April  5 - 11, 2020: Issue 445

Birding At Home

As COVID-19 causes so much heartbreak and sadness around the world, I'm inspired by the bravery of our frontline workers and the spirit of cooperation as we all work together to get through this.

I can assure you BirdLife Australia is continuing its fight to stop extinctions and protect nature, even if many of us are doing this from our own homes. We need you now more than ever.

Thank you to everyone for staying at home as much as possible to stop the spread of the virus and save lives. I know self-isolation can be challenging and stressful at times so what we need right now is nature.

I am so grateful that no matter where you live, you can still see birds and take comfort from them. 

Please visit our new Birding at Home page to find out how you and your household can continue to enjoy the beauty of our feathered friends.

You'll find activities to occupy kids while our movements are restricted, links to our Autumn Birds in Backyards survey and Bird Finder, and information on how you can act to protect birds forever.

To help everyone who is now Birding at Home, we are also kicking off a regular live series on Facebook where our bird experts will be taking questions and talking about what we love best - birds.

The first event will be Backyard Birding for Beginners, hosted by Sean Dooley on Thursday April 9th. Even if you are an expert birder, I encourage you to join in for a chat – and please spread the word to all the bird and nature lovers in your life. Sean is also keen to answer your backyard birding questions – so if you've got a query, get involved!

Event details:
BirdLife Australia Facebook
Backyard Birding for Beginners with Sean Dooley
Thursday April 9
12:00pm AEST / 11:30am ACST / 10:00am AWST

These are difficult times and it's important to support each other. We hope our new resources will help you get through these unprecedented times. 

Paul Sullivan, CEO
BirdLife Australia

P.S. We'll be having new bird experts every week to talk about a new topic, including Amanda Lilleyman in the NT on shorebirds and Holly Parsons to talk about bird friendly gardens. Make sure you have liked us on Facebook to get notifications!

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!

The 2020 CWAS "David Malin Awards" now open for entries

Proudly supported by CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Sciences, The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and Canon Australia.

The Central West Astronomical Society is proud to announce the 2020 CWAS Astrophotography Awards judged by Dr David Malin - the "David Malin Awards".

Click here to see the Conditions of Entry.

This year's competition continues to build on the experience of previous years to help make it the premier competition of its kind in Australia. The competition this year will have three sections of entry - General Section, Open Themed Section and a Junior Section (18 or younger). The general section is divided into five categories; Wide-field (camera shots), Deep Sky (telescope shots), Solar System, Nightscapes and Animated Sequences. The Animated Sequences category has two subsections - Scientific and Aesthetic. The Junior Section will have one open category and entries can be of any astronomical subject, and can be an animated sequence.

The Competition Structure:

General Section:

  • Wide-Field
  • Deep Sky
  • Solar System
  • Nightscapes
  • Animated Sequences
  • Scientific
  • Aesthetic
  • Junior Section (18 or younger) - One Open Category (can be of any astronomical subject)
  • Open Themed Section - "Astrophotography with your Smartphone"
  • The "David Malin Innovation Prize" may be awarded, at Dr Malin's discretion, for a striking astronomical image that shows exceptional imagination, innovation or an unusual approach in any of the categories.
  • An additional prize, "The Photo Editor's Choice", will also be awarded. This will be judged by a major news organisation's photo editor or editors.

The Solar System category is for images of solar system objects taken with a telescope. Wide-field solar system shots may be entered in the Wide-Field or Nightscape categories depending on the subject and composition.

The Nightscapes is intended to showcase the increasing popularity and evolution of this relatively new genre of astrophotography, combining beautiful terrestrial foregrounds with a night sky scene - often in a single exposure (HDR is OK) or as a multi-shot panorama.

Animated Sequences should be videos that are intriguing or highlight concepts and events not obvious or significant in stills. Astrophotographers are invited to submit animations, produced as either time-lapse sequences or with other forms of video. They can be of any subject, provided there is a distinct astronomical link. This category will have two subsections - Scientific and Aethestic. Scientific animations are short sequences that have an obvious scientific purpose, perhaps changes in the appearance of a planet, comet or other celestial body, or where the footage was used for the timing of a transit, an occultation, or even in studying dome seeing. These sequences usually require great skill and/or perseverance in first obtaining the data and then in collating them to reveal an aspect of scientific merit. Aesthetic sequences are animations that are aesthetically pleasing in some way, where the use of appropriate music and editing is encouraged, but always with a strong astronomical component. Scientific animations should be silent and be less than one minute in duration. Aesthetic animations must not exceed two minutes in runtime. All animations must be submitted as MOV, MPEG, AVI or MP4 files.

The Open Themed Section is open to all astrophotographers. They are encouraged to see who can be the most inventive and creative in evoking the theme, which this year will be "Astrophotography with your Smartphone". Smart phones are everywhere and some are capable of impressive low light-level photography. We are looking for images that have been taken with a smartphone of an astronomical scene that has some aesthetic appeal and/or that has captured something you might not expect to see from such a tiny camera.

All entries must be images that faithfully reflect and maintain the integrity of the subject. Entries made up of composite images taken at different times, different locations or with different cameras are not acceptable. Image manipulations that produce works that are more "digital art" than true astronomical images, will be deemed ineligible.

All still images must be submitted as digital files via a dedicated web site that can be accessed at this web address. For judging purposes, still images must be submitted as JPG files with the longest side having a dimension no greater than 4,950 pixels. All images must be in Adobe 1998 RGB colour space and will be judged using a calibrated monitor. Similarly, winning images will be printed from the files as-received, so it would be prudent for entrants to calibrate their monitors if possible. It does make a difference. Click here for an example of a very detailed set of calibration procedures for all platforms. For Mac users, a useful monitor calibration program can be found under "Monitors" in System Preferences, and the ideal solution for monitor calibration is a stand-alone device such as the Spyderexpress.

Submission of entries will be accepted from Wednesday, 1 April 2020, and will close at 24:00 (AEST) on Tuesday, 30 June 2020. Entrants must register in advance. This can be done from 1 April from the Submit Entries link on this page.

Entry payments can be made by cheque, money order or direct deposit. For the entries to be accepted, the payments must be received by the deadline. Entry fees are $15 per entry. Payment details will be presented following each entry submission.

The photographs will be judged by world-renowned astrophotographer, Dr David Malin. During the course of the judging process, Dr Malin may invite, at his discretion, the views of other distinguished international astronomers to aid him in his deliberations, with Dr Malin's decisions being final.

All entries will be judged without David being aware of the identity of the photographer, and to preserve anonymity, the submitted image files should not contain identifying metadata. The winners will be notified and presented with the "David Malin Awards" during a special ceremony at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory in the presence of invited dignitaries on a date to be announced. All winners are required to make every effort to attend the presentation of the awards.

A selection of the finest astrophotographs received will be professionally printed courtesy of Canon Australia by Sunstudios and exhibited for the entire year at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitors Centre. In addition, a second set will tour the country in a travelling exhibition, organised by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, to selected venues beginning with Sydney Observatory.

There is a limit of five (5) entries per category per photographer. All photographs must have been taken no more than 2 years before the closing date of entry, and no re-entries from previous DMA competitions will be accepted. All entries must be submitted in electronic form via the dedicated submissions web site. The entrants must provide brief details of the equipment, exposure times, processing and, where relevant, the location where the image was taken.

It is not just technical skill that David Malin will be looking for, but an aesthetically pleasing picture that reflects and captures the beauty, inspiration and interest of astronomy. All images will be judged by these criteria.

Canon Australia is supporting the competition with significant prizes.

Finals Judge: Dr David Malin

Presentation Ceremony for the 2020 CWAS "David Malin Awards" to be held at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory on a date to be announced.

Entries close at 24:00 (AEST) on Tuesday, 30 June 2020.

Click here to Submit Entries

Visit: https://www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au/news_events/astrofest/DMA/

Wide field winner in the 2018 CWAS David Malin Awards: Barrenjoey Milky Way Arch
Supplied: ©Tom Elliott/David Malin Awards - published Front Page Issue 368

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.

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

MSO Live streaming of concerts: Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade

Streamed live on 16 Mar 2020: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
We will keep the music going. 
Throughout the ban on public events, the MSO will continue to perform for you. Our mission is to share great music, even if you cannot join us in the concert hall. While we cannot join you in the concert hall, we look forward to performing for you digitally. We invite you to join us on the MSO YouTube channel to enjoy free MSO live streams over coming days and weeks.

With ticket sales revenue impacted by the Coronavirus ban, we would ask you to consider a tax-deductible donation to the MSO via the link below. If you hold a ticket to an upcoming concert, and would like to donate the value of your ticket instead of receiving a refund, please email boxoffice@mso.com.au. 
Ensuring the wellbeing of MSO audiences, musicians and staff – including those integral members employed on casual and contract bases – is our priority. As a not-for-profit organisation, we are committed to ensuring the longevity and sustainability of the MSO and will continue to support workers and musicians through this uncertain period.

Thank you for your support.

Hosted by MSO Cybec Assistant Conductor and Assistant Principal Cellist, Nicholas Bochner. 
Conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya, this concert will feature Bloch's 'Schelomo' with soloist Timo-Veikko Valve, and Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Scheherazade'. This performance will also include Deborah Cheetham's Acknowledgement of Country, 'Long Time Living Here'.

Please note that due to connectivity issues during the live stream you may experience lagging throughout your viewing experience. We are working on resolving these issues in future streams and thank you for your understanding. 
Vision: CVP Events, Film And Television
Audio: ABC Classic

Even If The Parks Are Closed You Can Still Go Google Trekking

On Friday Pittwater Online received a National Parks Notice that most of the public areas in our State National Parks have been closed in order to look after everyone and try and stop the spread of a disease that could you make you ill - a good idea - but it means we can't have bbq's and romp around in the parks as much as we'd like to - council has also done the same thing for ocean rock pools and local playgrounds as well - so how do we get to see our great outdoors even if we can't go strolling there at present?

Well, a few years ago Pittwater Online shared some great news about the state government working with Google in what is called 'Google Trekker' - our own local MP, Rob Stokes, Member for Pittwater was the State Environment Minister at that time, so it was great to hear about this first-hand from him - he loves the great outdoors!

Back in June 2014 the work began of mapping our National Parks - by actually walking through them with a camera - this is what the ranger walking with the camera looked like - they started with doing 16 parks to begin with:

OEH - NPWS photo

Then in November 2014 Environment Minister Rob Stokes launched Google Street View imagery of some of the most picturesque and visited national parks in NSW. 

Mr Stokes said the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is the first organisation in Australia to be part of the Google program, which sees organisations borrow the Trekker technology to collect imagery of hard to reach places and help map the world. 

“NPWS have captured 360-degree imagery of 25 parks from Kosciuszko to Cape Byron, covering over 400 kilometres of walking tracks and 700 kilometres of roads and trails,” Mr Stokes said then. 

“This new service means people can scope out walks before they travel, or get a glimpse of places they would otherwise find inaccessible. 

“People who have been unable to make it to the bottom of that gorge or the top of that ridge can now see all the sites our national parks have to offer. 

"In conjunction with the NSW National Parks website, this imagery will give people another great way to plan their park visits, check walking tracks for suitability and learn about the area beforehand. 

“We have a lot to be proud of in NSW with some of the most beautiful and remote places on the planet. 

“These maps will ensure people who may not have the ability to walk in some of these popular locations will still have the opportunity to experience our vast natural beauty from their lounge rooms on the other side of the world.” 

Basically, Google Trekker allows you to explore our National Parks as though you were on their bush tracks. You can Discover new places with a virtual tour of walking tracks, lookouts and campgrounds on the coast, deep within rainforests, and even in Outback NSW. You can get 360 degree views of these incredible landscapes and go on your own virtual adventure.

Working in partnership with Google, NSW National Parks (NPWS) has captured imagery in over 50 national parks using Google's special backpack-mounted trekker. With more than 1350km of Google Trekker footage, there are hundreds of experiences to discover.

You can also visit beautiful and historic places all over the world via Google Trekker - but let's start with places around us to begin with.

Where would you like to visit today?: Here are some of our favourite Street View virtual tours - just click on the links to take a look around for yourself

Sydney and Surrounds

North Coast NSW

South Coast NSW

Country NSW

Snowy Mountains- Kosciuszko National Park

Outback NSW and Murray-Riverina

Please note: The backpack-mounted trekker has been specifically designed to go off the grid. Occasionally, trained NPWS staff take Google Trekker into ecologically sensitive areas so we can give you a peek of places you would otherwise never see.

When you explore these walking tracks for yourself, remember to always to stay on marked tracks, so we can continue to protect these special places for generations to come.

Funding available to help seniors stay social

Organisations can apply for funding for programs that will help keep seniors social and connected with the community.

The Seniors Staying Social Grants will provide $600,000 to eligible organisations across NSW.

The funding can go towards an existing program, expanding a program to suit a wider audience or to create new programs that will combat social isolation.

Activities which are already helping NSW seniors stay social include ocean swimming clubs, walking groups, table tennis clubs, dancing groups, art classes and walking basketball teams.

Acting Minister for Seniors Geoff Lee said the NSW Government wants to provide more opportunities for seniors to get out of the house and try new activities while having great conversations with people they have never met before.

“Loneliness and social isolation can have adverse effects on our senior’s mental health, so we are looking to encourage programs which foster inclusion and encourage positive social outcomes for people over 65,” Mr Lee said.

Funding applications close on 19 April 2020.

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.


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 www.avpals.com or phone 02 8064 3574

Keep up to date on our Facebook page

Find out more at: www.avpals.com


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 


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.

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

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. 

 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: www.lumosity.com/app/v4/personalization

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.

Profile Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA)
1842 Pittwater Rd, Bayview
Website: www.byra.org.au

BYRA has a passion for sharing the great waters of Pittwater and a love of sailing with everyone aged 8 to 80 or over!

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. www.heartfoundation.org.au


Contact Community Care Northern Beaches HERE

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 www.ceroc.com.au where you'll find more classes and weekly dance parties.

Click here (http://eepurl.com/ciGHH1) 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: info@northernbeachesjive.com.au

The Senior Newspaper Online 


On facebook

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.

Seniors, people with disability and carers Dedicated Page with All Info.

The NSW State government is committed to helping seniors, people with disability and their families and carers stay safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page provides useful information and links to help you stay updated on what you need to know and do. 

You can call Service NSW 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 13 77 88 to find out information about COVID-19. For free help in your language, call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50 and ask them to contact Service NSW.

Stay safe, stay informed.

Ensuring continued access to medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic

March 31, 2020: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
The Australian Government has approved a number of temporary changes to medicines regulation to ensure Australians can continue to access the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines they need, as the COVID-19 outbreak unfolds.

We are also closely monitoring the impact of the pandemic on the supply of medicines, especially those manufactured overseas, so we can take early action to address any potential supply interruptions.

New temporary measures will improve access to medicines, reduce the burden on GPs and support social distancing and self-isolation.

The measures include:
  • Continued dispensing arrangements for the ongoing supply PBS subsidised medicines without a prescription will be extended to 30 June 2020.
  • A home delivery service for PBS and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) medicines is now in place.
  • Ongoing work with pharmacists, GPs and the States and Territories to allow medicine substitution by the pharmacist in the event of a shortage.
  • Restrictions on the quantity of medicines that can be purchased to prevent unnecessary medicine stockpiling.
These temporary changes will ensure Australians can access the medicines they need throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Continued dispensing
Emergency measures to allow continued access to essential medicines through the PBS will be extended to 30 June 2020.

These temporary “continued dispensing” arrangements allow people to obtain their usual medicines at PBS prices, even if they cannot get a new prescription from their doctor.

Under strict conditions, pharmacists will be able to give patients up to one month’s supply of their usual medicine without a script, at the usual PBS consumer co-payment.

The patient must previously have been prescribed the medicine and the pharmacist must be satisfied it is urgently needed.

These measures were originally put in place in January in response to the widespread bushfires and were due to end on 31 March 2020, however will be extended following consultation with doctors and the community pharmacy sector.

Home Delivery of Medicines
A new Home Medicines Service has been established to provide home delivery of PBS and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines, for vulnerable people and people in isolation.

This will complement the Government’s investments in telehealth, which allow people to see their doctor remotely, and if necessary obtain a script remotely. Vulnerable people will also be able to have their scripts filled remotely and delivered to their home.

The Government is fast tracking the roll out of electronic prescribing and dispensing through medical and dispensing software to make this even easier.

The Australian Government is implementing changes to allow community pharmacists to substitute dose strengths or forms of medicines without prior approval from the prescribing doctor, if a medicine is unavailable at the time of dispensing.

These changes will relieve pressure on busy doctors and allow patients to receive their medicines from their pharmacist without delay.

The changes will allow, for example, a pharmacist to dispense different strengths of a product (such as two 20mg tablets in place of a 40mg tablet), or a different dose form of the same medicine (such as a capsule instead of a tablet).

The changes will be implemented through the Scheduling Policy Framework and Poisons Standard, with implementation by States and Territories and the Government through the TGA. The Australian Government continues to consult on the implementation and the potential expansion of these substitution measures.

Measures to prevent stockpiling
New measures were also introduced on 19 March to prevent medicines stockpiling.

Pharmacists are required to limit dispensing and sales of certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines to a one-month supply for prescription medicines, and to a maximum of one unit per purchase of certain over-the-counter non-prescription medicines

Pharmaceutical wholesalers participating in the Community Service Obligation arrangements are also required to manage the supply of medicines to community pharmacies where there are significant stock shortages, to ensure equitable distribution of medicines to all Australians.

More information is available on the Department of Health Website:

NB: The Home Medicines Service is available from participating pharmacies across Australia. Contact your pharmacy to find out more.

Flu vaccination more important than ever during the month of April

April 1, 2020: The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
With the 2020 flu season not far away, all Australians — and especially those in vulnerable groups or age brackets — should arrange vaccination against seasonal influenza during the month of April.

Australians should speak to their GP, pharmacist or aged care provider to arrange a flu vaccination over the coming weeks.

Whilst flu vaccination does not prevent against COVID-19, a flu vaccination is critical to protecting the general health of Australians from influenza, which can take between 100 to 1,000 lives per year depending on the severity.

Expert medical advice is that everyone aged six months and over should be vaccinated against influenza this year, and every year, to protect themselves and others in the community.

From 1 May 2020, all aged care workers and visitors must have been vaccinated against seasonal influenza to enter an aged care facility.

The Australian Government has invested more than $80 million to provide more free vaccines under the National Immunisation Program in 2020 than ever before, including a new quadrivalent vaccine Fluad Quad® for people aged 65 years and over.

In total over 13.5 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccines have been secured for the National Immunisation Program and the private market in 2020.

This includes over 4 million doses of Fluad Quad® for those aged 65 years and older which is enough to vaccinate close to 100% of the cohort.

The National Immunisation Program provides free vaccines to those most at risk, including:
  • pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy;
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and older;
  • people aged 65 years and older;
  • people aged six months and older with certain medical risk factors; and
  • for the first time, all children aged between six months and five years.
Influenza vaccines are also available through state and territory programs, and through private providers including GPs and community pharmacy.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there are strong national requirements for all Australians to stay home unless they are undertaking essential activities, however it is permissible to leave home for medical or other health care needs, including attending an appointment to get a flu vaccine.
  • People in mandatory self-isolation due to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID -19 should remain in isolation and should not leave their home to go and get a flu vaccination.
  • People who do not have COVID-19, or who are not a suspected case of COVID-19, are allowed to leave their home for a flu vaccination, but it is recommended they should only do so if they have phoned ahead, made sure their health care professional has vaccine available, and made an appointment with their healthcare professional.
Receiving a vaccination from April provides optimal protection in the peak period of influenza circulation, usually from June to September in most parts of Australia.

This year it is even more important to be vigilant about the flu because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is not yet a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19, vaccination provides an effective defence against the flu.

Vaccinating against the flu will reduce the risk of a very dangerous double-up of flu and coronavirus—both diseases affecting the respiratory system.

Vaccinated people of all ages are less likely to get the flu and if they do, are less likely to have a severe case. Fewer cases and fewer severe cases of flu will result in less demand on our health care system.

Fortunately, most cases of COVID-19 in Australia so far have been mild, with only around 10 per cent of infected people requiring hospitalisation. This could change if people already made vulnerable by the flu also contract COVID-19.

The actions that we take to slow the spread of COVID-19 can also stop the spread of influenza and other viruses. Every one of us has a responsibility to contribute to this effort by:
  • practising good hygiene
  • practising social distancing
  • following the Government’s directions on public gatherings and workplaces, and
  • understanding how and when to self-isolate.
More information on the flu is available at https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-services/flu-influenza-immunisation-service.

Keep up to date with the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government’s response at www.health.gov.au.

How To Help Your Relatives Stay Connected Online During COVID-19

March 31, 2020: UNSW
Professor of computer science and award-winning educator, Richard Buckland, shares his tips for helping less tech-savvy relatives adapt to socialising online – with as little tension as possible.

Teaching family how to navigate the online world is hard at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. 

First, there’s the extra stress of COVID-19: the world is changing quickly, anxiety levels are high, and there’s no sign the situation will ease soon. 

Then, with bricks-and-mortar shops shutting down, there’s extra pressure for people unfamiliar with technology to adapt to the online world – and fast. 

To make this situation even more challenging, physical distancing means people need to learn these computer skills from afar, leaving room for all sorts of technical and miscommunication problems. 

Yet despite the tense circumstances, there are steps we can take to help others feel better during the switch.

“Emotional management – both the teacher’s and the student’s – is the most important thing when teaching a new skill,” says Richard Buckland, Professor in computer engineering and education researcher at UNSW Sydney.

“Everything else piggybacks on that. If you don't get the first bit right – if the emotions are wrong – it will be a barrier to the whole learning experience.” 

Prof Buckland has won more than a dozen awards for excellence in teaching over the past two decades, including the Australian ICT Educator of the Year and the Australasian Engineering Educator of the Year.

He shares his top tips for getting the emotions right when teaching in these complicated times.

1. Find the motivation
Before you start to teach someone a new skill, Prof Buckland suggests making sure that they have a good reason to learn.

“If they don’t seem that eager, give them a tangible reason to be,” he says. “The motivation needs to be something positive – something they can get excited about.

“It’s best if you can plant this in a casual way. For example, if I were teaching my parents how to use video chat, I might say, ‘The kids really want us to have a video dinner together on Friday night – let’s get all that set up, what do you think?’”  

By focusing on the positive outcome, it’s more likely they’ll be in a better mindset about learning – and excited to get started.

2. Get help from others
Ask yourself whether you’re the right person to be teaching them, or the right person to be teaching that part. 

“Don’t think you have to teach them the whole thing by yourself,” Prof Buckland says. 

Sometimes those you don't expect can be great at explaining new concepts

“Other people – even those you don’t expect – can be great at explaining things. For example, they might have a friend who already uses the platform.”

Depending on the specific skill you’re teaching, it can also be helpful if you get someone two generations apart to explain it.

“If there are kids around, I often ask them to help explain things. Kids have a different way of looking at the world – there are some things they can explain so much better than adults.

“They also tend to have a different dynamic with whoever it is you’re teaching, which may be helpful to the situation.”

3. Practise first
While practising a lesson before giving it might seem like a step you can skip, Prof Buckland says it’s a necessity.

“Don’t just think, ‘I know this, I've got this.’ You’re looking at it through familiar eyes and might be missing something. Go through it again step-by-step, as though you were a new user.”

You could practise on your own, by showing someone else in your household, or even by recording yourself. 

“Pay attention to how you sound when you explain something. Is your tone light and friendly, or a little patronising? We can sometimes slip into this while explaining something, even when we don’t mean to.”

4. Make it fun
Above all else, learning should be a happy experience for whoever you’re teaching. 

“If it's not a good experience, it doesn't matter how great a teacher you are – because they won't want to learn anymore,” Prof Buckland says. 

“Laugh, smile a lot. Be happy and cheerful. Make sure that teaching isn’t the only thing that happens on the phone call – it should be a fun call otherwise.”

Try to be in a good mood before your call – pick a time when no one is feeling hungry or tired. 

If all else fails and the lesson drifts into not being fun, then take a break.

“Don’t try to push it. Take it easy and try again later.”

It's never too late to learn a new skill

5. Take setbacks in your stride
There will always be problems during a live presentation – this is just part of the gig, says Prof Buckland. The key is to make sure you’re unflustered when it happens.

“React to problems in a way that doesn't let the situation become emotional,” he says.

“Keep your cool – don’t sound stressed or frustrated. Assure them that it's always a bit fiddly but it will work.”

It can help to do any troubleshooting using a device that they feel comfortable with. 

For example, if they are learning something on their computer, ask them to keep their mobile phone by their side. If something goes wrong, they can take a photo of what’s happening on their screen and text it to you. Not only can this help minimise misunderstandings, but it can also help improve their sense of control in the situation.

“If troubleshooting gets a bit out of hand, laugh it off and try again later. 

“You could say something like, ‘Well, it’s not my day today! Let’s try again tomorrow.’ Don’t let the situation get stressful.”

6. Finish the lesson on a high
The trick to crafting a great lesson is to keep it short, sharp, and finish on a high – with them being able to do something they couldn't before.

Decide what you want this high point to be and plan your whole lesson around reaching it.

“Take them directly to that high point,” Prof Buckland recommends. “Don’t go into special setups or any other diversions. These details can be done later, when everything is working.”

Importantly, don’t teach anything new after the high point – save it for the next lesson.

“Rejoice with them. Stop and say, ‘That's fantastic, well done!’, and do a little celebrating.

“They will feel good after this, and eager to learn more next time.”

Air pollution linked to dementia and cardiovascular disease

March 30, 2020
People continuously exposed to air pollution are at increased risk of dementia, especially if they also suffer from cardiovascular diseases, according to a study at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal JAMA Neurology. Therefore, patients with cardiovascular diseases who live in polluted environments may require additional support from care providers to prevent dementia, according to the researchers.

The number of people living with dementia is projected to triple in the next 30 years. No curative treatment has been identified and the search for modifiable risk and protective factors remains a public health priority. Recent studies have linked both cardiovascular disease and air pollution to the development of dementia, but findings on the air pollution-link have been scarce and inconsistent.

In this study, the researchers examined the link between long-term exposure to air pollution and dementia and what role cardiovascular diseases play in that association. Almost 3,000 adults with an average age of 74 and living in the Kungsholmen district in central Stockholm were followed for up to 11 years. Of those, 364 people developed dementia. The annual average level of particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in width (PM2.5) are considered low compared to international standards.

"Interestingly, we were able to establish harmful effects on human health at levels below current air pollution standards," says first author Giulia Grande, researcher at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society at Karolinska Institutet. "Our findings suggest air pollution does play a role in the development of dementia, and mainly through the intermediate step of cardiovascular disease and especially stroke."

For the last five years of exposure, the risk of dementia increased by more than 50 percent per interquartile range (IQR) difference in mean PM2.5 levels and by 14 percent per IQR in nitrogen oxide. Earlier exposures seemed less important. Heart failure and ischemic heart disease both enhanced the dementia risk and stroke explained almost 50 percent of air pollution-related dementia cases, according to the researchers.

"Air pollution is an established risk factor for cardiovascular health and because CVD accelerates cognitive decline, we believe exposure to air pollution might negatively affect cognition indirectly," says Giulia Grande. "In our study, virtually all of the association of air pollution with dementia seemed to be through the presence or the development of CVD, adding more reason to reduce emissions and optimise treatment of concurrent CVD and related risk factors, particularly for people living in the most polluted areas of our cities.

Giulia Grande, Petter L. S. Ljungman, Kristina Eneroth, Tom Bellander, Debora Rizzuto. Association Between Cardiovascular Disease and Long-term Exposure to Air Pollution With the Risk of Dementia. JAMA Neurology, 2020; DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.4914

Classic Movies Online In Full: Bedtime Story (1964)

When you want a break from checking out 'what's trending' on you tube, enter the search term 'complete movie HD classics' or 'classic movies in full' and watch the great old films by such directors as Hitchcock. There are a lot out there and even though the quality may not always be 'HD' (as they weren't made that way) you can still enjoy some funny insights and see some great fashions - many of which reappear! 

A great way to spend rainy afternoons when you want a break from curling up with a good book.

An example from 1964

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. 

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: www.mwpcommunityaid.com.au  and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mwpcarelimited

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 cwhiddon@live.com.

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

Peninsula Bridge Club Facebook page: www.facebook.com/peninsulabridgeclub

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

 COTA – NSW - cotansw.com.au


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

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