“Looking Forward, Looking Back”

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					      “Looking Forward, Looking Back”
The Riverina Murray Older Men’s Groups Newsletter
                    4th Edition
                    June 2007

Welcome to the 4th Edition of the Riverina Murray Older Men’s Groups
Newsletter. You will notice that we have a new name for the Newsletter
“Looking Forward, Looking Back”. This Slim Dusty song title was voted
as the best suggestion at the Riverina Murray Older Men’s Group
meeting in April.
                              The newsletter is published every 3 months.
                              Remember this is your newsletter and all
                              contributions are welcome. It’s also been
                              suggested that we include a Trading Section.
                              Contributions to the newsletter can be sent to
                              Michael Thompson at Age Concern, 432
                              Townsend St, Albury 2640, ph 02 6021 5122
                              fax 02 6021 8626, or via email on
                              deadline for the next edition is 31st August.

   International Men’s                  Community Men’s Sheds
     Health Week                            Conference
International Men’s Health Week         For those who are interested,
was held from June 11-16 and            the 2nd National Community
promoted men’s health and well          Men’s Sheds Conference is
being.                                  being held from 12 - 14
                                        September, 2007 at the Manly
Many men spend more time                Pacific Hotel in Sydney.
ensuring their car is tuned up
than they do talking to their GP        The theme of the conference
about their own health & well           is “Growing Together: Blokes
being.                                  Building ….”. The program
                                        includes everything you wanted
So use June and July as the time        to know about establishing and
to give yourself a much needed          running a Men’s Shed.
physical and mental health tune
up and make a point of visiting         For Information regarding the
your GP.                                Conference and costs contact
                                        02 9954 4400 or email
Riverina Murray Older Men’s Group:
The last meeting was held on 8 June, 2007 with those involved
representing groups from Corowa, Corryong, Albury, Wagga, Deniliquin,
Griffith, Finley, Greater Southern Area Health Service, Age Concern, and
the Regional Social Development Group. The meeting was held via
videoconference link across 5 sites.

The discussion at the meeting was mainly dealing with the draft program
for the Older Men’s Muster in October. However, we also talked about
the issue of how we can encourage GP’s and other services to refer men
to our groups more. This works well in some areas but not others. It
would be great to be able to share everyone’s ideas on attracting new
members to our groups. So any comments or suggestions you have
please send to Michael Thompson in Albury or Margaret Dalmau in
Wagga Wagga and we can include them in the next newsletter.

The next Riverina Murray Older Men’s Group meeting will be held
on Friday 7 September, 2007 from 1pm to 3pm via video
conference. Any one wanting to participate in the meeting please
inform Michael Thompson or Margaret Dalmau by Wednesday 6

Older Men’s Muster:
The Muster is on the 3 & 4 October,
2007 at Borambola Sport & Recreation
Centre near Wagga Wagga. The
program is starting to come together and
looking exciting and fun. The theme for
the Muster is around “Drought & Water”.

The draft program currently includes
speakers such as Tim Fischer, Jim
Small, Gary Treeve, Lance Parker, Maj
Ian Johnson, Colleen Wilson Lord, a
Urologist, and Occupational Therapist.

Registration forms for the Muster will be sent out in August. The cost will
be $25 and this includes 2 night’s accommodation, food, and the Muster
program. All you have to do is get there. Interest is already high so it
will be a matter of first in, first served.

To assist us with the organisation of catering and accommodation it
would be good to have an approximate idea of the numbers coming.
So, if you are thinking about attending please contact Michael Thompson
on 60215122 or Margaret Dalmau on 69323020 to let us know.
Health Advice Corner
Light Up Your Night!!
   •   Get rid of that torch
   •   Install a night light in the bedroom and hallway for better visibility late at night
   •   Use a touch lamp next to the bed
   •   Sensor lights can be positioned on the hallway skirting to illuminate your path
   •   Install lights at the top and bottom of stairs
   •   Install switches at each end of the hallway
   •   75 - 100 watt globes are recommended
   •   Lights should be shielded to reduce glare

Merrin, the Physio

Rural Mental Health Project
Two Rural Mental Health Project Officers have recently commenced in the Greater
Southern Area Health Service. The goals of these positions include:
  • Reducing the stigma and increasing the knowledge of mental health among
      farmers and rural communities
  • Overcoming some of the barriers that rural communities have accessing
      mental health services
  • Providing appropriate information and resources about mental illness and
      services which are available for rural communities
  • Identifying opportunities for early intervention, education and improved access
      to care
  • Promoting effective use of the range of local services to support the mental
      health and wellbeing of people in farming communities

Underpinning these principles is the importance of resilience and social
connectedness. Much of the role over the coming months will be in organising either
formal or informal gatherings where mental health issues may be addressed in an
environment which promotes the social contact and social networking of
communities. The following events are being organised in the short term:
   • Temora Farmers MH Gathering, 29 June
   • Hillston Farmers MH Gathering, date to be advised
   • Tooleybuc Farmers MH Gathering, date to be advised

               The Rural Mental Health Project Officers, together with Margaret
               Dalmau, Aged Mental Health Promotion Officer, have identified
               that Older Men’s Groups have an important role to play in rural
               mental health and wellbeing. For example, these Groups
               provide an opportunity for retiring farmers or farm workers to remain
active in their communities, promote social connectivity, and encourage physical and
mental activity. The Project Officers have commenced contacting Older Men’s
Groups in areas where Mental Health Gatherings will be held, in order that
representatives from these Groups can either participate in planning and possibly
speaking at Gatherings, or simply provide resources as a means of ‘recruiting’ new
members from rural communities. Over the coming months, events will be held
across the GSAHS, and many of you will be contacted for advice and/or assistance.

For further information, please contact Nicola Barrie (Western Division, based in
Albury) on 0438 496 192, or Kimberley Clarke (Eastern Division, based in
Queanbeyan) on 0447 278 957. We welcome your connections or input.
Beyond maturityblues and COTA -

Raising Depression Awareness Among the Elderly
- an initiative of beyondblue

Council on the Ageing (COTA) NSW is a peak body providing leadership in social
policy development, advocacy and community services on behalf of all older people
of New South Wales. A key service provided by COTA (NSW) is that of community
education across a range of health related issues. Our team of trained volunteer
Peer Educators are available to community groups and organisations free of charge.

Targeting older people, beyondblue, the national depression initiative, is currently
rolling out its beyond maturityblues program across Australia. This is being done
through state and territory branches of COTA and their community Peer Education

Depression in older people is common and may occur for different reasons. Through
aiding in the early recognition of the signs of depression, we can assist people to
seek help and recover faster. Community sessions provided by COTA (NSW) will
help increase knowledge about depression and encourage early intervention and
support. The sessions aim to decrease the stigma around depression and
demonstrate to people that it is not a normal part of ageing. Older people may be at
risk of depression due to:
    • An increase in physical health problems such as heart disease, stroke and
    • Chronic pain
    • Side effects from medications,
    • Losses – relationships, independence, work and income mobility
    • Social isolations
    • Injury through falls
    • Significant changes in living arrangements such as moving from independent
        living to a care setting

Older people often do not talk about their symptoms or associate them with
depression and may not seek treatment. The good news is that safe and effective
treatments are available. These include lifestyle, exercise and diet changes which
are often helpful in preventing depression or in alleviating mild depression.
Alternatively, there are effective counselling and medical treatments which are safe
and effective and not addictive.

If you would like more information about the program, training as a volunteer Peer
Educator or require a guest speaker please call Suzanne Williams, COTA (NSW)
9286 3860 or free call 1800 449 102 (for NSW country callers)
                  News From Older Men’s Groups

The Griffith Shed for Men was set up late last year but was officially
launched on Friday 4th May among a large crowd which gathered to
celebrate. Murrumbidgee MP Adrian Piccoli officially opened the Shed
with the hammering of a nail. The main objective of the Shed is to have
a place for men to meet and develop new friends and mateship, to have
fun and do practical things. Activities within the Shed mainly consist of
woodworking, and we are currently producing wooden toys and other
similar items for charitable distribution. Membership is around 42 but is
expanding rapidly. The Shed at the Griffith Skills Training Centre is
open Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays from 9am to 4pm.

The Narrandera Group meets fortnightly on Mondays from 10am to
12pm at the local Library. We have 12 members who really enjoy the
group and look forward to each meeting. Visitors to the library often
hear heaps of laughter coming from that room in the corner where we
meet and wonder what is going on. We are very ably led by Neville

The Deniliquin Men’s Group have enjoyed a couple of special outings
                           recently. The first one was fishing in the
                           Edward River which was certainly
                           enjoyable. We seemed to feed the fish
                           well. Maybe next time we’ll even catch one
                           or two.

We have also visited the home of John & Jill Dickinson which is quite
magnificent and has a very large garden and sheds to hold all their
vehicles. In all they had 9 beautifully
kept and maintained cars of different
models, makes and ages which included
a 74 Mazda Ute; 56 & 66 Jaguars;
48 Rover; 60 & 98 Rolls Royce’s;
77 Lincoln; and a 78 Cadillac.
It was an education for us all as well
a step back in time.
The Wagga Men’s Carers Support Group was formed in June 1998 to
enable male carers to meet in an atmosphere of confidentiality and
friendship. We consist of men who are currently or have been caring for
a loved one. All meetings are conducted in strict confidentiality. Guest
speakers and outings are also scheduled throughout the year.
Meetings take place at The Forrest Centre, Aged Care Services on the
first Monday of each month at 2pm. For further information contact
John Dent or Geoff Miller.

Riverina Murray Older Men’s Groups Contacts:
Margaret Dalmau has recently updated the list of contacts for the various
older men’s groups that currently meet in the Riverina Murray. A
recommendation from the April Riverina Murray Older Men’s Group
Meeting was that this list be distributed with the next newsletter so all the
groups can have a copy. If any of the details on the list are wrong or
you know of other groups that should be included please let Margaret
Dalmau know on 02 6932 3020.

Recommended Reading:
A book written by Dr Tony Kidman published in 2006 and has been
recommended as a good read.

“Feeling Better - A Guide to Mood Management” 2nd Edition
Published by Tower Books and costs approximately $14.00.

The book aims to teach people to recognise and challenge negative
thinking that can lead to depressed thinking and behaviour and also how
to manage depression. Dr Kidman has stated that depression is the
common cold of mental disorders and that all of us may suffer from
depression in some form during our lives.

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