December 3 - 9, 2023: Issue 608

Tram Ride Through Sheffield, 1902

This is an exceptional ride that takes you through the heart of Edwardian Yorkshire's 'Steel City'. The footage was apparently captured from just behind the driver's seat, that's the top of the drivers hat you can see bobbing up and down. The film provides a vivid tour of the London Road, the Moor, Pond's Forge, Haymarket and Fargate, covering a distance of three miles.

During this time, electric trams were a new phenomenon, as evidenced by the poles holding the wires. People could be seen happily jumping on and off the trams while they were still in motion. Interestingly, ninety years later, Sheffield would lead the way in bringing back urban tram systems.

It is believed that there may have been more footage than what remains on the two rolls of film. This would account for some occasional geographical confusion in the film. The tram filming was one of several jobs that Mitchell and Kenyon carried out in Sheffield for Ralph Pringle, one of their most frequent clients.

Some of the resulting films, including this one, are part of the Peter Worden Collection of Mitchell and Kenyon films. Pringle exhibited these films under his North American Animated Photo Company, which reportedly enjoyed tremendous success at shows held in the city's Albert Hall. The screenings featured footage shot by local producer Frank Mottershaw, as well as subjects of general interest.

Look out for the poor guy whose job is to stand all day waiting to use his extended crowbar to switch the junction for each tram.

More than $2 billion boost for aged care homes to fund award wage increase

The Australian Government announced on December 1 it is investing billions of dollars to increase the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) price to $253.82 from 1 December 2023.

Our $2.194 billion commitment will support residential aged care providers to fund the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review decision, which increases the award wage for aged care staff by 5.75%.

The increase accounts for back pay funding for the 1 July to 30 November period and ensures aged care homes are funded to pay the increased award wages for registered nurses, enrolled nurses, assistants in nursing, personal care workers and recreational activities officers (lifestyle workers).

As part of this uplift to support the award wage rise, an additional $21.5 million has been committed for 24/7 RN supplement funding, also commencing 1 December 2023.

From 2024, the annual price for AN-ACC will be announced in August and come into effect on 1 October. This gives residential aged care providers greater certainty in the government funding they will receive each year.

Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells stated:

“Yet again, the Albanese Government is proving our commitment to aged care, investing more than $2 billion so every aged care home will have the funding to make this wage increase a reality for a deserving care workforce – a workforce that has been undervalued for far too long.”

“This money is in addition to the $11.3 billion to fund the biggest ever wage increase for aged care workers of 15 per cent.

“Through more funding for aged care homes, better wages for staff and improved care for residents, the Albanese Government is continuing to turn the dial on a safer, more equitable aged care system for generations to come.”

Free 2024 Calendar + Diary for Seniors

2024 Legal topics for seniors calendar(Calendar)
The 2024 Legal topics for seniors calendar will be available from 1st December 2023. Pre orders are open on 1 November 2023. Contains essential legal information for older people, including scams, neighbour disputes, consumer rights and owning and renting your home.

2024 Legal topics for seniors diary (Diary)
The 2024 Legal topics for seniors diary will be available from 1st December 2023. Pre orders are open on 1 November 2023. Contains essential legal information for older people, including scams, neighbour disputes, consumer rights and owning and renting your home.

Congratulations! Seniors Stories Volume 9 2023

The 2023 and 9th Volume of Seniors Stories was released on Thursday November 23 - filled with wonderful insights. 

Congratulations to Sybille (Nigi) Lechner Fairlight (Story: We Were Different), Bernadette Astill Manly (Story: Losing Control – Remotely) Sylvana Augustyniak Dee Why (Story: Ageing and Life Lessons) and Karen Conlay Elanora Heights (Story: The Stockbroker’s Father) whose short stories have been included in this edition.

The Hon. Jodie Harrison MP, NSW Minister for Seniors, states in her foreword;

''Telling stories is an age old tradition in all cultures; it’s how we pass down knowledge and history through generations. By writing and telling stories, we gain an appreciation of the diversity that exists in our local communities.

The NSW Government recognised that by inviting Seniors Card and Senior Savers Card members to contribute an original story around the theme ‘Ageing and Life Lessons’. We were overwhelmed by the literary talent of seniors across the state who submitted their stories.

Seniors’ Stories Volume 9 is just one way of recognising and valuing the experiences of NSW seniors and building connections between the young and old and encouraging older people to stay active, healthy and socially connected.

I am incredibly proud to undertake the responsibilities of Minister for Seniors and represent your voice in government. Our community is stronger thanks to the contributions made by our seniors. When seniors are active and involved in the community, everyone benefits.
Whatever your age, I hope you enjoy and are inspired by this wonderful collection of short stories.

The 2023 edition is available to download now at:  HERE

2024 Seniors Festival events running across NSW

The State Government announced on Wednesday 29 November 2023 that organisations across NSW have been awarded funding to stage an exciting array of activities and events during the 2024 NSW Seniors Festival.

Unfortunately no grants were allocated to this area this year.

Mosman Council Readers will be please to hear that Mosman Municipal Council has been awarded $5,000 for "Unbounded Horizons: Reaching Beyond".

The Seniors Festival 2024 at Mosman Council will run between the 11th and the 24th March 2024 and will be a vibrant and inclusive celebration designed to empower and engage our senior community members through the theme of "Reaching Beyond". This festival aims to promote reablement, fostering a renewed sense of purpose, vitality, and connection among our seniors.

Other local councils and community groups have also shared in $200,000 in funding to ensure there is something for almost everyone to enjoy at the 2024 NSW Seniors Festival running from Monday 11 March – Sunday 24 March 2024.

Minister for Seniors Jodie Harrison said funding was allocated to organisations across NSW so seniors from all corners of the state can participate in the festivities.

“There are so many wonderful ways to get involved with the 2024 Seniors Festival,” Minister Harrison said.

“From dance classes to drawing, gardening and games, the NSW Seniors Festival offers engaging activities for older people whether they are in a metropolitan or regional area.

“This year’s theme is ‘reach beyond’ and we encourage NSW seniors to ‘reach beyond’, step out of their comfort zone to try something new with friends and meet new people.

“The NSW Government is proud to present such a terrific event which is our way of thanking seniors for their tremendous contribution to the community.

All activities are aimed at people aged 60 and over with the goal of empowering older people to stay connected. Programs and activities will be available for diverse communities, as well as in regional NSW.

The 47 grant recipients were chosen from almost 300 applications in a robust selection process.

Successful projects may be seen HERE

The Premier's Gala Concerts will take place on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March 2024 at the ICC Aware Super Theatre in Darling Harbour. Ticket dates and performers will be announced in early 2024. 

For more details visit:

Artificial intelligence is already in our hospitals. 5 questions people want answered

Stacy Carter, University of Wollongong; Emma Frost, University of Wollongong; Farah Magrabi, Macquarie University, and Yves Saint James Aquino, University of Wollongong

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already being used in health care. AI can look for patterns in medical images to help diagnose disease. It can help predict who in a hospital ward might deteriorate. It can rapidly summarise medical research papers to help doctors stay up-to-date with the latest evidence.

These are examples of AI making or shaping decisions health professionals previously made. More applications are being developed.

But what do consumers think of using AI in health care? And how should their answers shape how it’s used in the future?

What do consumers think?

AI systems are trained to look for patterns in large amounts of data. Based on these patterns, AI systems can make recommendations, suggest diagnoses, or initiate actions. They can potentially continually learn, becoming better at tasks over time.

If we draw together international evidence, including our own and that of others, it seems most consumers accept the potential value of AI in health care.

This value could include, for example, increasing the accuracy of diagnoses or improving access to care. At present, these are largely potential, rather than proven, benefits.

But consumers say their acceptance is conditional. They still have serious concerns.

1. Does the AI work?

A baseline expectation is AI tools should work well. Often, consumers say AI should be at least as good as a human doctor at the tasks it performs. They say we should not use AI if it will lead to more incorrect diagnoses or medical errors.

2. Who’s responsible if AI gets it wrong?

Consumers also worry that if AI systems generate decisions – such as diagnoses or treatment plans – without human input, it may be unclear who is responsible for errors. So people often want clinicians to remain responsible for the final decisions, and for protecting patients from harms.

3. Will AI make health care less fair?

If health services are already discriminatory, AI systems can learn these patterns from data and repeat or worsen the discrimination. So AI used in health care can make health inequities worse. In our studies consumers said this is not OK.

4. Will AI dehumanise health care?

Consumers are concerned AI will take the “human” elements out of health care, consistently saying AI tools should support rather than replace doctors. Often, this is because AI is perceived to lack important human traits, such as empathy. Consumers say the communication skills, care and touch of a health professional are especially important when feeling vulnerable.

5. Will AI de-skill our health workers?

Consumers value human clinicians and their expertise. In our research with women about AI in breast screening, women were concerned about the potential effect on radiologists’ skills and expertise. Women saw this expertise as a precious shared resource: too much dependence on AI tools, and this resource might be lost.

Consumers and communities need a say

The Australian health-care system cannot focus only on the technical elements of AI tools. Social and ethical considerations, including high-quality engagement with consumers and communities, are essential to shape AI use in health care.

Communities need opportunities to develop digital health literacy: digital skills to access reliable, trustworthy health information, services and resources.

Respectful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must be central. This includes upholding Indigenous data sovereignty, which the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies describes as:

the right of Indigenous peoples to govern the collection, ownership and application of data about Indigenous communities, peoples, lands, and resources.

This includes any use of data to create AI.

This critically important consumer and community engagement needs to take place before managers design (more) AI into health systems, before regulators create guidance for how AI should and shouldn’t be used, and before clinicians consider buying a new AI tool for their practice.

We’re making some progress. Earlier this year, we ran a citizens’ jury on AI in health care. We supported 30 diverse Australians, from every state and territory, to spend three weeks learning about AI in health care, and developing recommendations for policymakers.

Their recommendations, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, have informed a recently released national roadmap for using AI in health care.

That’s not all

Health professionals also need to be upskilled and supported to use AI in health care. They need to learn to be critical users of digital health tools, including understanding their pros and cons.

Our analysis of safety events reported to the Food and Drug Administration shows the most serious harms reported to the US regulator came not from a faulty device, but from the way consumers and clinicians used the device.

We also need to consider when health professionals should tell patients an AI tool is being used in their care, and when health workers should seek informed consent for that use.

Lastly, people involved in every stage of developing and using AI need to get accustomed to asking themselves: do consumers and communities agree this is a justified use of AI?

Only then will we have the AI-enabled health-care system consumers actually want.The Conversation

Stacy Carter, Professor and Director, Australian Centre for Health Engagement, Evidence and Values, University of Wollongong; Emma Frost, PhD candidate, Australian Centre for Health Engagement, Evidence and Values, University of Wollongong; Farah Magrabi, Professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, and Yves Saint James Aquino, Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Health Engagement, Evidence and Values, University of Wollongong

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

With The Pogues, Shane MacGowan perhaps proved himself the most important Irish writer since James Joyce

Alexander Howard, University of Sydney

Known for his music with The Pogues, and perhaps the most important Irish writer since James Joyce, the venerated and critically acclaimed Shane MacGowan has died in Dublin at the age of 65.

MacGowan was the primary songwriter and lead singer of the folk-punk band who formed in London in 1982 and became best known for their chart-topping single, Fairytale of New York.

A mordantly comedic ballad sung by MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl, this unlikely Christmas favourite – which takes its title from a 1973 novel by the American-Irish writer J.P. Donleavy – is the fourth track on If I Should Fall With Grace From God.

Released to critical and commercial acclaim on January 18 1988, The Pogues’ third album provides us with a helpful means to better appreciate the rich musical and lyrical legacy the complex and notoriously unreliable MacGowan leaves behind.

This album, as with the four others MacGowan recorded with The Pogues, is an intoxicating admixture of the old and new, a heady concoction of the traditional and modern.

The opening song on the record – also called If I Should Fall With Grace From God – is proof. The track, which rattles along at furious pace and features a typically raspy vocal delivery by MacGowan, takes the traditional Scottish song The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond as a primary point of musical reference.

The thematic preoccupations of the lyrics leave little doubt as to MacGowan’s political affinities:

This land was always ours
Was the proud land of our fathers
It belongs to us and them
Not to any of the others.

Accordion player James Fearnley published an excellent memoir about his tenure as a member of The Pogues in 2012, and has this to say about the album’s opening number:

The song was as elemental as the best of all Shane’s songs. It had mud and land and rivers and oceans and corpses in it, in a landscape as expansive and ancient and threatening as the melody, bringing to mind the high road and low road, one of which – after the Jacobite Rising of 1745 – led to death.

All this, it should be added, in under two and a half minutes.

A lover of literature

Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan was born in Kent, England, on Christmas Day in 1957. His parents were Irish immigrants who moved to England for work. As a child, MacGowan divided his time between the south-east of England and Tipperary, where he first learnt to play and sing Irish music.

A gifted writer, MacGowan won a scholarship to Westminster School in London in 1971, but was expelled for drug possession in his second year.

MacGowan’s passion for reading and writing was evident to his family and teachers. By the age of 12, he was reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jean Paul Sartre and D. H. Lawrence.

MacGowan’s love of literature and prowess with language comes to the fore in the songs he wrote while in The Pogues. MacGowan took lyrical inspiration from transgressive and rebellious writers like Jean Genet and Federico García Lorca, both of whom are name-checked on The Pogues’ 1990 album, Hell’s Ditch.

The Irish republican writer and activist Brenden Behan was another enduring literary touchstone for MacGowan. His version of The Auld Triangle, popularised by Behan, can be found on The Pogues first album, Red Roses for Me, from 1984.

With his father, MacGowan read Joyce’s Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Joyce’s influence on MacGowan and The Pogues was profound and lasting. (He quite literally appears on the cover of If I Should Fall With Grace From God.)

The academic Kevin Farrell reminds us, at the outset of their career, “the band called itself Pogue Mahone, a playful – and Joycean – attempt to slip Irish language vulgarity past the BBC censors”.

The Gaelic phrase póg mo thóin translates as “kiss my arse”, and a variation of the expression can be found in the Aeolus episode of Joyce’s modernist masterpiece, Ulysses. While they couldn’t get the reference past the censors, it is a clear indicator of the band’s love of Joyce, who also struggled against the suppression of expression.

The influence of Joyce

Joyce’s influence on MacGowan can be felt in the lyrics of The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn.

This song, the first track of 1985’s Rum, Sodomy & the Lash, serves as a lyrical statement of artistic and political intent: it fuses Celtic mythology with anti-fascist action. Here is a representative slice of the lyrics, which MacGowan delivers at a suitably frenzied pace:

When you pissed yourself in Frankfurt and got syph down in Cologne
And you heard the rattling death trains as you lay there all alone
Frank Ryan bought you whiskey in a brothel in Madrid
And you decked some fucking black shirt who was cursing all the Yids

At the sick bed of Cúchulainn we’ll kneel and say a prayer
But the ghosts are rattling at the door and the devil’s in the chair.

Cuchulainn is a central figure in The Ulster Cycle, a key work of Celtic mythology. A renowned fighter, the heroic Cuchulainn is often romanticised and deified.

MacGowan, who sees affinities between the mythological Cuchulainn and historical figures like the Irish republican Frank Ryan, takes a very different, and overtly Joycean tack.

Deftly toggling back and forth across temporalities, MacGowan foregrounds and celebrates the corporeal. And as with Joyce’s everyman hero, Leopold Bloom, MacGowan’s Cuchulainn is, as music critic Jeffrey T. Roesgen tells us:

made human, assuming the same misadventures, indulgences, and internal struggles between virtue and vice that consume us.

This also serves, I think, as a fitting description of MacGowan himself. The Conversation

Alexander Howard, Senior Lecturer, Discipline of English, University of Sydney

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

Henry Kissinger has died. The titan of US foreign policy changed the world, for better or worse

Lester Munson, University of Sydney

Henry Kissinger was the ultimate champion of the United States’ foreign policy battles.

The former US secretary of state died on November 29 2023 after living for a century.

The magnitude of his influence on the geopolitics of the free world cannot be overstated.

From world war two, when he was an enlisted soldier in the US Army, to the end of the cold war, and even into the 21st century, he had a significant, sustained impact on global affairs.

From Germany to the US and back again

Born in Germany in 1923, he came to the United States at age 15 as a refugee. He learned English as a teenager and his heavy German accent stayed with him until his death.

He attended George Washington High School in New York City before being drafted into the army and serving in his native Germany. Working in the intelligence corps, he identified Gestapo officers and worked to rid the country of Nazis. He won a Bronze Star.

Kissinger returned to the US and studied at Harvard before joining the university’s faculty. He advised moderate Republican New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller – a presidential aspirant – and became a world authority on nuclear weapons strategy.

When Rockefeller’s chief rival Richard Nixon prevailed in the 1968 primaries, Kissinger quickly switched to Nixon’s team.

A powerful role in the White House

In the Nixon White House, he became national security advisor and later simultaneously held the office of secretary of state. No one has held both roles at the same time since.

For Nixon, Kissinger’s diplomacy arranged the end of the Vietnam war and the pivot to China: two related and crucial events in the resolution of the cold war.

He won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for his Vietnam diplomacy, but was also condemned by the left as a war criminal for perceived US excesses during the conflict, including the bombing campaign in Cambodia, which likely killed hundreds of thousands of people.

That criticism survives him.

The pivot to China not only rearranged the global chessboard, but it also almost immediately changed the global conversation from the US defeat in Vietnam to a reinvigorated anti-Soviet alliance.

After Nixon was compelled to resign by the Watergate scandal, Kissinger served as secretary of state under Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford.

During that brief, two-year administration, Kissinger’s stature and experience overshadowed the beleaguered Ford. Ford gladly handed over US foreign policy to Kissinger so he could focus on politics and running for election to the office for which the people had never selected him.

During the turbulent 1970s, Kissinger also achieved a kind of cult status.

Not classically attractive, his comfort with global power gave him a charisma that was noticed by Hollywood actresses and other celebrities. His romantic life was the topic of many gossip columns. He’s even quoted as saying “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”.

His legacy in US foreign policy continued to grow after the Ford administration. He advised corporations, politicians and many other global leaders, often behind closed doors but also in public, testifying before congress well into his 90s.

Criticism and condemnation

Criticism of Kissinger was and is harsh. Rolling Stone magazine’s obituary of Kissinger is headlined “War Criminal Beloved by America’s Ruling Class, Finally Dies”.

His association with US foreign policy during the divisive Vietnam years is a near-obsession for some critics, who cannot forgive his role in what they see as a corrupt Nixon administration carrying out terrible acts of war against the innocent people of Vietnam.

Kissinger’s critics see him as the ultimate personification of US realpolitik – willing to do anything for personal power or to advance his country’s goals on the world stage.

A man sitting at a desk gives directions to three other men at the desk
Former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, leaves behind a controversial legacy. Shutterstock

But in my opinion, this interpretation is wrong.

Niall Ferguson’s 2011 biography, Kissinger, tells a very different story. In more than 1,000 pages, Ferguson details the impact that world war two had on the young Kissinger.

First fleeing from, then returning to fight against, an immoral regime showed the future US secretary of state that global power must be well-managed and ultimately used to advance the causes of democracy and individual freedom.

Whether he was advising Nixon on Vietnam war policy to set up plausible peace negotiations, or arranging the details of the opening to China to put the Soviet Union in checkmate, Kissinger’s eye was always on preserving and advancing the liberal humanitarian values of the West – and against the forces of totalitarianism and hatred.

The way he saw it, the only way to do this was to work for the primacy of the United States and its allies.

No one did more to advance this goal than Henry Kissinger. For that he will be both lionised and condemned.The Conversation

Lester Munson, Non-resident fellow, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney

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

Pittwater-Narrabeen Parkinson’s Support Group

The purpose of our group is to support seniors (55yrs +) living with Parkinson’s, their carers, relatives and those who have lost a partner to Parkinson’s, who live on the northern beaches of Sydney.

This support Group has been meeting for around 30 years on the Northern Beaches. Our meetings aim to help reduce the social isolation, and increase community connectedness for our members. Through guest speakers, discussions, and group activities, our meetings will support and promote mental health, healthy lifestyles and well-being.

Our Facebook webpage will be used to store resources and links, and provide another way to safely keep in touch, for those who want to use Facebook. We also have a website that is regularly updated

We meet regularly and due to Covid we have been meeting at Jamieson Park, The Esplanade, Narrabeen.

Give Dot a call for more information: 0418 640 086 and join our Facebook group:

Concession car parking at NSW Health public hospitals

Patients and carers may be eligible for concession rates on parking at NSW Health public hospitals. 

To be eligible you need to be:
  • requiring treatment over an extended period
  • attending hospital more than twice a week (including carers of long term patients who visit frequently). 
  • ongoing cancer treatment
  • treatment more than twice weekly
  • daily dressing changes
  • cardiac rehabilitation or health promotion classes
Concessions are also available for holders of a: 
  • Transport for NSW Mobility Parking Scheme permit
  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold Card
  • Health Care Card.
Hospitals provide communication to patients, carers and visitors about the availability of concessional car parking rates, this includes:
  • clearly displaying and publicising concessional rates
  • streamlining the concession application process with designated points of access
  • validating concessional parking for the duration of a course of treatment. 
For detailed information on eligibility and concession fees, visit NSW Health webpage:

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.

Hotline to report food quality in aged care now live

Australians now have a simple and efficient way to report food concerns in aged care, with the launch of a dedicated Food, Nutrition and Dining Unit hotline at the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

The hotline is active and callers will have access to experts in the areas of food, nutrition, and dining, including dietitians and speech pathologists.

A good meal with good nutrition is crucial to quality of life for everyone but especially older people.

The Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline is also available to aged care providers to access food and nutrition advice, support and education to deliver improved food, nutrition and dining experiences for older people in their care.

Older people, their families and carers, providers and aged care workers can call the Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline on 1800 844 044.

The hotline builds on the Federal Government’s grant to the Maggie Beer Foundation to build the capability of aged care chefs and cooks working in aged care.

The first free online training modules are now available:

Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells stated;

“What older Australians consume and their dining experience has a significant impact on their overall wellbeing.

“Australians were shocked when the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found that 68% of aged care residents were malnourished or at risk of malnourishment on the Coalition’s watch.
“I can't be clear enough, food must be a priority in aged care.

“The Food, Nutrition and Dining Unit hotline is another important step in the Albanese Government’s mission to make sure older people have access to nourishing food that improves their quality of life.”



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

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.

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.

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.

 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 2022 our programs focus on assisting older people aged 65 years and older, we also assist younger people with a disability and their carers.  We are funded by the Australian Government Dept. of Health through the Commonwealth Home Support Program (known as CHSP). Pittwater Online News PROFILE

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

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

Our programs cover:

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

Visit our website for more at:  and on Facebook:

2023 Seniors Card Discount Directory

Seniors right across the state can now pick up the latest copy of the NSW Seniors Card Directory from hundreds of locations across the state or access it online.

Minister for Seniors Mark Coure said the directory details more than 2,000 businesses providing significant discounts off products and services available through the NSW Seniors Card program.

“This directory lists all the savings that can be accessed, from supermarkets, retail and boutique stores, health and fitness, travel, utilities and professional services,” Mr Coure said.

“The Seniors Card is the largest program of its kind in Australia, and has been helping keep more money in seniors pockets and easing the cost of living for 30 years.”

The 2023 Seniors Card Directory is available in five regional areas, including Sydney and Surrounds, Central Coast and Hunter, Northern NSW, Southern NSW and Western NSW.

Mr Coure encouraged more businesses to sign up to the NSW Seniors Program and join the more than 6,000 businesses that have opened their door to more than 1.9 million seniors across the state.

“The more businesses that sign up can potentially get more people through their door and seniors have more choice to shop and use services, so it is a win-win,” Mr Coure said.

Seniors Cards are available for permanent NSW residents who are 60 years of age or over and are working no more than 20 hours per week in paid employment.

NSW Seniors Card is pleased to provide members with the 2023 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 link below:
Copies of the 2023 directory are also available for pickup from Australia Post Outlets, Service NSW Centres, MP Offices as well as participating local Councils and Libraries across the state. Please click here to find a location near you.

Also available:
  • Central Coast & Hunter
  • Northern NSW
  • Southern NSW
  • Western NSW

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

Tech Savvy Seniors

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

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

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

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

Tech Savvy Seniors is a NSW Government initiative in partnership with Telstra.

Wellbeing Plus 

The Wellbeing Plus Course is a free, online treatment course for Australian’s aged 60 years+  
The course includes 5 lessons delivered over 8 weeks, with optional weekly support from a therapist via email or phone. It aims to help us understand symptoms of anxiety and depression, and practice helpful skills.    

Over 95% of people said they would recommend the Wellbeing Plus Course.  

If you're interested in learning more, visit  

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

NSW Spectacles Program

The NSW Spectacles Program provides glasses and visual aids to eligible recipients who might be at risk of a preventable decline in their eye health.

If you're eligible, you can receive free of charge in any 2-year period:
  • one pair of single vision glasses, or
  • one pair of bifocal glasses.
Contact lenses, tinted lenses or low vision aids may be provided in certain circumstances.

You are eligible if you:
  • receive a full Centrelink pension/benefit
  • have no other income other than the Centrelink payments
  • have financial assets less than $500 (if single) or $1000 (if married/partnered or parent/guardian)
  • are a low-wage earner who earns less than:
  • the JobSeeker Payment if you're under 65, or
  • the aged pension if you're over 65.
People living in regional/remote areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples may also qualify for the subsidy. At your appointment, your provider will use the program’s online portal to check your eligibility using the information you've supplied.

Visit Vision Australia for more details on the program, your eligibility and how to apply, at:

Home Instead Sydney North Shore & Northern Beaches

We are a provider of quality home care and companionship services for seniors in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. 

To you, it’s about finding trustworthy care for your ageing loved one. To us, it’s about providing the highest-quality in-home care services to fit you and your family’s needs.
To Us, It's Personal.

We provide services to all areas and suburbs in the North Shore and Northern Beaches of Sydney.
Telephone: (02) 9144 2322

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

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

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.

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:

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

Bilgola plateau Probus Club

The Bilgola Plateau Probus Club is now on a membership drive to secure interested people to join our club.  Membership is open to males and females who are currently retired or semi-retired.

We meet on the first Friday of each month at 10am at the Newport Bowling Club; 2 Palm Road Newport.

Bilgola Plateau Probus Club is now one year old, and is still accepting membership applications.

To find out more contact the President Mike Musgrave on 0419 263 165.


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 or phone 02 8064 3574

Keep up to date on our Facebook page

Find out more at:

 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

Keep on Dancing is what the science says!

ABC Catalyst is presenting a 2 part special studying the many benefits of dance for the over 65s. Improvements in memory, movement and the creation of new neural pathways in the brain are some of the benefits found in recent studies.

Nia is a combination of 52 moves drawn from dance arts, martial arts and healing arts. Within one class we combine flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability (FAMMS) in order to improve balance and fitness. By incorporating FAMMS within the movements, Nia is an integrated way to condition the entire body. People who regularly practice Nia open to a new awareness of their bodies, their internal energies, and their feelings – all of which help them move more efficiently, effectively, and safely in their workouts and in life.

Come along and give it a try. There's no performance pressure. Avalon Nia Classes are held at the Recreation Centre.
6pm Thursdays Classic Nia
9.30am Fridays Gentle Nia
Call or text Mandy Loveday 0411 645 389 - Profile

Nia’s 9 movement forms embrace the 5 Sensations of Fitness:
  • Flexibility
  • Agility
  • Mobility
  • Strength
  • Stability
Dance for health. Avalon Recreation Centre Thursdays 6pm and Fridays 9.30am. 

The Senior Newspaper Online 


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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

Brains Trust Lunch 2023

Our thanks to the wonderful community members, all volunteers, who have helped with photos, research, support and advice in 2023.

Many thanks to Brian Friend OAM, Joe and Gerry Mills, Kevin and Glenys Murray, Peter and Roz Verrills, Marita Macrae OAM, Roger Sayers OAM, Warren Young OAM, Geoff (OAM) and Collette Searl, Michael (OAM) and Pam Mannington,  and Eric Gumley.

National Seniors Australia enters new era with new Chief Executive Officer

November 28, 2023
After almost seven years of advocating for the rights of older Australians, Mr Ian Henschke has left National Seniors Australia and his role as Chief Advocate.

“Ian joined National Seniors as Chief Advocate in 2017. During this time, he has championed our advocacy work, elevated our profile and together with the support of credible research and sound policies, positioned National Seniors as a leader in age-related advocacy,” Chairman Mr Ross Glossop said.

National Seniors Australia (NSA) has entered a new era of opportunity and promise with the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer, Mr Chris Grice.

“Since our inception in 1976, NSA has worked with, and for, older Australians to provide a strong national voice on issues such as the Age Pension, retirement income, age discrimination and aged care to create a better life for older Australians,” Chairman of the Board Mr Ross Glossop said.

“To ensure we meet these needs in 2024 and beyond, the board has been working on a new strategic direction with a greater emphasis on federal and state government relations, industry alliances and community partnerships. Chris has been an integral part of this work.

“Chris brings to the position of CEO a unique and deep understanding of all aspects of NSA from our research and advocacy work to our commercial products and services to fund this work, duly gained during twelve years of dedicated service in roles as Membership and Insurance Manager, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer.

“Chris’ hands-on approach and connections to NSA’s branch community through attendance at meetings, forums, and events across Australia exemplifies his commitment to our members.

“This approach is supported by his successful track record of political influence and advocacy, strategic leadership, operational excellence, and astute financial acumen.

“Chris is eminently qualified to lead NSA and steps into the role of CEO with the full support of the board and the resounding support of his staff.”

It is a step Chris takes with confidence and pride.

“I am deeply honoured to lead a team who genuinely believes in the work we do and why we do it. Each day, I am reminded of our purpose, and this energises me to ensure we fulfill it,” Mr Grice said.

“Older Australians face a myriad of issues including ageism, housing suitability and affordability as well as concerns about being able to support the next generation. These challenges can be addressed only if parliamentarians, governments, industry, and the broader community work together.

“While some issues identified in the 2023 Intergenerational Report, such as an ageing population and a rising demand for care and support services, could be seen as a burden, they could also be opportunities if government makes the most of older people’s potential capacity and contribution.”

In addition to promoting the needs of older Australians, one of Chris’s greatest pleasures in leading National Seniors is being able to promote the positive physical, emotional, and economic contributions older Australians make to the community.

“Whether it be through caring, volunteering or working – a life of learning, experience, and wisdom matters. It should be acknowledged and celebrated,” he said.

It is with this sincerity and optimism that National Seniors embraces a new era of opportunity, led by a CEO with the vision, strategy, and support to continue to empower older Australians.

Mr Chris Grice

Former Wentworth MP Dave Sharma pulls off surprise victory for Liberal Senate vacancy

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The former member for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, has won the Liberal Senate spot left by the retirement of the former Foreign Minister Maris Payne.

He beat former NSW minister Andrew Constance 251 to 206 in the final ballot on Sunday. His selection was a surprise, with Constance earlier tipped the likely winner. Both Sharma and Constance are moderates, as was Payne.

Sharma (who is not Jewish) is a one-time Australian ambassador to Israel, and his selection will be particularly welcomed by many in the Jewish community. He has been strongly supportive of Israel in his many media appearances since the October 7 Hamas attack.

Liberal MP Julian Leeser, who is Jewish, said: “Dave Sharma has a strong understanding of the need for Australia to stand with like-minded liberal democracies around the world.

"He has been a strong voice against antisemitism and I believe he will be extremely effective in exposing the extremist-Greens and the antisemitism they are feeding across Australia. He will be a welcome addition to Peter Dutton’s team.”

Opposition leader Dutton said: “His diplomatic and foreign policy expertise and experience will lend considerable weight and wisdom to the public policy debate given the precarious circumstances in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific.

"Dave will speak with moral courage and provide moral clarity as we grapple with unprecedented levels of antisemitism on our own shores.”

Sharma held the seat of Wentworth from 2019 to 2022, when he was defeated by teal independent Allegra Spender.

Sunday’s 10-candidate field included former ACT senator Zed Seselja, a hard-line conservative, who was defeated by independent David Pocock at the last election.

Liberal deputy leader Sussan Ley said Sharma’s “keen foreign policy intellect will be particularly welcome given we are in the most dangerous set of geopolitical circumstances since the second world war.

"Over the past 20 years, Dave has sat in the Oval Office with American presidents, helped to broker international peace agreements and has first-hand experience on-the-ground in Israel as a former ambassador – all vital experiences which put him in good stead to make a lofty contribution as a senator for New South Wales.”The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

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

COVID wave: what’s the latest on antiviral drugs, and who is eligible in Australia?

Miljan Zivkovic/Shutterstock
Jessica Pace, University of Sydney and Nial Wheate, University of Sydney

Australia is experiencing a fresh wave of COVID, seeing increasing cases, more hospitalisations and a greater number of prescriptions for COVID antivirals dispensed over recent months.

In the early days of the pandemic, the only medicines available were those that treated the symptoms of the virus. These included steroids and analgesics such as paracetamol and ibuprofen to treat pain and fever.

We now have two drugs called Paxlovid and Lagevrio that treat the virus itself.

But are these drugs effective against current variants? And who is eligible to receive them? Here’s what to know about COVID antivirals as we navigate this eighth COVID wave.

What antivirals are available?

Paxlovid is a combination of two different drug molecules, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. The nirmatrelvir works by blocking an enzyme called a protease that the virus needs to replicate. The ritonavir is included in the medicine to protect the nirmatrelvir, stopping the body from breaking it down.

Molnupiravir, marketed as Lagevrio, works by forcing errors into the RNA of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID) as it replicates. As these errors build up, the virus becomes less effective.

This year in Australia, the XBB COVID strains have dominated, and acquired a couple of key mutations. When COVID mutates into new variants, it doesn’t affect the ability of either Paxlovid or Lagevrio to work because the parts of the virus that change from the mutations aren’t those targeted by these two drugs.

This is different to the monoclonal antibody-based medicines that were developed against specific strains of the virus. These drugs are not thought to be effective for any variant of the virus from omicron XBB.1.5 onwards, which includes the current wave. This is because these drugs recognise certain proteins expressed on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, which have changed over time.

What does the evidence say?

As Lagevrio and Paxlovid are relatively new medicines, we’re still learning how well they work and which patients should use them.

The latest evidence suggests Paxlovid decreases the risk of hospitalisation if taken early by those at highest risk of severe disease.

Results from a previous trial suggested Lagevrio might reduce COVID deaths. But a more recent, larger trial indicated Lagevrio doesn’t significantly reduce hospitalisations or deaths from the virus.

However, few people at highest risk from COVID were included in this trial. So it could offer some benefit for patients in this group.

In Australia, Lagevrio is not routinely recommended and Paxlovid is preferred. However, not all patients can take Paxlovid. For example, people with medical conditions such as severe kidney or liver impairment shouldn’t take it because these issues can affect how well the body metabolises the medication, which increases the risk of side effects.

Paxlovid also can’t be taken alongside some other medications such as those for certain heart conditions, mental health conditions and cancers. For high-risk patients in these cases, Lagevrio can be considered.

A senior woman blowing her nose.
Older adults are among those eligible for COVID antivirals. - Yuri A/Shutterstock

Some people who take COVID antivirals will experience side effects. Mostly these are not serious and will go away with time.

Both Paxlovid and Lagevrio can cause diarrhoea, nausea and dizziness. Paxlovid can also cause side effects including muscle aches and weakness, changes in taste, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. If you experience any of these, you should contact your doctor.

More serious side effects of both medicines are allergic reactions, such as shortness of breath, swelling of the face, lips or tongue and a severe rash, itching or hives. If you experience any of these, call 000 immediately or go straight to the nearest emergency department.

Be prepared

Most people will be able to manage COVID safely at home without needing antivirals. However, those at higher risk of severe COVID and therefore eligible for antivirals should seek them. This includes people aged 70 or older, people aged 50 or older or Aboriginal people aged 30 or older with one additional risk factor for severe illness, and people 18 or older who are immunocompromised.

If you are in any of these groups, it’s important you plan ahead. Speak to your health-care team now so you know what to do if you get COVID symptoms.

If needed, this will ensure you can start treatment as soon as possible. It’s important antivirals are started within five days of symptom onset.

If you’re a high-risk patient and you test positive, contact your doctor straight away. If you are eligible for antivirals, your doctor will organise a prescription (either an electronic or paper script).

These medicines are available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and subsidised for people with a Medicare card. The cost for each course is the standard PBS co-payment amount: A$30 for general patients and A$7.30 for people with a concession card.

So you can rest and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others, ask your pharmacy to deliver the medication to your home, or ask someone to collect it for you.The Conversation

Jessica Pace, Associate Lecturer, Sydney Pharmacy School, University of Sydney and Nial Wheate, Associate Professor of the School of Pharmacy, University of Sydney

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

Shane MacGowan: a timeless voice for Ireland’s diaspora in England

Sean Campbell, Anglia Ruskin University

During a concert in Dublin in 2022, Bob Dylan paused between songs to pay tribute to another singer-songwriter who was in attendance that night. “I want to say hello to Shane MacGowan”, said Dylan, praising MacGowan as one of his “favourite artists”.

MacGowan, who has died aged 65, came to prominence in the 1980s as the singer and songwriter for The Pogues. In that role, MacGowan became, as the BBC Four documentary The Great Hunger: the Life and Songs of Shane MacGowan explained, “the first voice that arose from within the London-Irish to give defiant and poetic expression to a community which had never really felt able to proclaim itself”.

The Pogues gave visibility to the second-generation Irish in England, a facet of migrant life that had previously gone uncharted in mainstream popular culture.

MacGowan was not only pioneering in his evocation of Ireland’s diaspora in England – he composed songs of exceptional quality, attracting enormous critical respect and significant commercial success.

Irish beginnings

MacGowan was born December 25 1957 in Kent, England (where his parents were visiting family), but spent his early years on a farm in County Tipperary. There, the youngster observed regular traditional Irish music sessions, which had – as his late mother Therese explained – “a tremendous influence on him”.

During the early 1960s, MacGowan relocated to London where his father had found work, precipitating what the singer called a “horrific change of life”. During this time, he would, he said, “cry [himself] to sleep” at night while “thinking about Ireland”.

Shane MacGowan on his Irish identity.

He assuaged his homesickness by attending Irish social clubs and regularly visiting Ireland.

“Because there’s an Irish scene in London,” MacGowan later explained, “you never forget the fact that you originally came from Ireland. There are lots of Irish pubs, so there was always Irish music in bars and on jukeboxes. Then every summer I would spend my school holidays back in Tipperary.”

This experience of being raised in a migrant Irish environment would animate much of MacGowan’s work with The Pogues.

Becoming ‘my own ethnic’

Despite securing a highly competed-for scholarship at Westminster (a prestigious private school), MacGowan was soon expelled for possessing drugs.

Johnny Rotten on stage in military camouflage.
Johnny Rotten, another singer at the heart of London’s punk scene. Shutterstock

After a spell in London’s Bethlem Royal Hospital for alcohol and drug abuse, he took on work as a porter and barman. MacGowan’s interests became increasingly focused, though, on London’s emergent punk scene, at the centre of which was another second-generation Irish singer, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), the vocalist and lyricist for the Sex Pistols.

“I probably wouldn’t have been that interested if Johnny Rotten hadn’t been so bloody obviously Irish and made a big noise about it, and made such anti-English records,” Shane later observed.

MacGowan formed his own punk band, The Nips, who achieved moderate success before fragmenting in the early 1980s. During that period, Shane began to observe a turn towards “roots” music (later, “world music”) in London. This prompted him to take a radical change of direction. As the singer later explained: “I just thought … if people are being ‘ethnic’, I might as well be my own ‘ethnic’.”

With this in mind, MacGowan launched The Pogues in 1982, recruiting two other musicians of Irish descent, Cáit O’Riordan (bass) and Andrew Ranken (drums), alongside three non-Irish associates: Jem Finer (banjo), Spider Stacy (tin whistle) and James Fearnley (accordion).

Discussing perhaps his most famous song, Fairytale of New York.

The band forged a remarkable fusion of Irish folk and English punk, becoming what critics called “an unlikely meeting point between The Clancy Brothers and The Clash”.

In interviews, MacGowan was keen to stress that he was London-Irish (rather than Ireland-born). Such assertions of Irish ethnicity could be problematic in Eighties Britain, where anti-Irish prejudice had been intensified by the IRA’s bombing campaign. The Pogues were not initially well-received in Ireland, where their London-Irishness was viewed with a degree of wariness.

The band released a series of critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums, the best known of which is If I Should Fall from Grace with God (1988). The latter arguably marked the high point of MacGowan’s career, with the album’s lead single, Fairytale of New York (featuring a celebrated duet with the late Kirsty MacColl), reaching number two in the UK chart.

An enduring legacy

Such success would, however, come with a price. As Shane’s sister, Siobhan, later explained, the protracted worldwide tour that The Pogues undertook in 1988 “really changed him”. “He went away,” she recalled, “and he didn’t come back, not the Shane that I ever knew before”, citing his intensifying consumption of drink and drugs.

MacGowan’s performances became increasingly erratic, and in 1991 he was asked to leave the band. The singer made two albums with a new group, The Popes, in the 1990s, before The Pogues reformed – as a live band – in 2001, performing a series of highly successful concert tours until 2014.

MacGowan’s songs would continue to resonate powerfully with audiences and critics, prompting Ireland’s president, Michael D. Higgins, to present the singer with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. In that same year, Shane received an Ivor Novello Inspiration Award in London.

If, as seems likely, Shane MacGowan’s songs are sung for centuries to come, then we’d do well to recall their origins in – and echoes of – Ireland’s often overlooked diaspora in England.

Looking for something good? Cut through the noise with a carefully curated selection of the latest releases, live events and exhibitions, straight to your inbox every fortnight, on Fridays. Sign up here.The Conversation

Sean Campbell, Associate Professor of Media and Culture, Anglia Ruskin University

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

Avpals Training Term Four 2023 at Newport

Avpals are proud to present our training schedule for term 4 at the Newport Community Centre. You can now enrol online, make inquiries online, even pay online. Just remember that one-to-one spaces are often limited. We are complying with every aspect of Covid Care. Visit:

The timetable is below:

u3a at Newport Community Centre: coming up

About Our Courses and Activities
Sydney u3a comprises seven regions covering the greater Sydney metropolitan area. The local one is U3A Northern Beaches Region.

Sydney u3a is managed and run entirely by volunteers who contribute time and energy to provide life-long learning and social activities for everyone.  Join in to enjoy the benefits of membership!  At the one affordable annual membership fee of $85.00 (less than $2 per week), you’ll get:
  • access to a wide range of courses and presentations
  • friendly and inviting social events in your region

Members can attend any course in any of the seven regions
  • Volunteers lead and administer the courses and talks
  • A wide range of topics is covered – from learning foreign languages to table tennis to history to book/movie clubs to philosophy to science related issues. There’s something for everyone!
  • Courses are held in a variety of local venues and via Zoom
  • Events, visits, tours and social activities are also offered
  • Full details of activities are listed each semester in the Course Book and on individual regional pages
From time to time there are changes to course details after publication of the Course Book. Please keep checking your region’s website or the website home page for updates.

u3a Northern Beaches Region
Our current newsletter includes up to date information on courses, events and any changes to the program.  Previous newsletters are available here if you missed any information or wish to refresh your memory.

Please note:  The newsletter is distributed to members by email at the end of each month. If you haven’t received the latest copy please check as it may have been captured in your Junk email folder. If this is the case, please adjust your settings so that you receive future newsletters as soon as possible. We also take this opportunity to issue a friendly reminder to contact us with your updated details if you change your home or email address. Thank you.

Games Table Tennis
Every Thursday from 1:15 to 4:15
Main Hall
Table tennis stimulates physical and mental performance. We offer the opportunity to revive a dormant skill and to socialise with new friends in an air-conditioned venue that is ideal for year-round play.
Leader: Richard Hughes
Bookings: Ron Heald and Angela Gollmer

Every Monday from 12:30 to 2:00
Main Hall
Please book only one yoga class per week. Every class consists of basic yoga practice, breathing and
deep relaxation which will help improve joint mobility, increase muscle flexibility and bone density.
Teacher: Maryanne Deans Kolek
Leader: Susan Barnard
Bookings: Pamela Frei

Alternate Wednesdays from 8 Feb 1:30 to 4:00
Activity Rooms 1 and 2
Looking for fun and an enjoyable activity that extends you? Join our drama activities where you will meet new people and have fun along the way. We do drama to music, also mime, improvisation and roleplaying.
Leader: Helen Rosenkranz
Bookings: Claire Kennedy

Every Wednesday (except first Wed every month) from 8 Feb 2:00 to 3:30
Main Hall.
Reconnect with nature via this gentle, moving meditation originating in China. Relaxes the joints, aids digestion and sleep, calms the mind and gently tones and strengthens muscles. Work at your own level.
Suitable for most.

Leader: Penny Auburn
Bookings: Helen Howes

Pittwater RSL: Seniors Show + Lunch 2023

Our Seniors Shows are on every last Monday of month! LIVE in the auditorium. 
Two course luncheon in the Glasshouse PLUS a show special:  $20pp
Doors open from 10am for an 11am show.
BOOK TODAY! -  11.30-12.15pm

Nov 27th: Daniel T

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 ( 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

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

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

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

Our clubhouse is at Warriewood.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peninsula Bridge Club Facebook page:

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

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. 

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.

Pensioner water rebate

If you receive a pension, you may qualify for a rebate on your water bill. 

To be eligible, you’ll need a:
  • Pensioner Concession Card from Centrelink or Department of Veterans' Affairs, or
  • gold Health Card (also known as a gold card) that shows:
  • war widow
  • war widower
  • extreme disablement adjustment (EDA)
  • totally and temporarily incapacitated (TTI)
  • totally and permanently incapacitated (TPI).
You’ll also need to be the owner and occupier of one of the following:
  • single dwelling
  • dual occupancy
  • strata or company title unit
  • unit in a retirement village with a life term lease.
If you own the property with someone who isn't a pensioner, you may still get a rebate. This depends on your relationship with the other owner(s) and your eligibility.

Rebates are applied to each bill. 

You can claim your pensioner rebate by selecting your water supplier from the following list:


Contact Community Care Northern Beaches HERE

Profile Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA)
1842 Pittwater Rd, Bayview

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

 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:

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.


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.


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

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!
Avalon Beach Ladies Probus Club - Profile

Looking For New Members - Spring Into Spring - October 2023 is Probus Month - Theme This Year: Good Friends, Great Times, New Adventures.

Currently Avalon Beach Ladies Probus club is looking for new members - a great opportunity to spring into Spring by meeting up with wonderful local women for fun and friendship. Meets first Tuesday of every month at Club Palm Beach (Palm Beach RSL).

President Margaret White shares a few insights into this local ladies Probus club.

Computer Pals for Seniors: Northern BeachesTechnology made easy for Seniors

Have you ever struggled with the demands of modern technology? Come and join our friendly club and learn at your own pace. 

Computer Pals for Seniors Northern Beaches is here to help you master your device, be it Android/Apple tablets and phones, Apple/Microsoft/Chromebook laptops.

Each lesson is one-on-one for an hour each week during term times.

We are based at The Tramshed Arts & Community Centre, 1395a Pittwater Road, Narrabeen, close to the B-Line bus stop.

If you would like further information please contact Anne - Tel: 9984 0604 or email

Avalon Scottish Country Dancing

Avalon Rec. Centre
Thursday 3pm to 5pm
Most Saturdays 2pm to 4pm
(contact Margot Fenelon 0419 122 455 to confirm Saturday class)
COST:  $5 - first visit free
WHAT TO WEAR: Casual clothes and soft soled shoes

Pensioner's Concessions: Council Rates

Did you know that Pensioners are entitled to concessions on their Council Rates?

Concessions are available for eligible pensioners. To be an eligible pensioner you must receive a pension from either Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and be entitled to a pensioner concession card issued by the Commonwealth Government. You can only claim a concession on the property if it is the sole or principal place you live.

If you are eligible, you are entitled to:
  • Half of the total of your ordinary rates and domestic waste management service charge, up to a maximum of $250.
  • Half of your water rates or charges, up to a maximum of $87.50.
  • Half of your sewerage rates or charges, up to a maximum of $87.50.
To apply, you need to complete a pensioner concession application form. You can obtain these forms from your council - download our area's one HERE

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


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.

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.