Men’s Shed helps saves lives

By Jo-Anne WormaldIMG_0674

Australia’s fastest growing male organisation, Men’s Shed is helping to save lives while assisting the community.

Data released earlier this year from the Australian Bureau of Statistics states males aged over 85 years, had the highest suicide rate in 2012 (37.6 per 100,000) and was considerably higher than all other age groups.

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Member of Labrador Men’s Shed, Eddie Gerrard said the shed has saved more than one life.

“People die when they are alone,” he said.

Mr Gerrard said although he has his own shed at home, he likes coming to work on his projects here because it gets him out of the house and he enjoys the camaraderie.

“We talk about men’s things, not women’s things,” he said.

Secretary  for Queensland and Labrador Men’s Shed Association, Len Thomson  said it’s the fastest growing organisation for men within the last 50 years.

He said to men are reluctant to talk about health issues and relationships and these are things that need to be discussed.

The Men’s Shed Association is for men who have retired, who built their social network around business and can feel like they are no longer contributing to society.

“The role of the shed provides a workshop facility and mateship,” Mr Thomson said.

“Women talk face to face, men talk shoulder to shoulder”.

Recently one of the Labrador members was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“All of a sudden everyone is talking about it,” Mr Thomson said.

“It creates awareness and for the person who was diagnosed, it gets them talking about it rather than bottling it up.”

The Labrador Men’s Shed contributes to the Gold Coast community with fundraising, mentoring programs for school kids, assisting with maintenance at Gold Coast PCYC and odd jobs for those in need.

The Australian Men’s Shed Association is not for profit and has almost 1100 registered sheds in Australia serving the needs of more than 120 000 men.

The Australian concept has now expanded world wide.

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Men’s Shed Labrador is located  at 57 Billington St Labrador, QLD.

Contact Len Thompson
Phone: 0417 425 007


Happy Carers Week!

By Emma Lasker

Carers Week will be celebrated throughout Australia from the 12 –18 October and recognises the outstanding contribution unpaid carers make to our nation.

With almost three million carers in Australia, the celebration is an opportunity to educate and raise awareness about the diversity of carers and their caring roles.

Carers Australia President, Karen Cook said she has had the privilege of meeting many people who provide unpaid care on a daily basis for family and friends.

“Chances are they are the people sitting next to you at work. Think about them and the amazing work they do,” she said.

“For you carers, please take a break aswell.”

Full time carer, Margaret Stimson said her decision to care was one based on love.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.

“I have been caring for my mother for more than 5 years and I feel honoured to be able to give back to her what she has done for me.”

For more information on how you can become involved, visit

ABC reporter, Terri Begley spoke with a family relient on constant care.

Aged Care Reforms Raising Concerns

By Emma Lasker

The Federal Governments Aged Care reforms will cost residents up to $25,000 a year for care said Charles Sturt University academic and Aged Care Expert, Dr Maree Bernoth.

The changes which came into effect from the 1st of July are raising concerns that the reforms to increase the fees will not address the primary flaws of the sector.

“People are paying this money but are not guaranteed any change in the quality of the care,” she said.

“I have seen aged care facilities with chandeliers in the foyer and the residents lying in their own faeces.”

“If this money was going to mean more qualified staff to care for people then that would be a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t seem to be that way.”

CEO of Aged and Community Services Australia, John Kelly, welcomes the reforms and said they are necessary to ease the pressure on the nations Aged Care sector.

“A light touch regulatory framework does need to exist to ensure communities receive the services they deserve in a cost-effective manner” he said.

“On an average day there may be two staff looking after 15 residents with complex care needs.”

“The current funding model does not allow for the appropriate numbers of staff to care for residents.

The reforms are likely to make Aged Care too expensive to access said senior citizen, Margaret Davidson.

The 72 year old said the cost of care before the reform was already above her budget with the recent changes only making it further from reach.

“Put simply, I just can’t afford it. The only option I have is to sell my home but the thought of parting with it is heartbreaking,” she said.

“I know the day will come when I need care and whether I go to a nursing home or receive care from home, it’s money I don’t have.”

Ms Davidson is not the only person concerned by the reforms to increase the cost of Aged Care, with many senior citizens across Australia questioning how they will be affected.

Let us know what concerns you the most about the recent reforms.

For more information on the current reform and how you will be affected, visit the Department of Social Services website at or for more information on the types of care available to you, visit


Gold Coast Seniors get Healthy

By Jo-Anne Wormald

Tai Chi in the park at Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Wednesday September 17, 2014
Tai Chi in the park at Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Wednesday September 17, 2014

Gold Coast seniors are fighting fit with more than 300 people attending a Gold Coast Council operated Tai chi class at Burleigh Heads each week. Jo Wormald reports.

Gold Coast Seniors get Healthy
By Jo Wormald

Gold Coast seniors are becoming healthier despite concerns there is a decline in activity in older Australians.

Consultant Cardiologist and Media Expert in Preventive Health Matters, Dr Ross Walker said although older Australians can’t do the same level of activity they did when they were younger, exercise is the one of the best drugs for staying healthy.

Dr Walker is concerned more than half of Australians aged over 50 are not exercising.

“It is quiet disturbing,” he said.

Although overweight rates in older Australians are increasing with the national average at 57%, a recent study by the Queensland Government has found that Gold Coast residents are 5% less over weight.

“The advantage on the Gold Coast is it is more climate friendly and people can exercise anytime of day, all year round,” Dr Walker said.

The Gold Coast City Council’s Health and Active programs recorded 160 thousand attendances from July 2013 to June 2014.

Healthy and Active Program

Active and Healthy Gold Coast Alliance Vice President, Ms Samantha Hughes said more than half of the recorded attendances were seniors.

“The programs are more suitable for seniors and are designed for entry level,” Ms Hughes said.

Tai Chi is one of the most popular programs offered at Burleigh Heads Park every Monday and Wednesday with more than 300 people attending each week.

Dr Walker said Tai Chi is an extremely important exercise and keeps the mind focused and body flexible but still needs to be mixed with some aerobic activity.

Ms Hughes said the Gold Coast City Council wanted to create an active and healthy city, with creating social connections as the primary focus.

“The biggest outcome has been social connections,” she said.

“It makes people  feel like they belong to something and gives a sense of community ownership”.

The Active and Healthy program run by the Gold Coast City Council offer 173 free or low cost programs for any age or level.

Dr Walker’s Top 5 Tips for Healthy Ageing

  1. Have no addictions. No smoking. No drugs. Don’t drink too much alcohol.

  2. Good quality sleep for 7-8 hours each night.

  3. Watch what you eat. Eat less and eat more naturally.

  1. 3-5 hours of cardio and toning exercise each week.

  2. Best drug is happiness


Research Shows Physical Activity is on the Decline

New research shows that older Australians have dramatically decreased their levels of physical activity, placing their health at risk.

The figures show that almost half of all Australians over 50 have decreased their physical activity over the past five years while 22% of those admit to being very inactive.

Doctor Ross Walker holds concerns for these people and said they need to take action now to avoid health issues later in life.

“You’re never too old to exercise and most physical activity can be modified to accommodate injuries or weakness so there’s always a way to stay active, no matter what your age” he said.

“To maintain a healthy and active lifestyle in your 50s and beyond, the key is to focus on changing the nature of what you do as you get older, instead of just reducing the amount of what you currently do”.


Gold Coast Seniors Week

By Emma Lasker and Jo-Anne Wormald

Gold Coast Seniors Week kicked off today to celebrate the contributions and achievements of seniors.

The state-wide event will be held from the 16th to the 24th of August and will include a number of free and low cost activities.

Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate says the Seniors Week Variety Concerts on Thursday at the Gold Coast Arts Centre will be a hit.

“It gives the opportunity for senior citizens to get out, celebrate and be entertained. The thing I like about it is they get to see some of their friends in one venue and hear some of the songs from back in the day.”

The two sold out concerts are expected to attract 1200 guests, with special guest, Bruce Paige as MC.

“When people say senior – when I look at it, we are all young at heart. And mentally they are still having fun and enjoying it” Mayor Tate said.

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For more information on how you can become involved in this weeks events, see the Seniors Week Calendar of Events