: 
  • Northern Beaches Council Library at Glen Street, Mona Vale, Warringah Mall 02 9976 1720 
  • Northern Beaches Community College Inc at Narrabeen, Brookvale, Mosman (02) 9970 1000
The Tech Savvy Seniors website also contains a great range of ‘self-teach’ videos and free digital literacy training resources available to make it easy to learn at your own pace to develop your digital skills from the comfort of your home.

Tech Savvy Seniors is a NSW Government initiative in partnership with Telstra.
Profile Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA)
1842 Pittwater Rd, Bayview

BYRA has a passion for sharing the great waters of Pittwater and a love of sailing with everyone aged 8 to 80 or over!
Profile: Avalon Soccer Club
Avalon Soccer Club is an amateur club situated at the northern end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. As a club we pride ourselves on our friendly, family club environment. The club is comprised of over a thousand players aged from 5 to 70 who enjoy playing the beautiful game at a variety of levels and is entirely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. 

The Senior Newspaper Online 


On facebook

NLA Ebooks - Free To Download

The National Library of Australia provides access to thousands of ebooks through its website, catalogue and eResources service. These include our own publications and digitised historical books from our collections as well as subscriptions to collections such as Chinese eResources, Early English Books Online and Ebsco ebooks.

What are ebooks?
Ebooks are books published in an electronic format. They can be read by using a personal computer or an ebook reader.

This guide will help you find and view different types of ebooks in the National Library collections.
Peruse the NLA's online ebooks, ready to download - HERE


Contact Community Care Northern Beaches HERE


Avalon Computer Pals (AVPALS) helps Seniors learn and improve their computer skills. It is a not for profit organisation run by volunteers. 

Started in 2000 it now has 20+ trainers and many hundreds of students. At a really low cost (about $30 a school term) they can provide one-to-one training on most matters connected with computing and related technologies like mobile phones and digital cameras. From the smallest problem (how to hold the mouse!) to much more serious matters, there is a trainer who can help.

We offer “one to one” personal tuition or special short courses in the training rooms under the Catholic Church in Avalon. Training is conducted Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. For more information visit AVPALS web site or phone 02 8064 3574

Keep up to date on our Facebook page

Find out more at:

Disclaimer: These articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Pittwater Online News or its staff.