“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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The 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 email@example.com 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 September. 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 teams. 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 dementia • 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 GRIFFITH MEN’S SHED 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. NARRANDERA OMNI GROUP 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 Richens. DENILIQUIN OLDER MEN’S GROUP 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. WAGGA MEN’S CARERS SUPPORT GROUP 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.