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May 27



COTA Queensland is seeking participants for a new national research project examining ways to combat social isolation and loneliness amongst the older population.
Loneliness and social isolation can increase as people age and it is important people who feel this way are connected back into the community.

This project is a collaboration between a number of universities (Adelaide University, Curtin University, Melbourne University, Queensland University of Technology and Kings College London) and a range of service providers and peak bodies (Anglicare SA, Benetas, COTA Queensland, ECH Inc, Illawarra Retirement Trust, Resthaven Inc and Silver Chain). The project has been approved by the University of Adelaide Ethics Committee (no. HP-2013-010).
If you are:

• 65 years and older
• feel lonely and/ or socially isolated
• would be willing to be involved in a research project that explores the effectiveness of services to help with isolation and loneliness
please ring 1300 738 348 and a researcher will contact you to explain the project in further detail and establish your eligibility for the project.

For further information please email research@cotaqld,

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QUT Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) is conducting a number of studies investigating the factors that impact on healthy sleep in older adults, with a particular focus on the impact that partners have on each other's sleep.

The Sleep in Senior Couples Survey asks both members of older adult couples to complete a survey either online or in hard copy. The survey asks questions about sleep, health and daily habits, and takes up to an hour for each person to complete.

Please consider participating if you and your partner:
• are 65 or older;
• live at home in the community;
• have not been diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea; and
• do not have suspected or diagnosed cognitive impairment.

Both surveys are online at

If you would like to receive a printed copy of either survey, please contact:

Alicia Allan - PhD candidate
Email:, or phone: 0447 325 479

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COTA Queensland Life Member Vera Raymer was born in Miles, Queensland on 19 April 1919, the third of four children. Her family moved to Brisbane when she was about four years of age. Vera met her husband, Ken Raymer, through church and tennis groups in 1938. He became a Flight Sergeant attached to the Catalina Flying Boat section of the RAAF and served two periods in New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. They married on 14 June 1944. Ken died on 27 August 1944.

Vera joined the newly formed War Widows Guild of Australia and was involved in a wide range of fundraising activities. Vera was shocked when she learned how little WW1 widows were receiving and worked tirelessly to have the government keep its promise and meet its undertaking that it would look after servicemen's families after the war.

Vera graduated in Social Work from the University of Sydney in 1952, and her contribution to her profession as well as child development, child and family welfare and the general community was outstanding. She prepared a submission regarding the need for child guidance clinics in Queensland in 1958. The first child guidance clinic in Brisbane was established in September 19598 following the report to Parliament.

Vera was heavily involved on committees leading the formation of the Old People's Welfare Council (now COTA Queensland) and on the executive committee between 1957 and 1960. She was also involved in establishing the Catholic Marriage Advisory Service, which led to the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau (now part of Centacare). She worked with other social workers to establish the Queensland Council of Social Service and to compile a directory of Social Services in Queensland.
Vera returned to study at the University of Queensland and graduated with a Masters Degree in Social Work in 1979. She worked in the Department of Children's Services, researching and compiling a history of child welfare in Queensland Centenary of Care for Children to celebrate the centenary of the Orphanages Act.

After retiring in 1983, Vera rejoined the executive committee of the Council on the Ageing (until 1992) during which time the Council continued its sponsorship of services for older people - she was involved in planning to establish the University of the Third Age (U3A) and the Older Women's Network. Between 1985 and 1986 when the home and community care program was introduced Vera encouraged the establishment of three local committees on the ageing and disabled in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. Vera also provided a quarterly newsletter for COTA from 1987 to 1991.

Vera's personal; manner and qualification as a social worker was an invaluable asset throughout the 60 years of her involvement in COTA. Her interest in social welfare and social justice never waivered and she retained her membership in a number of organisations. She was a foundation member of the War Widows Guild and served on the Guild's Council and was awarded Life Membership in 2006. Vera volunteered regularly with the Australian Federation of University Women. She was a member of a committee which re-wrote the constitution for this group and based on the knowledge and experience gained on this committee she was able to assist Walking for Pleasure Brisbane (which she had belonged to since 1988) in drafting their constitution and applying for incorporation in 1998.

With the exception of compiling Centenary of Care for Children while employed in the Department of Children's Services, all of Vera's contributions to the community were voluntary. She was an excellent role model throughout her life. Her wise counselling, tact and negotiating skills earned the respect and admiration of all who served with her. In 2002 Vera was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her voluntary services to the community. Receiving the OAM was one of the proudest moments of her life.

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Simply attach a FOFA to your keys and to other easy-to-lose items, and at the push of a button, they can be easily found. Each FOFA product has both a built in transmitter and receiver, which means they can signal each other, from 30 feet away. Any item can be found and in turn, used to find other lost items. The set up is simple, just give each FOFA its own number.

For example, assign the number '1' to the FOFA attached to one set of keys and the number' 2' to the FOFA attached to a second set of keys. When you lose an item, at the push of a numbered button, the lost FOFA emits a loud audible signal. To use FOFA, you'll need to have at least two products, for example two Key Finders or a Glasses Finder and Wallet Finder.

Use something you can find, to find something you can't!
• Simple to Use
• Lightweight & Portable
• No False Alarms
• No Clapping or Whistling
• Proximity Detection - a blinking light tells you when you're getting closer to your lost item

To purchase, call 1300 1400 50 or visit

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It’s important to get to know your medicines so you can get the best results from them. Some of the most important things you need to know — such as what your medicine is for, how much to use, and when to use it — can be found on the Medicines List.

To get the most from your Medicines List:
• keep it up-to-date by removing any medicines you are no longer using and adding new medicines as you start using them

• take it with you each time you visit your doctor, pharmacist or health professional, or if you go into hospital

• keep it with you at all times in case of emergency.

Features of the Medicines List app (version 2) for iPhone include scheduling and reminder functions, as well as 'My Details' information in PDF which can be emailed and printed.  Available now as free download in the App Store. More information on the NPS Medicines website.

COTA Queensland has had a long partnership with NPS involving volunteer Peer Educators facilitating discussions with thousands of older people over the past decade. We sincerely appreciate all who have been involved in the various Medicines program.

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The Honourable Tim Mander Housing and Public Works Minister has announced the Home Assist Secure program will continue to be funded throughout 2013–14.

The program provides funding to improve the lifestyle of elderly and disabled residents living in privately-owned accommodation.
Mr Mander said almost $18 million will be allocated to service providers in 41 locations around Queensland.

“The program provides subsidised assistance to people over 60 and those with a disability to help with minor home maintenance, repairs and modifications that relate to health, safety and security,” Mr Mander said.

“The Home Assist Secure program plays an important role in helping people to keep their existing housing arrangements rather than prematurely needing higher cost housing support from the Government such as public housing.

“As at 30 April 2013, the program had assisted 56,000 households and delivered more than 183,000 individual services during 2012-13.”

Mr Mander said the Newman Government was committed to ensuring Home Assist Secure is delivering value for money and operating in an effective and efficient manner.

“For 2013-14, the Department of Housing and Public Works will make some minor adjustments to the program guidelines to better target services,” he said.

“These adjustments include a clearer definition of the eligibility criteria and clarity around services such as yard maintenance.
“We’ve also removed the overlap between the Home Assist Secure program and the Queensland Community Care program by clarifying roles and responsibilities.

“The department will work with Home Assist Secure providers to ensure they are fully aware of the changes before 1 July so that they can continue delivering this important service.

“The benefits of the program are felt across Queensland by reducing the pressure on homelessness services and public housing, while at the same time improving people’s quality of life.”
Mr Mander said Home Assist Secure, together with a range of other programs, will form part of his housing strategy, which aims at ensuring better targeting of services and funding for additional accommodation to help Queenslanders in need.

Contact: Minister’s Office – Janette Andrews (07) 3237 1832

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Are you:
• Having trouble managing your energy needs and bills?
• At risk of having your power disconnected?
• On an energy retailer’s hardship scheme?

The Australian Government's Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS) is provided through community organisations to help low-income households experiencing difficulty meeting and paying for their energy needs with:

•  information about easy and affordable ways to use less energy in the home
•  one-on-one budgeting assistance
•  information on whether you are getting the right rebates and assistance
•  help to understand your energy bills and the energy market
 advice, advocacy and support
  links to other services that may be able to assist you, and
help to access no or low interest loans to purchase energy efficient appliances.

You can get more information about your local HESS provider by calling the HESS Helpline on 1800 007 001 or visiting the website

COTA Queensland is represented on the Advisory Council of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland and are interested in hearing from older people who are experiencing challenges with electricity, gas or water. Contact

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The Aged Care Channel in conjunction with the Department of Health and Ageing has produced a video to support service providers with emergency management planning. The video tries to prepare staff to ensure that older people continue to receive quality care during emergency events.

Emergency planning

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Forward to a friendJudi Seybold-Castle was only 21 when she lost her grandmother to stroke and she is now passionately working to help save others from this silent killer.

Stroke is a blood clot or bleed in the brain that starves brain cells of oxygen and causes parts of the brain to die. The common condition is a leading cause of death and serious disability,
with 1 in 6 people suffering from a stroke in their lifetime – a third of whom die from it. Despite these facts, strokes are largely preventable.

“Many people don’t recognise the signs of stroke and don’t understand that knowing this saves lives”, Judi said.

“Losing my dearly-loved grandmother at a relatively young age was heartbreaking – especially now that I know how easily it could have been prevented. This has inspired me to volunteer as a StrokeSafe Ambassador for the National Stroke Foundation. I will be visiting local community groups and organisations to share information on stroke prevention and recognising the signs of stroke that could help save lives.”

So far Judi has given talks to community groups such as the Country Women’s Association and used the opportunity to share the gift of the lifesaving FAST message.

FAST is an easy way to remember and recognise the signs of stroke: Face – Has the person’s mouth drooped? Arms – Can they lift both arms? Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you? Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call triple zero (000) now National Stroke Foundation chief executive Erin Lalor said the StrokeSafe Ambassador program saves lives.

“Recently the War Widows Guild told us that one of their members was able to recognise that she was having a stroke because she had attended one of our StrokeSafe talks and
remembered the FAST signs,” Dr Lalor said.

“As a result, she acted quickly and was able to get treatment and minimise the impact of her stroke, giving her a better chance of a full recovery.”

If you would like to arrange for a StrokeSafe Ambassador to visit your community group and talk about stroke prevention and how to recognise the signs of stroke contact:  or phone 03 9670 1000
or visit

Photo: Judi Seybold-Castle (front-centre) sharing the stroke message at the CWA gathering.

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  3. VERA RAYMER OAM 1919-2013

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Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland

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