January 23-29, 2022: Issue 523

Star studded Premier's Gala Concerts are back

Tickets for the 2022 Premier’s Gala Concerts will be available from Friday 28 January.

In 2022 the concerts will be held on 30 and 31 March at the Aware Super Theatre at the International Convention Centre Sydney.

This year audiences will be treated to performances from some of Australia’s best, including Phil Burton of Human Nature, Christine Anu, Shannon Noll, Emma Pask, Gary Pinto and The Diamonds.

If you can't make it to the concerts in person, you can enjoy the show from the comfort of your own home via the event livestream, see registration details below.

Minister for Seniors and Multiculturalism Mark Coure said free tickets to the concerts, to be held at ICC Sydney on 30 and 31 March 2022, will be available through Ticketek from 9am next Friday, 28 January.

“The NSW Government hosts the Premier's Gala Concerts each year to thank seniors for their contributions to our communities,” Mr Coure said.

"These concerts are hugely popular among our seniors for good reason. They provide a great opportunity for them to enjoy musical and variety acts from some of Australia's favourite artists, as well as have fun and meet new friends.”

Thousands of seniors are expected to attend the concerts and the NSW Seniors Festival Expo, which will be running over the same two days at ICC Sydney.

The free expo will feature more than 50 exhibitors showcasing the latest in travel, health, lifestyle and services, along with creative workshops and giveaways for all to enjoy.

Mr Coure said the concerts and expo are highlights of the annual NSW Seniors Festival, which this year runs from Friday, 25 March to Sunday, 3 April.

“The NSW Government is proud to fund the NSW Seniors Festival, which is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere,” he said.

“The theme of this year’s festival is ‘reconnect,’ and there is no better way to come together after the disruptions caused by COVID-19 than to enjoy the hundreds of free and discounted events on offer across NSW during the festival.”

Singer Shannon Noll said he is looking forward to performing at the 2022 Premier’s Gala Concerts.

“Seniors have done so much for ours and future generations. It’s really important to celebrate and support them. Performing at these concerts is my small contribution to giving back to them,” he said.

Premier's Gala Concerts are presented by the NSW Government and run as part of the NSW Seniors Festival which takes place from 25 March - 3 April 2022.

Concert tickets: Tickets will be made available at 9am Friday 28 January. You can secure your tickets by visiting Ticketek online at https://premier.ticketek.com.au/ or by phoning Ticketek on 1300 130 613.

Livestream: To register for the livestream visit events.humanitix.com/2022-premier-s-gala-concerts-live-stream

Your Pandemic Story

from COTA Australia
The COVID-19 pandemic has had many profound impacts on our health, how we live, socialise and connect with people. For many of us this has meant drawing on the resilience we have developed over a lifetime to get through it. For some older Australians life during the pandemic has been relatively easy to manage; for others, the time has proved more challenging, and has had ongoing impacts.

If you are aged 75 or over, we want to learn firsthand from you how you navigated the pandemic.
We want to learn from you how the Covid 19 pandemic and restrictions affected you. If you would like to share your story with us, consider:
  • What changed for you because of Covid 19?
  • Did the pandemic affect your mental health and wellbeing? If it did, can you describe these impacts and how you felt?
  • If the pandemic did not affect your mental health, can you tell us a bit about how you managed to stay well?
  • How did you look after your mental health and wellbeing?
  • What were the worst impacts of the pandemic? What helped you get through the lockdowns and restrictions? What could have been done differently?
  • What gives you hope for the future? What will help you move beyond COVID 19?
We will use this information to work with National Mental Health Commission to improve Australia’s response to this and any future national crisis.

We will not publish your name or any identifying features but will use what you tell us in our report to the National Mental Health Commission.

We may also publish some of your stories on our website, but we will only do so with your consent.

Send us your story:
By post:  COTA Australia
Level 13, 430 Collins St Melbourne 3000
By February 15, 2022.

Hitting the beach this summer? Here are some of our top animal picks to look out for

John Turnbull, Author provided
John Turnbull, UNSW and Emma Johnston, UNSW

Australia has one of the longest coastlines in the world. And it’s packed with life of all shapes and sizes – from lively dolphins leaping offshore, to tiny crabs scurrying into their holes.

Here is just some of the diverse coastal life you might expect to see this summer, if you spend some time at the water’s edge.

Dolphins and turtles

We’re fortunate to have 15 species of dolphin (and one porpoise!) living in Australian waters. The large bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) are relatively common and can be spotted all the way around our coast.

You might see them playing in the waves, jumping out of the water, or even surfing among humans.

Bottlenose dolphin mother and cals
Bottlenose dolphins are generally grey with a lighter underside and have a pronounced, curved dorsal (upper) fin. Shutterstock

Turtles are less obvious, but can be spotted as they bob their heads out of the water to breathe. Australia’s coasts are home to six of the world’s seven sea turtles (all listed as either vulnerable or endangered).

The more common green turtle (Chelonia mydas) can be found everywhere except in the coldest southern waters. In summer, the turtles travel north to the tropical waters of QLD, NT and WA to reproduce – laying their eggs in the warm sand.

Green turtles often get tangled in discarded fishing gear and nets and can die from ingesting plastics, so don’t litter! John Turnbull/Flickr, Author provided

Another reptile you might encounter in the eastern coastal areas is the water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii). You’ll find them hovering around beach-side picnic areas, looking for tasty treats such as flies, ants, bugs, native fruits and flowers. As with all native animals, it’s important not to feed them.

Water dragons are good swimmers and stay near the water. John Turnbull/Flickr, Author provided

Heads in the clouds

If you cast your eyes up, you’ll see many coastal bird species soaring above.

Two of our favourites are the protected white-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and the sooty oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus). Both rely on marine animals for food, and nest in coastal areas right around Australia.

With a wingspan of up to 2m, you can find white-bellied sea eagles soaring above headlands. WikiCommons

The sea eagle mostly feeds on fish, turtles and sea snakes. It was recently listed as either threatened, endangered, or vulnerable in four states, largely as a result of coastal developments.

Meanwhile the sooty oystercatcher is, well, all black. It has distinctive bright-orange eyes and a long beak. Sooties can be found strutting among the seaweed and sea squirts on rocky shores.

As the name suggests, these birds enjoy eating molluscs and other invertebrates.

The sooty gives a loud whistling call before taking flight. John Turnbull/Flickr, Author provided

Crawling coastal critters

Many a critter will run for cover as sooties (and humans) approach, including the swift-footed crab (Leptograpsus variegatus). This crab’s mostly purple body is sprinkled with flecks of olive, and sometimes orange.

The species lives among the rocky shores around southern Australia, from WA to QLD, and even Tasmania.

The swift-footed crab can grow to about 5cm in shell width. John Turnbull/Flickr, Author provided

You’re much less likely to see another common crab, the sand bubbler. But you might see the results of its industrious activity on flat, wet and sandy areas.

Sand bubblers live in underground burrows, emerging during the low tide to filter sand through their mouthparts looking for food.

In this process, they end up making little pea-sized sand balls. When the tide starts to rise again, they return to their burrows and wait in a bubble of air, which they use to breathe, until the tide recedes.

Sand bubblers, from the family Dotillidae, are tiny and will quickly hide if they sense danger. John Turnbull/Flickr, Author provided

Magnificent molluscs

Molluscs are another diverse group of marine animals on our shores, and one of the best known molluscs is the octopus. Along with squid and cuttlefish, this trio of cephalopods is considered to be among the most intelligent invertebrates on Earth.

Octopus in a glass jar
Near urban areas, octopuses have been known to make homes of bottles, jars and even discarded coffee cups. John Turnbull, Author provided

In the case of the octopus, this may be due to having nine “brains”, including a donut-shaped brain in the head and a mini brain in each tentacle, which allow the tentacles to operate somewhat independently.

Australia has several octopus species, from the gloomy octopus (Octopus tetricus) on the east coast, to the Maori octopus (O. maorum) in the south. The potentially deadly blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena sp.) is found right around Australia.

Octopus reaches for camera
This gloomy octopus made a move for my camera as I took its photo. John Turnbull/Flickr, Author provided

Octopus forage at night, in shallow waters and to depths exceeding 500 metres. During the day they’ll return to their lair, which may be a hole, a ledge or a crack in a rock. They’ll often decorate their home with the discarded shells of their prey.

(Sometimes) stingers

You’ve probably seen jellyfish at the beach before, too. Species such as the moon jelly (Aurelia aurita) are harmless. But others can deliver a painful sting; bluebottles (Physalia utriculus) might come to mind here, also called the Pacific man-of-war.

Bluebottles and their relatives, blue buttons (P. porpita) and by-the-wind sailors (V. velella) don’t swim. They float at the ocean’s surface and go where the winds blow, which is how they sometimes get washed onto the beach.

Jellyfish on sand
By-the-wind sailors have an angled ‘sail’ which takes advantage of the wind, moving them large distances to catch prey. John Turnbull/Flickr, Author provided

Rather than being one animal, they are made of many polyps or “zooids” living together in a floating colony. Each polyp has a specialised role such as flotation, stinging, catching prey, digestion or reproduction.

Anemones are also related to jellyfish, and come in many shapes and colours – from the bright red waratah anemone (Actinia tenebrosa) found in all states, to the multi-coloured shellgrit anemone (Oulactis muscosa) found from SA to QLD. They use their tentacles to sting and catch prey, but have no impact on humans.

Many anemones live among the rocks and rock pools in the intertidal area, although some species, such as the swimming anemone (Phlyctenactis tuberculosa), live as deep as 40m underwater.

Grid of four anemone photos.
Top left: shellgrit anemone, top right: swimming anemone, bottom left: red waratah anemone, bottom right: green snakelock anemone (Aulactinia veratra) John Turnbull/Flickr, Author provided

Fancy fishes

Of course there are many fish to be seen along our shores – more than we could possibly mention here! In the shallows, we particularly like to find big-eyed gobies.

Some of the most colourful fish in this zone are young damselfish. These are most diverse in tropical Australia, but still found in temperate waters. Their juvenile forms can be striped and spotted, with colours ranging from bright yellow to iridescent blue.

Juvenile immaculate damselfish.
Immaculate damsels are endemic to Australian waters. John Turnbull/Flickr, Author provided

It’s best to photograph any fish you want to identify. Resources such as Reef Life Survey and Fishes of Australia can help with this.

If you upload your photos to the iNaturalist website, other users can help you ID them too. Uploading is also a big help to scientists, who then have a record of each sighting.

Finally, the diversity of marine life on our coast isn’t something we can afford to take for granted. So if you hit the beach this summer, make sure you:The Conversation

  • do not bring any single-use plastics
  • never leave anything behind (and preferably pick up any litter you see)
  • and keep pets and cars away from sensitive habitats, such as dunes and bird nesting areas.

John Turnbull, Postdoctoral Research Associate, UNSW and Emma Johnston, Professor and Dean of Science, UNSW

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Active and Healthy at any age

Staying physically active is the single most important thing you can do to stay fit and independent, as you get older. Age is no barrier, research shows that exercise, at any age, is worth the effort. If you are in any doubt about exercise, please talk to your doctor.

This website (https://www.activeandhealthy.nsw.gov.au/) can help you find an exercise program in your local area and provides information and tools that can assist you to increase your physical activity.

Join Healthy and Active for Life Online!

Healthy and Active for Life Online is a FREE 10-week healthy lifestyle program for adults aged 60 years* and over.

The program will help you learn how to make small, sustainable changes in your lifestyle to improve your health.

The program covers lots of topics including healthy eating and physical activity.
No prior knowledge or exercise experience is required!
*Aboriginal people aged 45+ years can register. 

Healthy and Active for Life Online will help you to be active by:
  • Providing online exercise programs for you to complete in the comfort of your home
  • Providing you with an exercise manual and log to keep you on track
  • Helping you to create realistic goals and increase your fitness

Your 2020-21 Centrelink payment summaries are now available

Services Australia, Australian Government
Your Centrelink payment summary shows your taxable and some non-taxable payments from us for the financial year.

Payments shown on your payment summary
By now the ATO should have pre-filled your Centrelink payment information into your tax return.

Not all payments you get will show on your Centrelink payment summary. Find out which payments are included on your Centrelink payment summary.

If you got the Coronavirus Supplement, you won’t see it reported separately. You can find it included in the total of the payment you received with the supplement.

The below payments are taxable, but will not appear on the Centrelink payment summary. We will report these separately to the ATO. If you received any of these payments you must include them in your tax return:
  • Consumer Travel Support Program (rounds 1 and 2)
  • Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment
  • COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
Find out how you can get your Centrelink payment summary . You can also get this information though the ATO’s myTax lodgement service or through a registered tax agent.

Wait to lodge your tax return
Wait until the ATO pre-fills your income information for 2020-21 before you lodge a return. If you lodge too early, you may need to amend your tax return later. Find out what other pre-fill information you may need on the ATO website.

If we change your 2020-21 Centrelink payment summary, we’ll send you an updated one.

If the change was for the 2019-20 financial year, we’ll also send an update to the myTax lodgement service. If the expected change doesn’t update, please check with the ATO.

Next steps
Check if you need to lodge a tax return on the ATO website.

2021 Seniors Card Directory

NSW Seniors Card is pleased to provide members with the 2021 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 below:

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.

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

 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

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 enquiries@nbcc.nsw.edu.au
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.


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.

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.

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 anne.computerpals@gmail.com

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

AvPals: Suspension of Activities until March 2022

AvPals regret to announce the suspension of all our activities until March 2022. This is of course due to the ongoing Covid issues. We can see no reason why we should not resume normal training in early March 2022 and we invite you to follow this webpage or read our newsletters. Subscribe HERE if you do not receive our newsletters.

Training at Avalon
Apply now for one-to-one training in 2022
Add your name to the wait list at Avalon for future school terms. Complete the form HERE. Remember to click the Submit button after completing the form. You will not be enrolled or be required to pay until you hear from our coordinator.

Avalon Computer Pals (AVPALS) help seniors learn and improve their computer and technology skills. Avpals is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers. Since 2000, we have helped thousands of seniors from complete beginners to people who need to improve or update their skills. We offer “one to one” personal tuition or special short courses. Small class workshops are run at the Newport Community Centre on Tuesday afternoons.

One-to-one training is provided at our rooms in Avalon, under the Maria Regina Catholic Church, 7 Central Road, Avalon Beach.

New ‘Council of Elders’ to champion concerns of older Australians

January 13, 2022
Fourteen eminent Australians – including National Seniors Australia CEO John McCallum – have been appointed to the inaugural aged care Council of Elders, to ensure your voice is heard by government.

Older Australians will now have a strong, formal voice to government on aged care matters with the establishment of a new Council of Elders. This new governance arrangement was one of the key recommendations emerging from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Council of Elders will provide guidance to the government on many aspects of aged care and ageing generally, but focus in particular on the quality and safety of care, and the rights and dignity of older Australians.

Fourteen members were appointed to the Council on 24 December, including National Seniors Australia CEO, John McCallum. Professor McCallum joins 2021 Senior Australian of the Year Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM, dementia advocate Gwenda Darling, writer and carer Danijela Hlis, Age Discrimination Commissioner Kay Patterson AO, indigenous campaigner Professor Tom Calma AO and Council Chair Ian Yates AM.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said Council members were selected based on their strong expertise, diverse backgrounds, and lived experience to help ensure aged care meets the needs and expectations of senior Australians, their families and carers, and the Australian community.

“Council members, all appointed for two-year terms, will provide advice to government, coordinate feedback from senior Australians and their families and communities, and help to build community awareness of ageing and aged care matters,” Minister Hunt said.

Professor John McCallum said the creation of the council was a positive development for seniors across Australia.

“There have been many committees established to implement Royal Commission recommendations, but this Council was without a doubt the most innovative and controversial. It has the chance to be broader in its scope (than the other committees) and bring fresh ideas into play.”

Professor McCallum said making sure the collective voices of National Seniors Australia members and senior Australians is his top priority as a member of the Council.

“This Council follows in the footsteps of many successful Councils of Elders internationally and in our indigenous communities. National Seniors’ representation on this Council will allow us to bring the voices of our large membership base and followers directly to the attention of government. I’m listed on the Council as an ‘activist’ and intend to be one!”

Dried goji berries may provide protection against age-related vision loss

January 13, 2022
Regularly eating a small serving of dried goji berries may help prevent or delay the development of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, in healthy middle-aged people, according to a small, randomized trial conducted at the University of California, Davis.

AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older people, and is estimated to affect more than 11 million in the United States and 170 million globally.

"AMD affects your central field of vision and can affect your ability to read or recognize faces," said Glenn Yiu, a co-author of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences.

The researchers found that 13 healthy participants aged 45 to 65 who consumed 28 grams (about one ounce, or a handful) of goji berries five times a week for 90 days increased the density of protective pigments in their eyes. In contrast, 14 study participants who consumed a commercial supplement for eye health over the same period did not show an increase.

The pigments that increased in the group that ate goji berries, lutein and zeaxanthin, filter out harmful blue light and provide antioxidant protection. Both help to protect the eyes during aging.

"Lutein and zeaxanthin are like sunscreen for your eyes," said lead author Xiang Li, a doctoral candidate in the Nutritional Biology Program.

"The higher the lutein and zeaxanthin in your retina, the more protection you have. Our study found that even in normal healthy eyes, these optical pigments can be increased with a small daily serving of goji berries," said Li.

The study was published in the journal Nutrients.

Berries used for eye health in China
Goji berries are the fruit of Lycium chinense and Lycium barbarum, two species of shrubby bushes found in northwest China. The dried berries are a common ingredient in Chinese soups and are popular as herbal tea. They are similar to raisins and eaten as a snack.

In Chinese medicine, goji berries are said to have "eye brightening" qualities. Li grew up in northern China and became curious whether there were any physiological properties to "eye brightening."

"Many types of eye diseases exist, so it is not clear which disease 'eye brightening' is targeting," said Li.

She researched the bioactive compounds in goji berries and found they contain high quantities of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to reduce the risk of eye diseases related to AMD. The form of zeaxanthin in goji berries is also a highly bioavailable form, according to Li, meaning it is readily absorbed in the digestive system so the body can use it.

The current treatment for intermediate stages of AMD uses special dietary supplements, called AREDS, that contain vitamins C, E, zinc, copper and lutein and zeaxanthin. No known therapy has yet been shown to impact early stages of AMD.

The cause of AMD is complex and multifactorial, according to Yiu, and involves a mix of genetic risks, age-associated changes, and environmental factors like smoking, diet and sun exposure. Early stages of AMD do not have symptoms; however, physicians can detect AMD and other eye problems during a regular comprehensive eye exam.

"Our study shows goji berries, which are a natural food source, can improve macular pigments of healthy participants beyond taking high-dose nutritional supplements," said Yiu. "The next step for our research will be to examine goji berries in patients with early-stage AMD."

Although the results are promising, the researchers note that the study size was small and more research will be needed.

Xiang Li, Roberta R. Holt, Carl L. Keen, Lawrence S. Morse, Glenn Yiu, Robert M. Hackman. Goji Berry Intake Increases Macular Pigment Optical Density in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Pilot Trial. Nutrients, 2021; 13 (12): 4409 DOI: 10.3390/nu13124409

dried goji berries. Photo: Myrabella

Exercise alters brain chemistry to protect aging synapses

January 7, 2022
When elderly people stay active, their brains have more of a class of proteins that enhances the connections between neurons to maintain healthy cognition, a UC San Francisco study has found.

This protective impact was found even in people whose brains at autopsy were riddled with toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

"Our work is the first that uses human data to show that synaptic protein regulation is related to physical activity and may drive the beneficial cognitive outcomes we see," said Kaitlin Casaletto, PhD, an assistant professor of neurology and lead author on the study, which appears in the January 7 issue of Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

The beneficial effects of physical activity on cognition have been shown in mice but have been much harder to demonstrate in people.

Casaletto, a neuropsychologist and member of the Weill Institute for Neurosciences, worked with William Honer, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia and senior author of the study, to leverage data from the Memory and Aging Project at Rush University in Chicago. That project tracked the late-life physical activity of elderly participants, who also agreed to donate their brains when they died.

"Maintaining the integrity of these connections between neurons may be vital to fending off dementia, since the synapse is really the site where cognition happens," Casaletto said. "Physical activity -- a readily available tool -- may help boost this synaptic functioning."

More Proteins Mean Better Nerve Signals
Honer and Casaletto found that elderly people who remained active had higher levels of proteins that facilitate the exchange of information between neurons. This result dovetailed with Honer's earlier finding that people who had more of these proteins in their brains when they died were better able to maintain their cognition late in life.

To their surprise, Honer said, the researchers found that the effects ranged beyond the hippocampus, the brain's seat of memory, to encompass other brain regions associated with cognitive function.

"It may be that physical activity exerts a global sustaining effect, supporting and stimulating healthy function of proteins that facilitate synaptic transmission throughout the brain," Honer said.

Synapses Safeguard Brains Showing Signs of Dementia
The brains of most older adults accumulate amyloid and tau, toxic proteins that are the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease pathology. Many scientists believe amyloid accumulates first, then tau, causing synapses and neurons to fall apart.

Casaletto previously found that synaptic integrity, whether measured in the spinal fluid of living adults or the brain tissue of autopsied adults, appeared to dampen the relationship between amyloid and tau, and between tau and neurodegeneration.

"In older adults with higher levels of the proteins associated with synaptic integrity, this cascade of neurotoxicity that leads to Alzheimer's disease appears to be attenuated," she said. "Taken together, these two studies show the potential importance of maintaining synaptic health to support the brain against Alzheimer's disease."

Kaitlin Casaletto, Alfredo Ramos‐Miguel, Anna VandeBunte, Molly Memel, Aron Buchman, David Bennett, William Honer. Late‐life physical activity relates to brain tissue synaptic integrity markers in older adults. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 2022; DOI: 10.1002/alz.12530

Couple jogging in the park (stock image). Credit: © lordn / stock.adobe.com

Heart disease causes early brain dysfunction and can treble key Alzheimer’s protein

January 13, 2022
Heart disease can directly cause brain dysfunction early on which could lead to dementia and can treble the amount of an Alzheimer's protein in the brain, say scientists.

The new research, published in eLife, has found that heart disease causes a breakdown of a key brain function which links brain activity and blood flow, meaning the brain gets less blood for the same amount of activity.

This is happening in heart disease patients before the build up of fat in the brain's blood vessels (atherosclerosis) and is a prelude to dementia. Until now it has been unclear how some forms of vascular dementia can happen years before atherosclerosis in the brain.

The researchers also discovered that the combination of heart disease and a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer's Disease trebles the amount of beta-amyloid, a protein that builds up and triggers Alzheimer's, and increases the levels of an inflammatory gene (IL1) in the brain.

Dr Osman Shabir, lead author of the study from the University of Sheffield's Neuroscience and Healthy Lifespan Institutes, said: "Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia worldwide and heart disease is a major risk factor for both Alzheimer's and dementia. The new findings are key to furthering our understanding of the links between heart disease and dementia.

"We've discovered that heart disease in midlife causes the breakdown of neurovascular coupling, an important mechanism in our brains which controls the amount of blood supplied to our neurons. This breakdown means the brain doesn't get enough oxygen when needed and in time this can lead to dementia."

The team have since been awarded a three year grant by the British Heart Foundation to look at the use of an arthritis drug which targets IL1 to see if it could reverse or reduce the brain dysfunction seen to be caused by heart disease.

The team also found that brain injuries can also worsen brain blood flow regulation, supporting observations that patients' symptoms often worsen after injuries or falls.

Osman Shabir, Ben Pendry, Llywelyn Lee, Beth Eyre, Paul S Sharp, Monica A Rebollar, David Drew, Clare Howarth, Paul R Heath, Stephen B Wharton, Sheila E Francis, Jason Berwick. Assessment of neurovascular coupling and cortical spreading depression in mixed mouse models of atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. eLife, 2022; 11 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.68242

MWP Care

We've been supporting the community for over 50 years! 
Our Neighbour Aid staff and volunteers are able to provide crucial support to vulnerable elderly residents during the lockdown. 

Help with going to the supermarket or shopping on your behalf from a list as well as transport to medical appointments. Please get in touch via our website for more information 

MWP Care is a not-for-profit organisation that assists frail aged and younger people with disabilities and their carer’s in the Manly, Warringah, Pittwater area to remain independent members of our community.

MWP Care provides support to people who cannot manage alone by providing a range of services. Many of Community Aid’s activities are made possible by the generous work of our wonderful volunteers. Please contact us for more information.

Meals on Wheels 

Meal preparation and delivery: Benevolent Society
Our food services include meal preparation, and delivery of hot, frozen or chilled meals as part of the Meals on Wheels NSW program. This service is currently provided in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney.

Assistance to prepare food at home is available as an activity to help stay active and independent.
To find out if you or someone you know is eligible for this service, call our friendly staff. 
Call 1800 236 762

Pittwater; 6 Jackson Road, WARRIEWOOD, NSW 2102
Phone: 02 9457 3900

Manly & Warringah; Manly Seniors Centre, 275 Pittwater Road, MANLY, NSW 2095
Phone: 02 9976 1469

Link Community Care

The Lockdown is continuing and so are the professionally cooked meals from Pittwater RSL for anyone in need or vulnerable during this time - (Centrelink card preferred but not necessary during the pandemic). Simply drive through between 11am-1pm on any day Tuesday through to Friday at 6/3 Vuko Place, Warriewood and one of our volunteers will assist you (please remain in vehicle). 

Do you know someone in need? Feel free to pop on down and pick up for them until stocks run out. 
Gold coin appreciated but not required.

If you would like access to non perishable hampers or the foodcare shop please see booking details on our website. https://link.org.au/community-care/

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.

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!

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.

assistance to pay your aged care costs

It’s now easier to get help if you need assistance to pay your aged care costs.
Services Australia have improved their Aged Care Claim for financial hardship assistance form and made changes to some evidence requirements. They’ve made these changes so it’s easier for you to get help.

You may get help if you can’t pay your aged care costs and you’re either:
  • in residential or respite care
  • getting a home care package.
You can claim for financial hardship assistance if all of the following apply:
If you get a Home Care Package, your care must have started on or after 1 July 2014.

Before you claim, you should update your income and asset details as well as your partners if you have one. You may also be eligible for other payments and services.

Next steps

NSW Seniors Card program: Translated Resources

If you're from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background, and would like more information about the NSW Seniors Card program, translated versions of the Membership Guide brochure are available here:
Available for download in 13 different languages.

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

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!
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. 


Contact Community Care Northern Beaches HERE


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.

Visit: https://easylink.com.au


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 $50 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

 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

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

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:  www.knowyourbones.org.au

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

 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

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

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. 

The Senior Newspaper Online 


On facebook

 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

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
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.

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.

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.