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COTA life

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

Edition 8

12 February, 2015

We have amalgamated our newsletters into one to keep you up to date without additional mailbox clutter. 


COTAlife, will continue to include articles to assist you  to enhance your quality of life, news about upcoming events and how COTA is advancing the rights, needs and interests of people as they age in Queensland. The COTAAGENDA  section will provide information about Queensland Government programs, policies and priorities for older people, analysis of issues and current trends relating to ageing and older people's issues.

The Loss of a Great Queenslander

Mr. Nick Xynias AO BEM, one of Queensland’s pioneering multicultural champions, passed away aged 82 years.

Prior to his death on 25 January 2015, Mr. Xynias was Honorary President and Volunteer Chief Executive Officer of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (which includes Berlasco Court Nursing Home and Diversicare).


Born in Egypt to Greek parents, Nick Xynias migrated to Queensland in 1956 and ran a successful business until he retired in 1994. In 1960 he became involved with, and led, many community associations and in 1976 he co-founded ECCQ.

Nick was awarded by the Queen with the British Empire Medal (BEM) in 1982, the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1995, and in 2001 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. In 2004 he was named one of five Queensland Greats and in 2008 he was named Brisbane’s Senior Citizen of the Year. He also received the Millennium Award in 2000.

“Nick Xynias had devoted an enormous amount of time and energy over a number of decades to establish and maintain avenues for individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to access services in Queensland,” ECCQ chair Agnes Whiten OAM said.


"Nick’s work helped hundreds, if not thousands of people every year. He will be sorely missed.”

Read more


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Seniors honoured on Australia Day

"We will change the world and it'll be extraordinary" -  Jackie French,  Senior Australian of the Year.


COTA Queensland wishes to congratulate author Jackie French in being named the Australian Senior of the Year 2015.


At just 60 years of age, Ms French's role as the national Children's Laureate has seen her travel across Australia promoting literacy, creativity and story-telling to young Australians, advocating for children with learning difficulties, and taming a few wombats along the way.


For more information, visit the world of Jackie French


We would also like to recognize Philanthropist, Fred Hyde AM, Queensland Senior Australian of the Year. 


While most people slow down when they retire, 94 year old Fred Hyde has devoted the past three decades and all of his resources - personal, physical and financial - to rescuing and educating abandoned children in Bangladesh.   After seeing the plight of children left orphaned after a tidal wave on Bhola Island in 1970, Fred later sold his house and poured all his savings into his not-for-profit organisation, Co-operation in Development.


Since 1991, Fred has helped build 45 schools, five kindergartens, teacher training facilities for 165 teachers and, at present, there are 12,000 children attending Co-operation in Development schools.  A humble but awe-inspiring leader, role model and mentor to many, Fred continues to spend six months of every year in Bangladesh directing projects that touch the lives of countless people in need.


For more information visit the honour roll


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Make it Happen this International Women's Day

This year International Women’s Day on 8 March has  the theme, Make it Happen, encouraging women to actively pursue their goals and aspirations. 

This International Women's Day Make it Happen by attending events in your community, joining a women in business association, where you can network and share experiences as a mentor, or by  joining or volunteering  for a women's support group where you can receive support as well as help women in need.

For more information and to find events near you visit


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CDC Sessions - Book now before time runs out!

By 1 July 2015 all new and existing Home Care packages, will be Consumer Directed Care packages.

COTA is providing free, interactive Controlling My Own Life: Making the Most of Consumer Directed Care information sessions to enable consumers to prepare for this change.

We have almost hit our quota for sessions to be delivered, each of which runs for approximately one hour. To book your session, contact Marianne Wright, COTA Queensland Volunteers Coordinator, at or by phone on 3316 2905 or toll free on 1300 738 348. We will endeavour to deliver sessions wherever we are able to arrange for a Peer Educator to attend.


All sessions are supported by resources from Home Care Today.


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Suicide Awareness - Sunshine Coast

Suicide touches the lives of many people and is devastating for family, friends and the broader community.

Free information sessions in the Sunshine Coast area are being delivered by our Peer Educators to raise the awareness and understanding of the risk factors, where to go for assistance, as well as how to reassure isolated communities about the everyday prevention strategies they can implement to reduce the rate of suicide and suicide attempts.

For further information, contact Marianne Wright, COTA Queensland Volunteers Coordinator, at or by telephone on 3316 2905 or toll free on 1300 738 348. 


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Financial Jargon explained

Navigating your finances is tricky enough especially when terms such as churning, franking credits and preserved benefit are being used. 

The MoneySmart Team is here to help.  Access their glossary of terms where they explain things as simply as possible.  Visit


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Debt management

Anyone can get into debt, for a wide range of reasons, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and it’s never too early or too late to seek help.


Take the first steps to regain control and find your way back to a debt-free life.


• Open all letters about your debts. This will give you a clear picture of how much you owe and help you prioritise your debts.
• Decide whether you need a financial adviser if you can’t deal with your debts yourself.
• Write a 'holding letter' to your creditors asking them to suspend any repayments and interest while you take advice. Most creditors will be reasonable if you explain the situation and show that you’re taking positive steps.
• Make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to.
• Don’t be tempted to pay a debt management company – there’s a lot of free, confidential, independent help available.


Source: Age UK 


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App to detect impending epileptic attacks

Reported by Aged Care Insite  6 February, 2015  written Source EFE

Japanese researchers have developed a system for smartphones to alert epileptics at least 30 seconds before a seizure.

The app is designed to help patients take precautions in the nick of time and avoid injuries.

A team from Kyoto University developed the system and is collaborating with Kumamoto University and Tokyo Medical and Dental University to get the device commercially produced by 2020, a Nikkei financial publication reported on Thursday.

The innovation uses a small sensor placed close to the collar bone or heart to detect changes in heartbeat.


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Beer compound could help fend off Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases

Reported by Science Daily  28 January, 2015  Source: American Chemical Society  


The health-promoting perks of wine have attracted the spotlight recently, leaving beer in the shadows. But scientists are discovering new ways in which the latter could be a more healthful beverage than once thought. It turns out that a compound from hops could protect brain cells from damage and potentially slow the development of disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.


Read more 


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Budget 2014-15: Cease indexation of the Clean Energy Supplement

Aged pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders will continue to receive the Energy Supplement (formerly the Clean Energy Supplement), with the rate of payment as of 30 June 2014 fixed for future payments.

The Energy Supplement is automatically paid to pensioners, other income support payment recipients and Family Tax Benefit recipients.

This measure will affect all people who currently receive the Clean Energy Supplement.

For more information visit


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Get involved!

Support our great work by becoming a member.  You can join as an individual and receive rewards and savings across Australia in addition to our wine and travel club. 


Organisational members receive invitations to policy briefings, invitations to policy briefing sessions, a monthly sector e-newsletter,  ONECOTA (a bi-monthly national magazine), discounted access to COTA events and the opportunity to list your events on COTA Queensland's online calendar.

By joining as a member, you will be contributing to our work through information exchange, policy development and service development.

For more information visit


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Aged Care Reform Roadshow - coming soon

In March 2015, the will provide briefings to aged care stakeholders on the changes to aged care from 1 July 2015.


The Roadshow will visit all capital cities, and some regional centres, to present participants with up to date information on the 2015 changes to aged care, with a focus on key change areas such as Home Care Packages, the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, and My Aged Care.


If you are unable to attend a face-to-face briefing, webinars on each 2015 reform topic will also be held -with dates and times to be confirmed shortly.  The video recordings of the webinars will be available afterwards and will be able to be accessed on demand via the DSS website.


More information, including how to register, will soon be available on the Department's website


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Support For People With Severe Dementia Related Behaviours In Aged Care Welcomed

COTA Australia media release 4 February 2015

Leading seniors advocacy body COTA Australia today welcomed the announcement by Minister Mitch Fifield of measures to support people with dementia experiencing severe challenging behaviours in residential aged care.


COTA Australia Chief Executive, Ian Yates, said he was very pleased that the funding that had been previously allocated to the Dementia Supplement would be reinstated for severe dementia care.


"There are growing numbers of people living with advanced dementia and many of them live out their end of life in Australia's aged care facilities," Mr Yates said.


Read more 


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Elderly people and chronic homelessness in Brisbane

Please join us for Seeking Solutions: a forum series contributing to the Community Action Plan to end homelessness in Brisbane.

Forum #1: elderly people and chronic homelessness in Brisbane

This event is an opportunity for people in the aged care, community and homelessness service sector to hear about Wintringham, a highly successful response to elderly people who are homeless, and winner of the United Nations Habitat Scroll of Honour Award for human settlements in 2011.

Wintringham is a specialist aged care service, established in Victoria in response to the mortality risk faced by older people who are homeless. Bryan Lipmann AM, Chief Executive Officer and founder, will be sharing the story of Wintringham and best practice in aged care for marginalised older people.

Chronic homelessness is increasingly a problem for older people. The 500 Lives 500 Homes Campaign in 2014 identified 133 people aged over 50 who were homeless in Brisbane, with people sleeping rough into their 60’s. The oldest person was 76 years of age. People who have experienced homelessness face great challenges in accessing appropriate aged care services.

Bryan will be followed by a panel discussion focusing on aged care for older persons who are homeless in Brisbane.

Panel members
• Jeanette Van Luyn, Clinical Psychologist/Special Access Liaison Officer, Alzheimer’s Australia Queensland
• Geoff Rowe, CEO, Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy
• Mark Tucker-Evans, Chief Executive/Secretary, Council on the Ageing Queensland
• Damien Negus, Chairperson, Supported Accommodation Providers Association.


Access the registration and payment  form here 


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The IFA in partnership with the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland is proud to announce that the 13th Global Conference on Ageing: Disasters in an Ageing world - Readiness, Resilience and Recovery will be held in Brisbane, Australia 21 - 23 June 2016.


The Conference will be a seminal event that enables decision makers, practitioners, researchers, service providers, and community members to share their experiences to support rapidly ageing populations worldwide.  The Conference will be among the first to take place after the conclusion of the post-2015 Development Goals and the revision of the Hyogo Framework for Action on Disaster Reduction.


The central theme of the 13th IFA Global Conference will be natural and human-induced disasters and health emergencies in an ageing world.


The program will explore approaches to risk reduction (e.g. mass gatherings), readiness, resilience, response and recovery with the goal of understanding how to establish more age-friendly, disaster prepared communities.


The worldwide phenomena of rapidly ageing societies also presents a unique opportunity to consider ways in which communities, governments, civil society and industry work together to support the health and welfare of older persons towards good health, quality of life, dignity, and autonomy.  A wide range of professional disciplines, sectors, government agencies, and community groups need to increasingly work together to maximise the potential of older persons. The IFA is interested in innovative approaches in planning and coping with a variety of disasters health emergencies, and knowledge about disaster planning and response for and by older people in developing countries.


Older people are often vulnerable during and after disasters.  This extends beyond psycho-social, physical and functional limitations to the loss of home, family and income, and to reduced long term social integration.  Yet, older people are key contributors in society to ensuring better preparedness, resiliency, and to the spirit of recovery, demonstrating natural leadership and survival skills. This specific international platform provides for the exchange of ideas and points of connection for practitioners, policy makers and researchers, many stakeholders working to generate more disaster prepared communities for older people, while also strengthening communities and systems in support of the health, quality of life, and dignity of older persons.


The Conference is of interest to professionals,  researchers, and organisations in the fields of ageing, income security, aged rights and aged care sectors, disability, and in emergency management (prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery/rehabilitation) such as, national and international government and non-governmental aid and service organisations, security forces and first responders (military, police, firefighters)  public health, medical and health care, emergency and humanitarian logistics, urban planning and design, and the IT community.


This Conference aims to explore:

• Impact of disasters on older people
• Building individual and community resilience for older people – new initiatives/programs, preparation, engagement and recovery (e.g. through animals);
• Risk reduction and disaster mitigation for older people
• Planning, designing and caring for older people in disasters
• Working with older people to co-design, plan, prepare and respond to disasters and rebuild their lives and others in their communities
• Role of public health in assisting with disaster response, recovery and resilience for older people’s needs and priorities
• Risk management strategies for facilities, programs and situations to support older people during disasters including the risks management strategies associated with mass gatherings
• Access to affordable insurance for older people
• Technology in disaster response for older people incorporating usability, skill development and social media
• Leadership for and by older people in disasters – planning, preparation, response and recovery
• Volunteers: engagement, training and support with and for older people
• International disasters – learnings about readiness, resilience and recovery for older people in all forms of disaster (e.g. Communicable Diseases, Natural disasters)
• Explore other aged related and more general issues impacting the quality of life of older people.


Program Structure

The program will consist of three main session types:
• Plenary sessions, which are by invitation only
• Concurrent sessions, comprising of symposiums, workshops and paper presentations
• Poster presentations with Minute Madness Sessions


There will be regular updates through COTAlife.


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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