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Judith Sloan to head up seniors lobby

2011 promises to be a year of the unknown for both politicians and the over 50s when, for the first time in three decades, National Seniors gets a new chairman.

Melbourne economist, former ABC deputy chairman, and a director on two Frank Lowy boards, Judith Sloan took over from National Seniors chairman Everald Compton last week.

Professor Sloan who at 56 represents a new guard of seniors, the baby boomers, is relishing her new role.

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Seniors give back by volunteering

The number of older people giving back to the community through volunteering shows the valuable role older people play in society, says National Seniors Australia.

This week National Seniors recognised seniors who give up their time and efforts to volunteer as part of International Volunteering Day (IVD).

Chief executive Michael O’Neill said IVD was an important occasion to say “thank you” to the many thousands of selfless volunteers who willingly give unpaid help in the form of time, service or skills.

New Chairperson Judith Sloan

National Seniors chairperson Everald Compton will officially hand over the reins to incoming chair Melbourne economist Judith Sloan, on 10 December in Melbourne.

Sloan has been a university professor, Productivity Commission Commissioner, former ABC deputy chair and company director.

Read all about Everald Compton’s final farewell in this month’s 50 something magazine.

On page 3 of today’s Australian is an article on Sloan’s appointment as chairperson.

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Health study reveals financial woes

A recent Australian health study has found Australians most in need of health care fear they can’t afford it.

The Menzies Centre for Health Policy, together with The Nous Group, completed a survey of 1,200 Australians to gain insight into their attitudes towards the health and aged care system.

A key finding of the study was that those struggling financially and those living outside capital cities have a more negative view of the Australian health care system than the broader population. Their main concerns were around access and affordability.

What’s next for Victorian seniors

National Seniors will be working to ensure that the voice of Victorians aged over 50 is heard by the new Liberal-National Coalition government, says Victorian state manager Arnold Bates.

The Baillieu Government has already announced that it intends to fast track its election promise for a year-round concession card system for power bills.

Bates said introducing the new concession system for electricity bills six months ahead of schedule will release financial pressures on many Victorian households, which is especially welcome as the festive season is nearing.

Every dollar counts

Seniors in Queensland can now utilise a comprehensive guide to concessions, retail discounts, rebates and assistance available in Queensland.

The Every Dollar Counts website aims to help families, pensioners and Queenslanders who may be financially stretched, or want to save on future energy expenses.

The assistance includes help for things like buying a home, saving for a rental bond, saving on power, investing in solar panels and more.

Aged care getting worse: report

A new study has found aged care workers are more stressed, make more medication errors, report lower levels of resident care, and are less satisfied with their jobs now than they were three years ago.

University of Melbourne researchers found worsening working conditions appeared to be driving many aged care workers from the sector, with 20 per cent of the study’s sample ceasing to work in aged care between 2007 and 2010.

Victorian State election

The Victorian State election is this Saturday (November 27) and National Seniors Australia wrapped up its campaign by releasing a report card on the major parties policies.

Victorian State manager, Arnold Bates, ran four meet-the-candidate forums in the marginal seats of Ferntree Gully, Kilsyth, Mount Waverly and Bayswater - in the run up to the election. Members were joined by other seniors in putting their issues to the candidates from the major parties.

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Seniors watch aged care pay claim with interest

Older Australians say they will watch with interest the low paid bargaining claim for aged care workers launched by unions this week.

The first under the new Fair Work Act, the claim was initiated by the Liquor Hospitality Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) and the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

National Seniors Australia chief executive, Michael O’Neill, said that, if upheld, the claim would address some of the current staffing inequities in the aged care sector.

First for cholesterol link to kidney disease

The results are in from world’s largest kidney disease trial of over 9,400 volunteers aged 40 or over with chronic kidney disease.

The trial (SHARP) showed that a combination of the cholesterol-lowering drugs ezetimibe and simvastatin could reduce by a quarter all heart attacks, strokes and operations to open blocked arteries in people with chronic kidney disease.

A spokesperson from SHARP said people with chronic kidney disease have a very high risk of developing heart diseases or stroke. Until now it has not been clear which treatments could reduce this risk.

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