March 26 - April 1  2023: Issue 577

A History Of Pittwater Part 4: West Head - West Head Fortress Remastered 2023

Published March 2023 by Pittwater Pathways, John Illingsworth

This 2023 version updated to include the flight of David Geer's Sea Rey light seaplane. Essential to the production it has become part of it. Definition and video stability is further improved.

The story of the WWII fortress at West Head up to March 1941, including the installation of the guns as told by the man who was there - Jack 'Bluey' Mercer. The history of Commodore Heights, attempts by speculators to subdivide Ku-ring-gai Chase and the building of the Hawkesbury River railway bridge. An over-arching strategic theme from 1882 onwards reveals how the defence of Pittwater, Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River railway bridge was essential to the war effort and the defence of Sydney.

We now know exactly what question the Voice referendum will ask Australians. A constitutional law expert explains

Anne Twomey, University of Sydney

The Albanese government has now released the formal wording of the proposed referendum it will introduce into parliament next week.

It had earlier released a draft proposed amendment at the Garma Festival last year, which was intended to start a debate on the wording. Since then, this wording has been the subject of intense discussion and debate in the Referendum Working Group, comprised of Indigenous representatives, which has been advising the government.

It has also been scrutinised by the Constitutional Expert Group, which has provided legal advice in response to questions raised by the Referendum Working Group.

Many other Australians have raised ideas and concerns in the media and in communications with the government, which have been the subject of analysis and deliberation.

What do the words say?

The wording of the proposed amendment will be as follows:

Chapter IX – Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice

In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:

(1) There shall be a body to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;

(2) The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

(3) The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.

What is new?

First, it is now clear this amendment will be placed in its own separate chapter at the end of the Constitution in a new section 129.

The title of the chapter makes clear it is directed at the “recognition” of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.

This recognition then flows through to some introductory words which form a preamble at the beginning of the section. These words provide “recognition” of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the “First Peoples of Australia”.

The terminology used is careful. It avoids the use of “First Nations”, which is politically more contentious and might have given rise to implications drawn from the term “Nation”.

The description “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples” is long-standing and well-accepted, and the statement that they were the First Peoples of Australia is one of fact and recognition.

The rest of the proposed amendment remains the same except for a minor alteration of words at the end of sub-section (3).

Importantly, the guaranteed ability of the Voice to make representations to the executive government remains.

However, concerns about this have been addressed by the alteration to sub-section (3).

The concern that had been raised was the High Court might draw an implication from sub-section (2) the representations by the Voice must be considered by government decision-makers before they can validly make a decision, potentially resulting in litigation and the delay of decision-making.

While this concern had little to no substance, there was a suggestion some words should be added to the end of sub-section (3) to make it abundantly clear it was a matter for parliament to decide what the legal effects of the Voice’s representations would be.

Parliament could make the decision that in some cases decision-makers would be obliged to consider representations first, but there would be no such obligation in relation to other types of decisions.

This has now been accommodated by a compromise set of words added to the end of sub-section (3).

These words say parliament can make laws with respect to “to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.”

The words “relating to” and “including” broaden the scope of this power.

They are intended to permit parliament to legislate about the effect of the Voice’s representations, so it is a matter for parliament to decide whether the representations of the Voice must be considered by decision-makers when making administrative decisions.

They are also intended to permit parliament to extend the powers and functions of the Voice as and when needed in the future.

The question on the ballot

The ballot paper never sets out the whole constitutional amendment, as in many cases, it would go for pages.

Instead, voters are asked to approve the proposed law, as it is described in its long title.

So the question put on the ballot will be set out as follows:

A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Do you approve of this alteration?

Voters then write Yes or No.

What now?

The amendment bill is intended to be introduced next week. When it is introduced, a parliamentary committee will be set up to allow the public to make their own submissions about the amendment.

Anyone who has concerns can have their voice heard by the committee and it remains possible that the committee might recommend alterations to the wording.

After the committee reports, the amendment bill will be debated in June and if passed, it will go to a referendum between two and six months after its passage. It will then be a matter for the people to decide.The Conversation

Anne Twomey, Professor emerita, University of Sydney

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

Applications now open for inaugural $10,000 Military History Prize

Applications are now open for the inaugural $10,000 Anzac Memorial Trustees Military History Prize – a new annual award within the prestigious NSW Premier’s History Awards.

Minister for Transport, Veterans and Western Sydney David Elliott said the establishment of the award highlighted the importance of recording our military history to honour and remember our veterans.

“Capturing our military history is vital in ensuring future generations are educated on the service and sacrifice of Australians in armed conflicts,” Mr Elliott said.

“This prize is not only an important acknowledgement of the work which is already being done to record the events and stories of those who served in conflict and peacekeeping missions but also provides an avenue for that work to be shared more widely.

“This is another step in ensuring the sacrifices of all those who have served in the defence forces and military operations continue to be profiled as part of the nation’s military history, so our veterans will not be forgotten.

“I encourage all historians with an interest in our military history to apply for this award as it will help future generations learn about and understand the bravery, dedication and legacy of our veterans,” Mr Elliott said.

The Military History Prize is for a work of non-fiction on the involvement of Australians in wars, campaigns, battles and/or peacekeeping operations which are represented in the Anzac Memorial’s Hall of Service. The Hall of Service displays 100 international sites of military significance for NSW service personnel from the 19th Century to more recent military operations.

In the Anzac spirit, the Prize is open to citizens and permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand. Entries close on 6 April with winners announced in September 2023. For more information visit: https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/awards/nsw-premiers-history-awards

AvPals One to One training at Avalon 2023: register now or in person + term 1 at newport 

Register Online
Add your name to the list of others interested in one-to-one training at Avalon for future school terms. Please complete the form at the link below. 

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.

Register in Person
ONE TO ONE registration mornings at the Avpal training rooms beneath the Maria Regina Catholic Church in Central Road, Avalon.

Dates - Times
  • Friday April 14th, 2023, 9.30am-11am
  • Friday July 7th, 2023, 9.30am-11am
  • Friday 29th September 2023, 8.30am-11am

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 https://wheresdot.wixsite.com/nbpdsupportgroup

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: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1063258404504502

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:

Bilgola Probus Club

The Bilgola 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.

To find out more, please contact our President, Patricia Ryan on 0438 281 573. 


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 www.mindspot.org.au/course/wellbeing-plus  


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

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.

 COTA – NSW - cotansw.com.au

ABOUT US

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.

WIND, BRASS AND PERCUSSION PLAYERS!!!!!

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.

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:

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

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.


 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

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

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. 

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

Seniors Toy Repair Group needs your help

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

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


Aged Care Complaints Commissioner 

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

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

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

________________________________________

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

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

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

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



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

Seniors call for fairer pension indexation

March 23, 2023
National Seniors Australia’s federal budget submission calls for more frequent indexation to lift the pension during times of high inflation. But that’s just the start.

As the independent voice of older Australians, National Seniors Australia calls on the federal government to use the 2023 budget to give seniors the confidence to save and spend. 

Older Australians contribute the economy, but with inflation above 7%, market volatility and rising cost of living, the government would do well to boost seniors’ confidence. 

As part of our ongoing advocacy, we have put forward 12 key policies to help older Australians help build a better nation. 

One of the most important things governments can do is strengthen the retirement income system and address pension poverty. 

That is why we are calling on the government to provide for more regular indexation of the pension during times of high inflation, rather than every six months as is currently the case. 

We believe increases in inflation and cost of living should be factored into pension payment recalibrations in June or December. This will help stop those on the Age Pension from falling behind when it comes to meeting day-to-day living costs. 

We also call for improvements to rent assistance for pensioners facing difficulty with rising housing costs. Ultimately, an Independent Pension Tribunal would be the best way to regularly assess and set pensions and other government payments. 

Such a tribunal would take the politics out of the pension! 

As we have been proposing for many years, government should do more to help older people help themselves by taking the handbrake off and reforming the rules around work. While we welcomed the temporary $4,000 increase to the Work Bonus, the government should reform income test rules so there is no disincentive for pensioners to work more if they need to.

Industries, including health, aged care and agriculture would benefit from our policy and the resulting injection of much needed workers.

Pensioners would retain more of their payments when working, to encourage greater workforce participation to fill labour shortages. 

Further aged care reform
Speaking of workers, we are calling for a traineeship scheme so mature-age workers can fill the many vacancies in home care. As one provider recently told us, he was not willing to take on new home-care clients unless he can be sure there will be workers to deliver these services. 

Another important focus of our budget submission is the need for housing. Unless there are incentives to downsize, and the construction of age-suitable housing, many older Australians will either remain in unsuitable and potentially unsafe homes or be forced into residential care. 

That’s why we are calling for proceeds from the sale of the family home to be exempt from the pension assets test. We also propose a capital grants scheme to fund rental housing and smaller-scale residential care homes.  

Also, a more generous dedicated home-care loans scheme that allows older people to fund additional health care and support services would enable them to stay in their homes for longer.

Major costly reforms to the aged care system are underway and there is a need to ensure taxpayer monies are well spent and not subject to petty politics. We believe the establishment of an independent expert body can achieve this. The body would assess the fairest and most efficient way to fund the many reforms that will roll out over coming years.

Future generations
While there is, as always, a big focus on what government can do for you, we are conscious many of you want to know what you can do for others.

That’s why we continue to advocate for clean energy bonds to give older Australians a way to invest safely in the solutions required to meet our emissions targets. Interestingly, this policy aligns with the Treasurer’s recent calls for greater investment in social and environmental projects, so we hope this might get some attention. 

Lastly, pension gifting limits should be lifted to encourage more seniors to help younger people meet housing and education costs. 

To find out more details about these policies, download our full budget submission here

Government states New Bill Increases Aged Care Transparency

March 22, 2023
The Federal Government has today introduced key legislation to further drive transparency and accountability across the aged care sector.

Once passed, the Inspector-General of Aged Care Bill will establish an independent body with coercive information gathering powers to review the Commonwealth’s administration and regulation of the aged care system.

The bill will give the Inspector-General the necessary powers to investigate systemic issues across the aged care system, including complaints management processes.

The Inspector-General will report findings and recommendations to Government, to Parliament, and to the public, to facilitate positive change for older Australians.

The Inspector-General will also have powers to report on the Government’s implementation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s recommendations.

Importantly, the Inspector-General will operate autonomously, at arm’s length from the Australian Government.

Ian Yates AM will continue as interim Inspector-General pending legislation passage and the appointment of a permanent Inspector-General is expected in the second half of this year.

Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells stated;

“The Albanese Government is ambitious for aged care and demands accountability and transparency from the sector.

“The Inspector-General of Aged Care Bill will establish an independent Inspector-General of Aged Care, who will monitor and investigate the Commonwealth’s administration and regulation of the aged care system.

“This Bill reinforces the Albanese Government’s commitment to hold ourselves to the same high standards that we expect of the sector.”

Older Australians’ health put at risk by lack of government action on dental care

March 20, 2023
The oral health of older Australians is being put at risk by a lack of government action on dental care for at risk older people as part of Medicare, the Council on the Ageing – Australia’s leading advocate for older Australians – says.

Marking World Oral Health Day, COTA Chief Executive Officer, Patricia Sparrow, says it’s time for the Federal Government to improve access to dental care by developing a publicly funded senior dental health program bulk billed through Medicare.

“A lack of government action is resulting in many older Australians being forced to deal with long-lasting health consequences due to a lack of affordable and accessible dental care,” says Patricia Sparrow.

“One of the key recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission was the introduction of a publicly funded senior dental scheme, but we’re still yet to see meaningful action on its introduction.

“It is not just a matter of cosmetic appearance; oral health is an essential measure of overall health and quality of life. Good oral health is vital to overall health and well-being, yet many older Australians face challenges accessing basic dental health services.

“We need locally available, affordable and accessible dental care so people have the ability to get their oral health needs met before they spiral out of control.

“We see too many older Australians getting sick and ending up in hospitals because they cannot afford to see a dentist. They are often forced to live with toothache, missing teeth, and other oral health problems that make eating, speaking, and going about their daily lives difficult.

“For those lucky enough to access a public dental clinic, treatment wait times can last over two years, and services are limited to essential treatments. These problems were further amplified due to the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis.

“The time to invest in a national dental program is now. We need to see the government develop a publicly funded senior dental health program, bulk billed through Medicare. In the first instance, the scheme should target those who need it most – older people on low incomes, all people living in a residential aged care home or receiving a home care package.

“A Senior Dental Benefits Schedule will prove an immeasurable investment for the Government, improving the dental and overall health of older Australians whilst reducing the overall long-term costs created by the lack of access to dental care.

“It was a Labor Government that delivered the Children’s Dental Benefit Scheme. Now it’s time to protect older Australians’ oral health too.”

Why is my loved one with dementia sometimes ‘there’ and sometimes not?

Shutterstock
Yen Ying Lim, Monash University

Dementia is an umbrella term to describe a progressive neurological condition that affects people’s cognitive abilities, such as memory, language and reasoning.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form, but other common forms include vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia and frontotemporal dementia.

It’s not uncommon for people living with dementia to experience fluctuations in their cognitive abilities and levels of awareness.

People living with dementia can sometimes be fully “present”, knowing who is around them, where they are, and what’s happening. And then other times they may be confused, disorientated, unaware of their surroundings and unfamiliar with loved ones.

These fluctuations can be distressing for caregivers, who never know what to expect from one day to the next.

What causes these fluctuations in awareness?

Several factors can contribute to cognitive fluctuations in people living with dementia. Environmental factors, such as changes in routine or new surroundings, can cause confusion and disorientation.

Fatigue can also play an important role. Tiredness, even in young adults, has known negative effects on a person’s attention and learning ability. This can be much more pronounced in older adults and people living with dementia.

Old man and woman crossing the road
Changes to someone’s environment can affect their lucidity. pexels/jimmy chan, CC BY

Certain medications used to treat dementia and other related health conditions can also have an impact on a person’s cognitive function.

For example, some medications used to treat depression or anxiety can cause confusion or disorientation, especially in older adults.

Finally, time of day can play an important role in cognitive fluctuations.

People living with dementia often experience “sundowning”, where they can become more agitated or confused in the late afternoon or evening. Sundowning can also lead to pacing or wandering in people living with dementia.

Some scientists think this might be due to changes in the area of the brain that controls the “inner clock”, which signals when we’re awake or asleep. This breakdown can lead to confusion.

Patients with dementia will also often experience a period of lucidity in the week leading up to death. Science still isn’t quite sure why this happens, and studies are ongoing.

Do we know what’s happening in the brain?

The neurobiology that underpins these cognitive fluctuations remains unclear. However, dementia is caused by damage to brain cells and the connections between them.

In Alzheimer’s disease, this gradual deterioration of brain cells begins first in the memory centres of the brain, and gradually spreads to regions that govern attention and awareness.

Changes in the brain’s “default mode network” may also result in these fluctuations. The default mode network is a network of brain regions that remains active when a person is not engaged or focused on any task. It’s thought to help with remembering, developing our concept of the self, and thinking about the future.

This network is active during our “resting state”. In people living with dementia, the default mode network is disrupted and this can lead to changes in cognition and self-awareness.

Is there anything that can help?

Despite the challenges associated with cognitive fluctuations in people living with dementia, scientists have found behavioural interventions can provide some relief.

For example, a review of music therapy studies demonstrated music can improve mood and memory outcomes in people living with dementia.

Listening to familiar music can also help to maintain a sense of self and stimulate autobiographical memories in people living with dementia.

Some scientists think this may be because music can help regulate the default mode network, which is crucial for the processing of information about ourselves.

Old man playing records
Music has been found to improve mood and memory in dementia patients. pexels/cottonbro studio, CC BY

What to do if your loved one isn’t “there”

When visiting your loved one with dementia, it’s important to use short sentences, make eye contact, minimise distractions (such as TV or radio playing loudly in the background), and not interrupt them.

If your loved one with dementia is agitated, it’s important to listen calmly to their concerns and frustrations. Challenging them can often lead to them becoming more agitated.

Changes in behaviour or emotional state of a person living with dementia can be very stressful for the person, and their loved ones and caregivers. These changes in behaviour may be a result of changes in the brain. But often they can also be a result of frustration in the person’s reduced ability to communicate as effectively as they once did.

There are a range of tips to reduce cognitive fluctuations in people living with dementia. These include limiting caffeine intake, exposing them to natural light during the day and warmer lighting in the evening, and getting sufficient physical activity.

However, cognitive fluctuations in people living with dementia are a complex and challenging aspect of the disease. And while some behavioural interventions, such as music therapy, can provide temporary improvements in mood and memory, dementia is a terminal illness.

There are now several drugs that hold promise for slowing memory decline in people with Alzheimer’s. However, the effects are small, and much more research is needed to better understand and treat this devastating disease.

If you have a family history of dementia and are interested in learning how to reduce your dementia risk by changing health behaviours, please join us at the BetterBrains Trial. We are currently recruiting Australians aged 40-70 with a family history of dementia.The Conversation

Yen Ying Lim, Associate Professor, Monash University

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

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


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

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. 

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

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.

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

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
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!

 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

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

AvPals 

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

Profile

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

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. 


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

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!

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

Also:
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

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

The Senior Newspaper Online 

HERE

On facebook

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

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.