March 21 - 27, 2021: Issue 488

Singing Together While Apart Abendruhe

Cantiamo Choir Sung by Cantiamo as part of their "Singing Together While Apart" series, the song "Abendruhe" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart evokes the tranquillity of a quiet evening.

COVID-19 is a “serious risk” to 80% of older Australians

March 16, 2021
At least 80 per cent of Australians aged over 70 years are at high risk of serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19, according to a new study led by the University of South Australia.

People with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are more vulnerable to poor outcomes if they contract COVID-19 and having more than one of these conditions increases the risks. 

The study, published in the Australian Journal of General Practice, involved 103,422 Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) clients. It revealed that more than 80 per cent had at least one risk factor for COVID-19, half of them had two risk factors, and 20 per cent had more than three risk factors, including immune-related diseases and diabetes.

Of the older Australians living in the community – who comprised 88 per cent of the study participants – the most common condition was high blood pressure followed by heart disease.  Those living in residential aged care (RAC), had slightly lower rates of high blood pressure but had higher rates of heart disease, respiratory conditions, and kidney disease. 

Lead author Associate Professor Nicole Pratt, Deputy Director of the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre at UniSA, says the findings align with evidence from other countries where patients have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

“In the US for example, 70 per cent of older patients admitted for COVID-19 in the past year had high blood pressure, 43 per cent had diabetes and 29 per cent suffered from cardiopulmonary diseases,” Assoc Prof Pratt says.

“A quarter of the older Australians that we studied live with an autoimmunity condition like cancer or may be taking medicines that suppress their immune systems and one in five has diabetes.  These conditions carry a far higher risk for COVID-19 than some other conditions.”

The latest statistics released by the Federal Government show that of the 904 Australians who have died of COVID-19, 94 per cent of them are aged 70 years and older.

Since the study was completed, the Government has started rolling out the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia’s most vulnerable and frontline workers, including 30,000 aged care residents and staff across the country.

“Our findings highlight the urgent need for older Australians to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible,” Assoc Prof Pratt says.

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility dates are available from:

Ageism is a global challenge: UN

March 19, 2021
Every second person in the world is believed to hold ageist attitudes – leading to poorer physical and mental health and reduced quality of life for older persons, costing societies billions of dollars each year, according to a new United Nations report on ageism.

The report released today by WHO, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), calls for urgent action to combat ageism and better measurement and reporting to expose ageism for what it is – an insidious scourge on society.

The response to control the COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled just how widespread ageism is – older and younger people have been stereotyped in public discourse and on social media. In some contexts, age has been used as the sole criterion for access to medical care, lifesaving therapies and for physical isolation.

“As countries seek to recover and rebuild from the pandemic, we cannot let age-based stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination limit opportunities to secure the health, well-being and dignity of people everywhere,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This report outlines the nature and scale of the problem but also offers solutions in the form of evidence-based interventions to end ageism at all stages.”

Findings from the report
Ageism seeps into many institutions and sectors of society including those providing health and social care, in the workplace, media and the legal system. Healthcare rationing based solely on age is widespread.  A systematic review in 2020 showed that in 85 per cent of 149 studies, age determined who received certain medical procedures or treatments.

Both older and younger adults are often disadvantaged in the workplace and access to specialized training and education decline significantly with age. Ageism against younger people manifests across many areas such as employment, health, housing and politics where younger people’s voices are often denied or dismissed. 

“Ageism towards younger and older people is prevalent, unrecognized, unchallenged and has far-reaching consequences for our economies and societies,” said Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “Together, we can prevent this. Join the movement and combat ageism.” 

Ageism has serious and wide-ranging consequences for people’s health and well-being. Among older people, ageism is associated with poorer physical and mental health, increased social isolation and loneliness, greater financial insecurity, decreased quality of life and premature death. An estimated 6.3 million cases of depression globally are estimated to be attributable to ageism.  It intersects and exacerbates other forms of bias and disadvantage including those related to sex, race and disability leading to a negative impact on people’s health and well-being.

“The pandemic has put into stark relief the vulnerabilities of older people, especially those most marginalized, who often face overlapping discrimination and barriers – because they are poor, live with disabilities, are women living alone, or belong to minority groups,” said Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund. “Let’s make this crisis a turning point in the way we see, treat and respond to older people, so that together we can build the world of health, well-being and dignity for all ages that we all want."

Ageism costs our societies billions of dollars. In the United States of America (USA), a 2020 study showed ageism in the form of negative age stereotypes and self-perceptions led to excess annual costs of US$63 billion for the eight most expensive health conditions. This amounts to US$1 in every US$7 spent on these conditions for all Americans over the age of 60 for one year (see note to editors).

Estimates in Australia suggest that if 5 per cent more people aged 55 or older were employed, there would be a positive impact of AUD$48 billion on the national economy annually. There are currently limited data and information on the economic costs of ageism and more research is needed to better understand its economic impact, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

“Ageism harms everyone – old and young. But often, it is so widespread and accepted – in our attitudes and in policies, laws and institutions – that we do not even recognize its detrimental effect on our dignity and rights said Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “We need to fight ageism head-on, as a deep-rooted human rights violation.”

Combatting ageism
The report notes that policies and laws that address ageism, educational activities that enhance empathy and dispel misconceptions, and intergenerational activities that reduce prejudice all help decrease ageism.

All countries and stakeholders are encouraged to use evidence-based strategies, improve data collection and research and work together to build a movement to change how we think, feel and act towards age and ageing, and to advance progress on the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing.

Read or download the The Global report on ageism.

'A lot of us can relate to struggling to keep on top of everything.' This is what mature-age students need from online higher education

Ameena Leah Payne, Swinburne University of Technology

“I completed high school 20 years ago and wanted a ‘little break’ before furthering my study. That ‘little break’ was extended as my family grew. Life happened, and I never quite found the right time to keep my promise to myself to go to uni – until now!”

“This is my first teaching period in uni. I’m 36 years old. I live with my wife and two very active kids. When I’m not being a chef, cleaner and taxi driver (you know the list), I’m working as a learning support officer at our local school. I haven’t written an academic essay in over 15 years!”

These are common introductions of my mature-age students. They often share their family backgrounds, nervousness, excitement and responsibilities they have to juggle as they begin their uni journey. In sharing, they “feel a sense of solidarity seeing others post about their concerns”, as one student put it.

National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE)

Students in general say a critical issue in the shift to online higher education has been a lack of adequate support, interaction and engagement with academic staff and peers.

More than 430,000 students are aged 25 years and older. That’s 39.1% of the total domestic higher education enrolment, and mature-age students account for 22% of first-year undergraduates.

Mature-age, online students are identified as the most vulnerable to not completing their degree. That happens to about 43% of them compared to 30% of those aged 20 to 24 and 21% for students who enrol straight out of school.

Given the inconsistent completion outcomes for mature-age students compared to younger and on-campus students, a different approach is needed. This means universities must take account of the particular needs and circumstances of mature-age students.

“I think a lot of us can relate to the idea of struggling to keep on top of everything.”

Who are these students?

Mature age” refers to adults who enter their course based on work experience or who have not studied recently. They are more likely to have responsibility for others and be in the paid workforce.

Growing numbers of students are entering fully online higher education. And students 25 years and older are more strongly represented in online studies than face-to-face studies.

A 2019 study of mature-age learners highlighted the following challenges of studying online:

  • uncertainty in abilities leading to a “narrative of disadvantage” and a feeling of stepping into a space where they feel they do not belong

  • first-year, mature-age students consider withdrawing from their studies at higher rates

  • enrolment in university may be rooted in previous negative educational experiences – traditionally, the status quo in higher education has not served students at the margins.

Chart showing diversity of higher education students
DESE 2019 Higher Education Statistics, CC BY

Online teaching compounds existing weaknesses

In the shift to online, many education providers are making the same mistakes by continuing with impersonal teaching methods. Students aged 25 and over rate engagement as the least satisfactory aspect of their online courses.

Active engagement tends to drop off as the teaching period progresses. (The proxy measures of “engagement” are active presence and involved participation.)

Further, education has commonly had an emphasis on subordination. Cue the “domineering teacher” portrayed by antagonist Terence Fletcher in the 2014 film Whiplash. One-way information transmission and an expectation of passive knowledge acquisition have overshadowed relationships between teaching staff and students.

The challenge, then, is to start off in a way that develops a culture of trust, collegiality, openness and contribution.

‘It resonates!’ Recognising experiences and skills

Mature-age students are starting online higher education with a variety of aptitudes, knowledge, opinions and values. These backgrounds affect how students engage with and construe information. The online experience should encourage connection, active participation and critical thinking.

The language of education is shifting to incorporate students as “stakeholders”, “co-constructors” and “active participants”. Such terms have a powerful effect.

In 1930, psychologist and educational reformer John Dewey advocated for empowering learners by honouring their lived experiences and capabilities. Reforms of the 1960s and ‘70s began shifting education toward autonomy, allowing for reflection, independence and flexibility. More recent geopolitical movements, driven by social media, are, once again, prompting an upturn in education that emphasises discussion, openness and independent thought.

It’s essential that these themes be re-created in today’s digital learning environments.

“You made me feel like I am not alone in this. I was anxious and afraid that I won’t be able to keep up.”

Emerging from the 2019 study of mature-age students were several key recommendations:

  1. understand and value the circumstances and experiences of this cohort

  2. communication and personal contact are vital

  3. embed timely, proactive support.

In such environments, educators must be given the time to get to know their students’ situations and experiences. They can then reach out to support them. In essence, Dewey argued for educators to meet learners where they are, wherever that may be.

“I have felt I was always able to contact you and receive helpful advice. It means a lot – especially for newcomers like me!”

These suggestions are in line with the findings and recommendations of the recent Macklin Review of post-secondary education and training in Victoria. Times of growth and uncertainty call for greater adaptability, empathy and innovation. This will feed into student retention, progression and ultimately an undergraduate qualification.

To government and institutions: online education, and of mature-age students in particular, must be approached differently. Education can only act as the great social equaliser if the growing cohort of mature-age students are engaged and supported to reach their academic goals.

To current and emerging mature-age learners: well done to you! You are seen and being heard.The Conversation

Ameena Leah Payne, eLearning Advisor, Swinburne University of Technology

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

Premiers Gala Concert tickets on sale

Aussie pop icons Human Nature will perform their greatest hits at the 2021 Premier's Gala Concerts on 21 and 22 April. These Aussie pop icons and ARIA Hall Of Fame inductees, Human Nature, will be performing their Motown classics, Pop Hits and much more.

These special performances will see the much loved pop vocal group ignite the stage with music from across their hugely successful, three decade career. This group have earned their place as one of the world’s finest pop-vocal groups of the modern era, releasing 13 studio albums, 4 of which went to no. 1 in Australia, and garnering five top 10 hits worldwide.

In 2021 the concerts will be held on Wednesday 21 April and Thursday 22 April at Aware Super Theatre, ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour.
A second release of tickets will be available on 17 March.

Tickets for the 2021 concerts are available from 9am, Wednesday 24 February via Ticketek: 
Accessible Bookings: 
Call:1300 130 613 (Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm) 
Tickets are free but bookings are required. 

In Our Nature
The theme for the the 2021 NSW Seniors Festival is In Our Nature.

During challenging times, it's in our nature to connect. Whether it's online, or out in the sunshine, NSW Seniors Festival is a chance to come together.

This year the NSW Seniors Festival will have lots of ways for you to join in, both online, and at COVID-safe activities. Visit their website in the coming weeks to find out more.

The 2021 NSW Seniors Festival will run 13 - 24 April. 

NSW Seniors Festival 2021

NSW Seniors Festival will run 13 - 24 April 2021

This year’s theme is ‘In our nature’.

The Comedy Show at Sydney Town Hall

The annual Comedy Show at Sydney Town Hall will be held on Tuesday 13 April 2021.

Tickets are free but limited. They will go on sale in early 2021.

Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when they go on sale.

NSW Seniors Expo

The NSW Seniors Festival Expo is an annual free and fun event. Featuring over 60 exhibitors, live stage entertainment and plenty of games, giveaways and workshops, the Expo has all the latest information on travel, lifestyle, health, services and more.

Register for Visitor Tickets

When: Wednesday 21 April 2021, 9am – 6pm and Thursday 22 April 2021, 9am – 6pm

Where: Hall 4, Exhibition Centre, International Convention Centre, Sydney.

2021 Seniors Card Directory

NSW Seniors Card is pleased to provide members with the 2021 Seniors Card Directory, your guide to the best discounts and special offers from thousands of participating businesses across the state.

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

To download your copy, please click the links below:

Copies of the directory are also available for pickup from Australia Post Outlets, Service NSW Centres, MP Offices as well as participating local Councils and Libraries.

Live Life Get Active

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

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

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

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Computer Pals for Seniors: Northern Beaches

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

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

NSW Seniors Website: Crosswords, Puzzles & Games

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

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

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

council has a Home Library Service Available for Seniors

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

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

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

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

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

Apply for the $200 Seniors Energy Rebate

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

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

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

Note: Gas accounts are not eligible for the rebate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you have any questions - email us at:


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

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

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

Keep up to date on our Facebook page

Find out more at:

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

 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:

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.

Country Pensioner Excursion ticket: NSW Public Transport

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

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

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

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

Seniors Toy Repair Group needs your help

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

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

Learn Something New: Australia MOOCs And Free Online Courses

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

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.

Warringah - Pittwater Headquarters Rural Fire Brigade Life Membership

March 17, 2021
At tonight's General Meeting, Headquarters Brigade awarded an outstanding 50 year continuous service to one of our HQ Life Members.

Allan Brett has been a member of HQ since he joined the Bushfire Service (Now NSW Rural Fire Service) in 1971. AB has been instrumental in helping Warringah/Pittwater RFD go from strength to strength and has had an operational role in every local, Statewide and Interstate emergency since joining. We as a brigade are lucky to have such a wealth of knowledge here to help us. 

Congratulations Allan and here's to another 50 years.

assistance to pay your aged care costs

March 19 2021
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

Sleep maximises vaccine effectiveness

March 16, 2021
With the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines now underway, University of South Australia sleep experts are urging people to reprioritise their sleep, as getting regular and sufficient sleep is known to boost your immune system.

In Australia, four in every ten people suffer from a lack of sleep. Globally, around 62 per cent of adults  feel that they don’t sleep well when they go to bed. 

UniSA sleep and fatigue researcher, Dr Raymond Matthews, says sleep is an essential factor for maintaining good health and wellbeing, especially during the pandemic.

“At the moment, we’re all very focussed on staying healthy – sanitising our hands and keeping socially distanced – but what many people forget is that sleep plays an essential role in our overall health,” Dr Matthews says.

“Sleep plays a vital role in our body’s immune system. When we get enough sleep, our white blood cells can more efficiently fight invading bacteria or viruses. But when we cut back on sleep, the reverse happens, our white blood cells are reduced, and we end up with a compromised immune system.

“For example, one laboratory study, restricted sleep of healthy participants to four hours a night for six nights before administration of an influenza vaccine. Up to 10 days later, the sleep-deprived individuals possessed half the number of vaccine antibodies than the non-sleep-deprived controls.

“Understanding the importance of sleep is critically important, especially now, as Australia starts to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

“We’re urged to get at least eight hours of sleep a night, but with the daily pressures of work, school, and family life, it’s often too easy to sacrifice.

“If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, there are things you can do:
  1. choose light, rather than heavy meals in the evening
  2. keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet
  3. avoid bright light in the evening – especially light from phones and devices – and make sure you get enough sunlight in the morning
  4. exercise during the day
  5. avoiding cigarettes, caffeine, and alcohol.
“Having a relaxing a bedtime routine can help. This could include turning the TV off earlier, or reading a book in bed, but really, it’s whatever makes you feel calm and comfortable.

“Of course, if you find you just can't sleep, sometimes it’s best to get up and do something relaxing until you start to feel tired.

“These times are no doubt challenging, but sound sleep is something we should all prioritise, especially during COVID-19.”

WHO Global Report on Ageism right at home in Australia

March 19, 2021
COTA Australia says the WHO Global report on Ageism released today, which highlights the prevalence of ageism globally and makes key recommendations for how to combat it, is as relevant in Australia as it is anywhere else in the world.

The report finds that 1 in 2 people worldwide are ageist against older people and that this impacts on older people’s life span, income, poorer physical and mental health, slower recovery from disability and cognitive decline.

“This report also shows just how pervasive ageism is in our society. We see it in our workplaces, in our health care system and of course we’ve seen it rife throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.” Ian Yates, Chief Executive of COTA Australia said.

“When older people are undervalued, we all miss out, as individuals, as communities, and as an economy. The hidden costs of ageism and age discrimination in employment, health care and other areas is enormous, and the WHO Report calls for more research, education and legislation to understand and combat this scourge.

“We would all benefit from living in a nation that fully harnesses the experience and contributions of all its people, including all older people. Our economy would grow significantly, and people’s health and well-being would increase across the lifespan.

“Making and end to ageism a global priority through the UN, WHO and other international agencies is overdue, but very welcome. It underscores the need for both cultural and policy change to put an end to ageism right across the globe.

COTA is a leading member of the Every Age Counts coalition, a national campaign which aims to tackle ageism against older people in Australia, which the is praised by the WHO Report..

“Every person has a role to play in stopping ageism. We need governments, businesses, civil organisations and every single person in the country to put an end to ageism, starting now.”

Viewpoint On Sydney

Published by NFSA March 15, 2021
From the Film Australia Collection. Made by Film Australia 1975. Directed by Arch Nicholson. 
The city of Sydney, New South Wales, as seen through the eyes of European migrants. People see cities with different eyes. While most cities in the world have big buildings and lots of people there are many facets of city life that may appeal or be repellents - especially to the newcomer. This series of films on Australian capital cities presents the views of migrants who have settled down to live in them. What they see and what they say about Australia's main cities is of interest and value to both the native born city dweller and to the intending migrant.

Aged care respite services bolstered for culturally diverse groups

March 16, 2021
Older Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse communities across the country are set to access more tailored respite care.

The Federal Government will fund an additional $9.67 million per year over two years through the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the funding would support culturally and linguistically diverse senior Australians to live independently and safely in their own homes and local communities and provide respite for carers.

“Forty aged and disability care providers will deliver the additional centre‑based respite services to older Australians from multicultural communities, including those from Chinese, Italian, Greek, Polish, Russian and Indian backgrounds, to name a few,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Importantly, the Government is directing the extra funding to those areas in most need across the country – where there are service gaps and the highest level of demand.”

Centre‑based respite services can include group activities to help ease isolation and encourage social interaction, group excursions, and meals. Carers and family members can take part in the activities or leave the older person in the care of the provider.

“Social isolation was – and is – a very real problem for older Australians during the pandemic,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Language barriers and cultural differences have made it even harder for people from diverse backgrounds.

“It’s important the additional services on offer focus on tailored support and programs that are suited to the needs of these seniors, and the needs of their communities.”

To access services, older Australians will need to contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 and arrange for a formal assessment of their care needs.

Service providers are required to be as responsive as possible to requests from older Australians and their carers for short-term or non-ongoing respite.

Phantom of the Opera coming to Opera House: Tickets on Sale in April

Sydney Opera House will be cloaked in the magic and mystery of Broadway’s longest running musical, The Phantom of the Opera, when it opens in September.

The NSW Government has secured an eight-week season of the global sensation for the Harbour City through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. 

The Phantom will be played by Australian star Josh Piterman who was playing the role in London when the pandemic closed theatres globally.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the musical would play an important role in the state’s ongoing road to recovery.

“Musicals and theatre productions are a major contributor to the NSW visitor economy, which is why we have been working with Health and the live performance community to get this important sector back up and thriving.

“The Phantom of the Opera is a cultural icon and we anticipate that this upcoming season at Sydney Opera House will attract more than 10,000 visitors who stay more than 25,000 nights and spend close to $6.14 million.

“We are delighted to have secured this significant coup for Sydney, which also reinforces our vision of positioning Sydney and NSW as the premier events destination of the Asia Pacific,” Mr Ayres said.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said it would be the first time a professional season of the musical had been performed on an Australian stage since 2009.

“The Phantom of the Opera has captivated audiences worldwide since it opened in London’s West End in 1986 and then Broadway in 1988 - evidenced by the many accolades it has won including four Olivier Awards and seven Tony Awards.

“Whether you are a musical theatre fan or occasional theatregoer, The Phantom of the Opera is a must-see favourite, and we are incredibly excited to welcome visitors to Sydney for its sought after Australian return,” Mr Harwin said.

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and Producer Cameron Mackintosh said, “We are thrilled to be bringing this exciting new production to Australia. The show has already proved a sensational box office success on National tours across the UK and the US.

“It is a great delight to us both that a new production which has a totally original take on our beloved Phantom has been embraced with as much enthusiasm as the brilliant original.”

Opera Australia, in association with The Really Useful Group, will present Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of The Phantom of the Opera at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, from 2 September to 29 October 2021. Tickets go on sale in April 2021.

AvPals 2021 

Avpals are pleased to announce that our very popular group training seminars are resuming at the Newport Community Centre from the beginning of Term ONE in 2021. 

Details of these courses APPEAR HERE and we invite you to join up as soon as possible. You can also read much more about the term’s courses HERE. We now offer the option to reserve and pay online using our secure credit card facility. Due to the additional Covid 19 restrictions above and beyond the government’s requirements, we have severely rationed the numbers that can attend.

Find out more at:

Helping seniors stay social

Community organisations that help seniors stay social and connected can now apply for a share in the $600,000 NSW Reducing Social Isolation grants program.

Acting Minister for Seniors Kevin Anderson said grants of up to $60,000 are available for projects that help our seniors stay connected.

“It is in the best interests of our seniors and the community that this generation remains as active and socially engaged as possible,” Mr Anderson said.

“The NSW Government is investing in innovative projects that encourage seniors to participate in their communities.

“We’re looking for local, community driven projects and activities that bring seniors together, particularly initiatives that actively engage seniors who are harder to reach.

“When seniors are healthy and active the whole community benefits.”

Initiatives that received funding in last year’s Combatting Social Isolation for Seniors During COVID-19 grants program include social networks focused on sustainable gardening; dance classes delivered online or over the phone; and, a call centre to co-ordinate requests such as pre-cooked meals and warm clothing for the elderly.

The projects and initiatives are aimed at people 65 years and older, or 50 years and older for Aboriginal people who are socially isolated or are at risk of becoming so.

Social inclusion is a key priority of the Ageing Well in NSW: Seniors Strategy 2021–2031.

Applications are open until 31 March 2021. For more information or to apply, please click here.

Would you like to improve your health & wellbeing?

You are invited to participate in a free University of Sydney research study promoting healthy ageing with yoga.

The ‘Successful AGEing (SAGE) yoga trial’ aims to measure the effect of two yoga programs on falls and other measures of health and wellbeing.

If you decide to take part in this research, you will be randomly allocated to one of the yoga programs, both of which are taught online via the freely available Zoom app. Participation is for 12 months and is free.

To be eligible you need to be aged 60 years or older; living independently in the community; not currently participating in yoga and healthy enough to be physically active.

Contact us for more information - Email:

Australian Government Dept. of Health: Hearing Devices for Seniors

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

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

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

Media Releases concerning Seniors this week from National Seniors Australia

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

NLA Ebooks - Free To Download

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

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

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

 Australian Ageing Agenda

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

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

Have a look at their comprehensive website HERE

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

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

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

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

Our programs cover:

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

Visit our website for more at:  and on Facebook:

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

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

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

Our clubhouse is at Warriewood.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peninsula Bridge Club Facebook page:

My Aged Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community Connect

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

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

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

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

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

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

Know Your Bones

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

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

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

You can take the assessment here:



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

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

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

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

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


Contact Community Care Northern Beaches HERE


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

The Senior Newspaper Online 


On facebook

NLA Ebooks - Free To Download

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

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

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


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.

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.