News in brief

A round up of industry news including an environmentally friendly retirement village, food alert, research, and educational events.

Compiled by Natasha Egan

In this post:

  • Developer reaching for the green stars
  • Seniors rationing pills due to financial constraints
  • Salmonella alert – check cupboards for almonds
  • A new treatment for untreatable depression
  • Four days until AAG’s first educational webinar
  • Addressing depression in aged care residents

One of Stockland’s Green Star designed villas for a new retirement village in southeast Melbourne 

Developer reaching for the green stars

A retirement complex in southeast Melbourne is striving for a Green Star rating with a design aimed at offering retirees a cost-effective yet healthy and active lifestyle.

The Clyde North retirement village, which is part of Selandra Rise residential community, will comprise 214 seven star energy rated villas and apartments.

The developer, Stockland, is using principles from a custom Green Star rating tool, which was developed in conjunction with the Green Building Council of Australia, to guide the project.

Stockland sustainability manager Ramana James said the village’s design allows retirees the comforts and conveniences they need while saving money on day-to-day living costs.

Insulation, glazing, and good home orientation mean homes require less heating and cooling. Water-saving systems further reduce the villages’ environmental impact, he said.

Community facilities such as a shopping centre, medical centre, car share schemes, and a community place are either already in place or planned planned for the residential community.

See Stockland’s retirement living page for more details.

Seniors rationing pills due to financial constraints

Australian seniors are skipping medications due to financial hardship, according to a National Seniors survey presented at a Medicines Australia conference in Sydney today.

Over 3000 people aged 50-plus took part in the survey. And findings suggest those in the 50 to 64 age group are doing it tougher than their older counterparts.

Almost one in three respondents aged 50 to 64 reported financial strain because of prescription medicines over the preceding five years. 

Of those, 21 per cent reported rationing their medication as a result, 41 sought cheaper alternatives, and 18 per cent skipped filling a prescription.

However, only 12 per cent of respondents experiencing financial strain in the 65-plus cohort reported pill rationing, 33 per cent sought cheaper alternatives, and 6 per cent chose not to fill a prescription.

Just over half of respondents (55 per cent) said a loss of government subsidies that lead to increased drug costs will influence their vote.

Salmonella alert – check cupboards for almonds

Australian consumers are being asked to check their raw almond supplies for recalled products following an outbreak of Salmonella gastroenteritis linked to a batch of almonds.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) reported two recalls have already taken place – one by Woolworths nationally and a similar one by Flannerys in southeast Queensland. 

There have been 27 confirmed or suspected salmonellosis cases across six states and territories linked to recalled almonds.

FSANZ advises consumers should dispose of remaing almonds of opened recalled packets. Unopened packets can be returned to the store for a full refund. 

Salmonella is most serious for those with weaker immune systems, such as the very young and the elderly, the FSANZ warned. 

The recalled products were supplied by Select Harvests and sold as:

  • Woolworths Almond Kernels with best before dates 05/02/12; 06/04/13;12/04/13
  • Flannerys Own Almonds in 500gm and 1kg zip-lock bags with best before dates from 02/07/13 to 05/10/13


A new treatment for untreatable depression

Researchers from the Monash Psychiatry Research Centre are investigating the effectiveness of Magnetic Seizure Therapy (MST) on people with depression who are resistant to traditional treatment.

The centre’s deputy director and lead researcher, Professor Paul Fitzgerald, said one in five Australians will suffer from depression in their lifetime. About 30 per cent of sufferers are resistant to traditional methods. 

MST is brain-stimulation technique that researchers hope to find has a similar clinical affect to Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) but without its negative side effects.

ECT is the current method used for treatment resistant patients but comes with memory-related side effects.

Early indications of the beyondblue and the National Health and Medical Research Council funded study are positive.

Results show 40 per cent of participants have an overall improvement and 30 per cent some improvement. And most importantly, no participants have reported cognitive side effects.

Four days until AAG’s first educational webinar

The Australian Association of Gerontology is calling for people to sign up for next Monday’s educational webinar, Housing Australia’s Ageing Population: Current Trends and Future Challenges.

The one-hour event is their first in a series and kicks off at 1pm AEST on Monday October 29. 

It’s free for members and costs $20 for non-members.

Factors influencing an older person’s housing decision; an evaluation on need and supply of more supportive housing environments; and an investigation of strategies to bridge the gap between the aged care, retirement and community housing sectors, are the topics on the event’s agenda.

The AAG’s Professor Julie Byles will host the session along with Dr Catherine Bridge from the University of NSW and Barbara Squires, head of research and advocacy for aged services provider, IRT.

See the AAG website’s events page for details and registration.

Addressing depression in aged care residents

The Victorian branch of Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) has teamed up with beyondblue to deliver a workshop on identifying and managing depression and anxiety in aged care residents.

The course aims to raise awareness and provide care staff, supervisors and managers with the skills and strategies needed to better care for residents.

Understanding depression and anxiety disorders in older people in residential care is part of beyondblue’s Professional Education Aged Care Program.

The course content will cover how a staff member’s work can affect a resident’s mental health; offer solution strategies; reporting processes; and referral pathways, according to the event flyer.

The next three-hour workshop is on Wednesday 28 November. The cost is $160 for members and $190 for non-members.

See the LASA Victoria workshop page for more details.

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