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COTA life

Advancing the rights, needs and interests of Queenslanders as they age

Edition 28

15 November 2016


• Report from the 59th Annual General Meeting
• COTA Queensland & U3A Network Queensland sign historic MoU
• From the Chief Executive – How we are representing you
• New faces
• Seniors Peak Service – Queensland Government Older Peoples Investment Specifications
• Become a Peer Educator with COTA today
• Your Wellbeing, Your Plan – Book now for 2017
• Planning Ahead: Let’s Talk – New COTA Queensland information session
• Peer Educators shining the light on electricity market changes
• Last chance to have a session on Consumer Directed Care and Aged Care reforms
• Older CALD volunteers make a valuable contribution
• Puppy training program offers seniors a new ‘leash’ on life
• Strengthening Communities Volunteer Grants 2016
• A Human Rights Act for Queensland
• Aged Care Reform – Update
• Clarity on Refundable Accommodation Deposit loans
• NDIS Champions ready and willing to work
• Affordable ticket prices unveiled for GC2018
• U3A Online
• Welcome to the Radio COTA Podcast – November series
• Technology to improve your sleep 
• How you can contribute
• A United Kingdom – Complimentary film preview tickets
• COTA Holidays
• COTA Travel Insurance


COTA Queensland’s 59th Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday 18 October 2016 with an overview of the year presented by our Chair Peter Howells, an Operational Report by Chief Executive Mark Tucker-Evans and the Financial Report by Finance & Risk Committee Chair Maree McMahon.


Highlights of the 2015-2016 financial year included:
• 283 Seniors Week partners delivered 737 events throughout Queensland engaging in excess of 80,000 people with a media reach of 5.5million
• The publication of the Doing it Tough: Queensland Older Women’s Experience of Poverty Research Report to coincide with Anti-Poverty Week
• 55 Advisory Committees, Taskforces, etc.
• 17 Seniors Peak Workshops delivered in 12 Regional Centres
• 40 Volunteer Peer Educators facilitated 208 Community Education sessions reaching 4,600 people
• 8 COTA Community Ambassadors trained
• 18 episodes of RadioCOTA podcasts
• 665 Consumer Reference Network members
• 638 delegates from 36 countries attended the IFA 13th Global Conference on Ageing hosted by COTA Queensland
• 77 Professional Reference Network members.

COTA Queensland’s Annual Report and Financial accounts are on our website


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COTA Queensland started in 1957 as the Old People’s Welfare Council and has worked to support older Queenslanders and influence decision makers for almost 60 years.


Throughout the decades we have supported the establishment of several organisations, including the first University of the Third Age (U3A) in Queensland.


The U3A Network represents 33 autonomous U3A groups throughout the state, including U3A online. U3A, provide academic, recreational and social activities in support of lifelong learning and wellbeing of senior people in their local community.


Whilst there is no age restriction, their membership is aimed at people who are retired or about to enter retirement.


A collaborative partnership has been formed between U3A Network Queensland and COTA Queensland with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to develop mutually beneficial arrangements to promote healthy ageing.


COTA Queensland's Chair Peter Howells and U3A Network President Julie Porteous signed the MoU following COTA Queensland's AGM in October.


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Pictured: COTA Queensland Chief Executive, Mark Tucker-Evans


We are already more than a quarter the way through our 2016-2017 financial year and are building on the success of the 13th Global Conference on Ageing held in Brisbane in June this year.

Currently we are working with Redlands City Council and the Redlands Seniors Network supported by QUT, Griffith and Queensland Universities to develop and evaluate an Age-friendly project.

Working in key areas of policy, we have been representing the voices of older Queenslanders through:

Community Support and Health Services
• Co-designing eHealth Queensland’s future to enable quality patient care by providing seamless technology solutions and services across Queensland Health
• Statewide Older Persons Health Clinical Network (SOPHCN) Acute Care Working Group’s How Older Person-Friendly are Queensland’s Hospitals? Report which will inform strategy and policy developments at State and HHS level to support clinician-led improvements in older person health care delivery across the state


Read more 


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We are very pleased to welcome Program Coordinator Tim Heywood and Project Officer Sandi Rodiger to the COTA Queensland team.


Tim has extensive and diverse experience in health, aged care, disability services and community care across both the government and non-government sectors.


Tim’s experience covers program planning, development, and management, and policy development, analysis, and implementation.


Tim is committed to building collaborative working relationships and effective partnerships among organisations.


With a passion for working within the community sector, Sandi is very excited about her role in the Community Education team and being part of a program that supports older Queenslanders. 


Sandi has worked in the not-for-profit, corporate and state government sectors in a range of project and event management roles. Having grown up in a number of African countries, the travel bug bit early on and Sandi loves to travel, meet people and learn about places, cultures and histories. Australia has been called home for the past 9 years and life is busy with a family of young boys.


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COTA Queensland is continuing its work with more than 50 organisations across Queensland in their transition to new operating and reporting requirements. COTA is collating the organisations' feedback and providing it to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. This will contribute to the Department's enhancements to the Older Peoples Investment Specifications.


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There are still places available for seniors who would like to volunteer their time and skill to deliver interactive information sessions for your peers.

COTA Queensland is expanding the network of volunteer Peer Educators in southeast Queensland as part of our Community Education team. COTA Peer Educators facilitate interactive learning sessions with seniors on healthy ageing, planning and wellbeing.

“Volunteering as a Peer Educator for the past two years with COTA Queensland has been a wonderful and worthwhile experience for me”, said Judith Chapman, a resident of Thornlands. “I have been trained in two different programs now, each relating to important issues for older Australians. If you have spare time, consider getting involved, educating your peers to enjoy a better quality of life with knowledge of personal rights and an awareness of support programs as we age.”


Apply as soon as possible to secure your place at the next training workshop.

For more information and to download the information form visit here.


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Most of us wish to age well. A core part of this is considering your wellbeing. Research informs us even the smallest change to daily activities can have a large impact on your wellbeing.

Wellbeing, enablement, active ageing, wellness, person-centred care and so forth are terms we are hearing more often when talking about ageing and aged care services. COTA is offering free information sessions delivered by Peer Educators to breakdown this terminology and provide tools for you to identify what is important to you as you age. You will learn how to start making changes to improve your wellbeing, and gain a better understanding of your options for accessing community and aged care services.

Sessions are offered until June 2017 to a maximum group size of 40 people in Southeast Queensland, Toowoomba/Yarraman and Bundaberg.  This project is funded by the Australian Government, Department of Social Services/Health, Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants.


To book download a form here or call us on 1300 738 348.


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Nobody can predict the future. Planning ahead can bring peace of mind to you, your family and your friends.  It can ensure that your financial, medical and personal wishes are respected and followed if you are unable to act yourself.

COTA is offering free information sessions to discuss the importance of planning ahead and ways to identify key people in your life who know, respect and will act on your wishes should you be unable to act yourself. Sessions will focus on Enduring Powers of Attorney using a case study to highlight the importance of planning ahead. 
Sessions run for about an hour and are supported by resources for each participant.  Sessions are available from February 2017 to May 2018 and are offered in various locations across Queensland.  For more information, download the information brochure and session poster.

Invite a COTA Peer Educator to speak with your group for a free, one hour interactive session by downloading the booking request form by clicking here and emailing it to

For more information download a promotional flyer, call 1300 738 348 or email us at


This project is funded by the Queensland Government, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services with the support of the Public Trustee.


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Did you know that the laws around electricity pricing have changed and energy retailers in Southeast Queensland can now decide how much to charge customers for their electricity?  This could bring changes to the way electricity is charged on existing contracts however, this competitive pricing also brings new opportunities to reduce energy bills.


To help understand these changes, COTA QLD Peer Educators will be delivering free, interactive information sessions to seniors’ groups and organisations. Participants will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to understand their bills, compare offers, find potential savings and avoid pitfalls so that they can become active consumers who can shop around for the best electricity deal for them. They will also receive specifically developed resources to assist them when comparing offers. As such, these information sessions are directly relevant for seniors who receive an electricity bill from an energy retailer, and not those who receive one from a body corporate, property owner or similar arrangement.


To book a free, one hour Peer Education session for your group, download the booking form here and email it to Sessions will be offered in Southeast Queensland until May 2017.  Sessions are limited so book early to avoid missing out. 


This project is supported by the Queensland Department.


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COTA Queensland is currently providing peer education sessions on Consumer Directed Care in Aged Care until the end of the year. Book now to secure one of the last places to have a Peer Educator speak to your group about consumer directed care in aged care reforms.

Alongside the current rollout of aged care reforms, these free sessions are offered to seniors’ groups and groups of future or current consumers of home care services. Consumer Directed Care is a new way of working in community aged care services. The peer education sessions aim to increase the skills and knowledge of consumers so that they may maintain control of their own life by making the most of consumer directed care (CDC), be active partners in determining their own health care and support needs through working in partnership with their Service Provider. Sessions are currently available in southeast Queensland and Townsville.


Visit here for more information and to request a Peer Educator.


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New research led by the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) has investigated volunteering among older CALD people, looking at the contribution they make, the benefits to volunteers themselves, and the things that support volunteers in their work.

The study found that the practical help older CALD volunteers offer allows organisations to provide services to more people. Volunteers also build cultural understanding by introducing their cultures to younger generations and the broader community.

To do their work well, volunteers benefit from culturally appropriate support, including training in their preferred languages. Volunteer coordinators also play an important role linking organisations and their volunteers.
Read the full story on the NARI website.


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Guide Dogs Queensland are calling for more volunteers, particularly seniors, to sign up for their Puppy Raising Program ahead of the New Year, with up to 20 new pups looking for temporary homes.

Disability Services and Seniors Minister Coralee O’Rourke said Puppy Raisers were top of Guide Dogs Queensland’s Christmas wish list, with two new litters expected to ¬arrive at the Bald Hills Breeding and Training Centre before Christmas, generating demand for up to 20 new carers for 2017.

“Raising a puppy involves caring for a potential guide dog from around eight weeks of age until they are up to 18 months and are ready to commence formal training,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“Queensland seniors and retirees are uniquely positioned to take on these roles, which require a lot of time and care to familiarise the puppy with social settings such as shopping centres, restaurants and public transport.

“By becoming a Puppy Raiser, older Queenslanders can benefit from the rewards of volunteering, as well as increased health and well-being associated with animal interactions and from being more active in the community.

Read the full media release here and listen to Radio COTA’s interview with Minister O’Rourke.  


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Applications for Volunteer Grants will be opening shortly. These grants aim to support the efforts of Australia’s volunteers. They provide small amounts of money that organisations and community groups can use to help their volunteers. They are part of the Government’s work to support the volunteers who help disadvantaged Australian communities and encourage inclusion of vulnerable people in community life.


The Community Grants Hub, on behalf of the Department of Social Services (DSS), will shortly be inviting organisations and individuals representing volunteer based community groups to apply for Volunteer Grants 2016 funding.

Once open, additional information will be available the DSS Grants Website.


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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk used her keynote address at the Queensland Labor state conference to announce that her cabinet has agreed to introduce a Human Rights Act for Queensland!


The Queensland Labor State Policy Platform will be amended to include a commitment to introducing a Human Rights Act for Queensland based on the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.


By learning from the Victorian experience there is a real possibility that soon Queensland will enjoy the best and most progressive human rights legislation in Australia.


For more information visit


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Major changes are coming in aged care system through the Aged Care Reforms. These changes are being progressively implemented over 10 years between 2012 and 2022.

Last week we released a special edition of COTAlife outlining and informing you about the upcoming changes and the opportunity to have your say. 

Click here to view the Special Edition - Aged Care Reforms. 



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People who have to contribute to the cost of accommodation in an aged care home may do this through a lump sum payment known as a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD). Sometimes, people fund their RAD with a loan – for example, from a family member.

The Federal Government has changed the Subsidy Principles 2014 to clarify how RADs that are funded by loans are to be treated in aged care means testing. Under the amendment, when a person uses a loan to pay their RAD, the RAD is still fully assessed as an asset. In other words, RADs are not reduced by loans.


Read more on the Department of Health website.


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People with disabilities from around Australia are coming together to inform their peers and communities about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Through the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations’ (AFDO) NDIS Champions program, 30 NDIS Champions will share their knowledge of the NDIS and their own personal stories through presentations to peers, businesses and local community groups. The program is filling a gap in peer-led information while providing meaningful employment for people with a disability.

Read more on the AFDO website.


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Spectators can look forward to affordable ticket prices for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games following the announcement of ticket pricing today.

Up to 1.5 million spectators are expected to enjoy more than 11 unforgettable days of world class sporting competition from April 4-15.

Adult tickets to high profile events such as athletics will start from as low as $20 and half price children’s tickets will be available from $10.

The ticket price includes all ticket fees and free public transport on event day within the South East Queensland TransLink public transport network, the Cairns TransLink bus network and on the Townsville qconnect bus network when a valid event ticket is presented.

Tickets for people with accessibility requirements will be available for all events.

COTA (Council on the Ageing) Queensland Chief Executive Mark Tucker-Evans:

“We have been in discussions with GOLDOC about ticket pricing throughout this process and we are particularly pleased that tickets are competitively priced for people of all ages, and that the ticket includes free public transport.
“We see that as being a real benefit for older spectators wishing to attend events throughout the 11 days of GC2018.”


Read the full release here 


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U3A Online is the world’s first virtual University of the Third Age delivering online learning via the internet.  All that’s needed to study online is access to a computer with an internet connection – and some basic computing skills.

U3A Online offers many other useful resources for older people, especially those who are geographically, physically, or socially isolated.

Courses are open to older to all older people and people with disability anywhere in the world. 


Click here for more information. 



Radio COTA is a free podcast focused on topical and relevant information for older Queenslanders. It is an “on-demand” radio show accessible from your computer, smart phone or tablet.


Check out our November series below.


Podcast #29 – Outdoor Activities, with inspirational interviews with John Cresswell, Caboolture Microlights, and Judith Chapman, COTA Qld Peer Educator.  We provide loads of information on outdoor activities, from Safe Night Precincts, Seniors Exercise Parks, and easy ideas to Keep Cool in Summer, to avoid the heat and save money!


Podcast #30 – Seniors and Pets – Welcoming Dr Alicia Kennedy for a moving, informative, and entertaining interview about the human animal bond, and supporting older people with pet ownership.  We also have a chat with RSPCA’s Michael Beatty about the Happy Paws, Happy Hearts Program – enriching the lives of RSPCA animals waiting to find homes, the lives of older Queenslanders, and people with disability. 


Podcast #31 – Men’s Week - Here’s an interesting topic!  We delve into the minds of Aussie men, chat with Alan Pratt from the Ulysses Club, and Ian MacDougall from the Blokes Lounge on the Gold Coast.  Two unique services bringing people together, celebrating diversity, for the young and old!  We also share in the annual, month long celebration of the moustache, highlighting men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and depression in men – MOVEMBER is here!  COTA Queensland and Radio COTA provide a moving tribute for Remembrance Day 2016.


Podcast #32 – Motoring - David Miles from the MG Car Club of Queensland, learning the history of the Club, the social connections and interactions enjoyed by Members, and the competitive nature that excites participants and crowds.  We also have a chat with Michael Collins, an Australian Off Road Pro-Class Buggy Champion, powered by a 2.6L Subaru engine, totally developed in-house by Michael at his family owned and operated business, Scorpion All Wheel Drive.

Radio COTA is available on:

Sound Cloud and iTunes and the COTA Queensland website

We look forward to your feedback at or call 1300 738 348.

So, put your feet up, grab a cuppa and enjoy!


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New apps are giving people ways to improve their sleep. Some of these work with the circadian clock, which coordinates physiology and behaviours like eating, sleeping, and being active. Erratic eating and sleeping patterns can disrupt these biological rhythms, making us sleep poorly and feel unwell. The My Circadian Clock app lets users log and set goals for their sleep, exercise and food and drink. Entrain, another app for shift-workers and travellers, uses mathematical models to tell users when to expose themselves to light and dark.


Blue light from computers and smart phones encourages alertness during the day, but can disrupt our sleep by suppressing the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. For those who can’t switch off before bed, filter apps can switch your device to a warmer orange-red light after sundown. There are also tracking apps to record how much sleep you’re getting.

Read more on the ABC News website.


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Share your stories and experiences through our Consumer Reference Network comprising almost 700 individuals throughout the state. These inform our work to enable us to better understand what will make Queensland age-friendly.


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You and a guest are invited to a special advanced preview of A UNITED KINGDOM.

He was an Oxford-educated African king, while she was a white Englishwoman working as a clerk at Lloyd’s of London. Now their 1948 marriage, which caused scandal in Apartheid-stricken South Africa and the British protectorate of Bechuanaland (later Botswana), is the subject of a new period drama starring Britain’s David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.


Oyelowo plays Seretse Khama, who in 1965 became independent Botswana’s first president. He was also kgosi (king) of the Bamangwato people, having been crowned at the age of four in 1925. Pike stars as Ruth Williams, who would go on to be the first lady of Botswana between 1966 and 1980.

Director: Amma Asante
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo


A UNITED KINGDOM is released nationwide on Boxing Day

Check out the trailer

Click here to download complimentary tickets to your preferred cinema.   


Tickets are limited and are on a first come, first serve basis.


Monday 28 November at 6.30pm
- Event Garden City Mt Gravatt
- Event Chermside


Wednesday 30 November at 6.30pm
- Event Indooroopilly        
- Event Pacific Fair


If you are not a Showfilmfirst member, you will be required to create an account to redeem your complimentary tickets.  All information that you provide to will be retained and disclosed only in accordance with the Data Protection Acts 1984 and 1998.


Your tickets will be emailed to you, please print them and bring them with you to the showing.


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Come gallivanting with COTA Holidays!


COTA now offer great holiday deals including escorted international holidays and domestic package tours specially selected for COTA members and all Australians over 50.


Holiday deal options include cruises, domestic and international travel.  So many to choose from!


Visit the Red Centre including Uluru and Kings Canyon, or a combination cruise and 4WD tour through Australia’s magnificent Cape York Wilderness, or a cultural tour of Scandinavia, a coach tour of South New Zealand, cruise to Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico (cha cha cha!!), or explore the stunning Canadian Rockies followed by a seven-night cruise through the incredible glaciers of the Alaskan Inside Passage.

There are tours of Japan, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Africa, Paris, Hawaii – even road trips across America!

With so many options to choose from, you may just have to book a few holidays at once!

Call now on 1300 1500 50 or


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Reasons to choose COTA Travel Insurance

• excess free* no age limits**
• easy and friendly phone or online application
• immediate cover, even before your trip
• simple, over the phone, medical assessment
• 24/7 emergency assistance anywhere in the world
• choose from a Domestic, Overseas or Frequent Traveller (domestic and overseas) policy
• dependent children and grandchildren covered at no extra cost


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Level 1, 25 Mary Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
PO BOX 15525, City East, QLD 4002
Office: +61-7-3316-2999
Toll Free Number (within QLD): 1300-738-348
Fax: +61-7-3316-2900