From the CEO

It's hard to believe it is already March. We have a very long issue for you this month after a busy start to 2017. If there is anything you would like to see in future issues or if your organisation would like to submit an article for consideration please feel free to contact us on 6231 3265 or by email
Would you like to be more actively involved with COTA Tasmania?

COTA TAS currently has 3 vacancies on its Tasmanian Policy Council. If you are passionate about encouraging our community to think positively about ageing and championing the rights and interests of older Tasmanians we would love to hear from you!
Our policy council is made up of a fantastic group of people who work together to:
  • identify and research issues impacting older Tasmanians, and
  • support COTA’s advocacy role to make change in our community
We are always keen to have a diverse range of views represented in policy council discussions and encourage people from a wide range of backgrounds and interests to apply.
If you would like to express your interest in becoming a member of the policy council it would be appreciated if you could tell us about your experience in relation to the following criteria and send it to COTA Tasmania (att: Deb Lewis) by Friday 10 March.
Desirable Skills and Attributes for Policy Council Members:
  1. Knowledge of issues relating to, and impacting on, older Tasmanians
  2. Skills and or experience in policy and strategy development
  3. Well developed communication and interpersonal skills
  4. Well developed community and/or government networks
If you are interested in more information about the policy council please contact Deb Lewis on 6231 3265 or by email on
Launceston Coffee and Chat

We kicked off 2017 with a meeting in Launceston to share information on topics of interest to older people. It was great to hear from everyone who came along, there was plenty of discussion on a wide range of issues. Special thanks to COTA TAS Board Member, Glenda Daly, for initiating this event. Our next meeting will be held in April, if you would like to attend please contact our office on 6231 3265 or email
Seniors Week highlights the Great Outdoors 

The popular annual Seniors Week program in October will this year feature an over-arching “outdoors” theme where participants will be encouraged to attend events in Tasmania’s abundant parks and reserves.

COTA is collaborating with the state’s National Parks and Wildlife Service to encourage the development of new outdoor events to be held during Seniors Week. The collaboration will commence with the official launch event - now traditionally held two weeks ahead of Seniors Week in early October – being held in a popular national park near Hobart.

The launch event will be open to the public as well as invited guests and will feature activities showcasing some of the wonderful, easily accessible outdoor leisure options in Tasmania, plus story-telling, musical entertainment, food stalls, discovery tours and local walks. More details and invitations will be released closer to the event  

 “Tasmania has an abundance of stunning, world-class parks and reserves with many just minutes from major population areas,” says COTA CEO Sue Leitch.

“We have learned that many Tasmanians aren’t aware just how easily accessible and ‘senior-friendly’ many of our parks and reserves are.

“Our research identified an appetite among patrons for more outdoor gentle leisure options during Seniors Week.  So we are working hard to try to include these types of events in our 2017 Seniors Week program."  

Registrations to conduct official Seniors Week events of all descriptions in all areas are most welcome. Registrations open online via the COTA website on 3 April, closing 30 June with the official events guide commencing distribution in early September. Contact the COTA TAS office for more information.
Changes to Home Care Packages

From 27 February 2017, if you choose to change Home Care providers, your package funding will move with you. This applies to existing home care package recipients and to new clients.
If you are happy with the services you are getting, you don’t need to do anything.
If you are a new client, you will be prioritised for a home care package based on your assessed care needs. If you already have a home care package, it will be easier to change providers if you move to live in another area or you are looking for a better fit.
Before making a decision to change your service provider, you will need to review your Home Care Agreement to make sure you are aware of any fees and conditions. Providers are able to charge an exit fee to cover any administration costs they may incur. This has to be agreed between you and your provider and will be included in your Home Care Agreement.
Hints and tips:
  • Check out your options for alternative service providers first
  • Contact My Aged Care and request that your referral code is re-activated
  • Ask your current provider to explain their exit fees
If you would like some additional information on the process for Changing Home Care Providers contact COTA for a copy of our Help Sheet on 6231 3265 or by email at
Nursing Home Residents Deserve Better Access to Mental Health Care

Over 170 000 older Australians living in residential aged care are ineligible to access mental health services when they need them. Why? Because the Better Access to Mental Health Care program, introduced in 2006, excludes aged care residents.
This must change.

To sign COTA Australia’s petition and join the campaign click here.
Are you interested in Dementia Friendly Communities?

Researchers from the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre will be holding a community forum about dementia friendly communities on Tuesday 11 April from 11:30am - 2:30pm at The Italian Club, 77 Federal St, North Hobart. People living with dementia or carers of people living with dementia are encouraged to attend. The forum is free of charge and a light lunch will be provided.

For more information or to register contact Helen Courtney-Pratt on 6226 4289 or email
Centrelink Debt Recovery – have you been affected?

If you are one of the many people who have received a debt recovery notice from Centrelink we would like to hear from you. A new automated online system used to compare income records with Australian Tax Office records has resulted in a large number of people being issued with debt recovery notices, many of which are incorrect.
Information collected by COTA will be used to inform the parliamentary inquiry, and all responders will remain anonymous. If you have been affected please contact our offices either by phone 6231 3265 or by email
If you have received a debt recovery notice and are unsure what to do next you can contact Centrelink on 1800 086 400.
Free Hearing Checks

The Australian Hearing Bus has kicked off its national bus tour and will be visiting Burnie, Devonport, Ulverstone and Pontville during February and March. Further dates to be announced for southern Tasmania. For a list of upcoming locations and times click this link
Who do I call after hours?

Primary Health Tasmania has just launched a new education and awareness campaign to guide Tasmanians to the best options for after hours medical care. If you need care at night, over the weekend or on a public holiday you can call Tas After Hours on 1800 022 222 and speak to a registered nurse. The telephone service is free. For more information go to the Tas After Hours website.
Official supporter of 26TEN

COTA Tasmania is pleased to announce that we have recently become an official supporter of 26TEN Tasmania. 26TEN is a program that aims to improve literacy and numeracy throughout Tasmania to ensure everyone has the skills they need for work and life. Sadly one in two adult Tasmanians don’t have the basic skills needed to fully engage with family, community and work. Every day tasks such as reading a label or filling out a form can create high levels of anxiety leading to isolation and depression.
We are very excited to be part of the 26TEN family and our staff look forward to putting the program into action. If you would like more information about 26TEN and where you can access the program call 1300 002 610 or visit their website
Join the fun with Healthy Hobart!

From February 16 to April 13, the City of Hobart is running free activities for people of all ages and abilities. Some of the activities on offer include mobility & stability sessions designed to improve your mobility, core strength, balance and flexibility, heritage walks, orienteering, tennis and surf lifesaving. To view the event guide click here.
Golf Disability Clinic

Empower Golf is a not-for-profit organisation that makes it possible for people with a disability to access golf. One of their initiatives is to establish Empower Golf Hubs which are golf facilities that have committed to provide the following: 
  • access to club and course
  • education to golf professionals, staff and members
  • specialised equipment such as gripping solutions, ParaGolfers (a purpose built electric wheelchair that stands an individual up and manoeuvres them into the correct position to swing the golf club) etc
  • promoting the inclusivity of golf to their local community

Empower Golf will be holding their first clinics in Tasmania on the following dates:

Devonport Mon 6 March, 2:30-4:30pm
Launceston Tue 7 March, 9am-11am
Hobart Wed 8 March 12-2pm

Clinics are free of charge, places are limited. For more information click here.
The Ageing Workforce Cluster Program

Partners in Change have designed a four-month program that enables organisations to develop a full understanding of their ageing workforce, the risks and opportunities they face and to design a strategy and action plan specifically for their organisation.

Each cluster will comprise of 7-8 organisations that learn and work together.

Who should attend
  • Business Owners
  • Operations Managers
  • Human Resources and WHS Specialists
  • Local/State/Federal Government Workforce Planning and Development Officers

At the conclusion of the program participant organisations will have
1. Undertaken an analysis of their workforce and customer demographics
2. Reviewed their policies and practices for age friendliness
3. Gained insights into the needs of their mature aged employees and customers
4. Identified their unique business risks and opportunities
5. Formulated targeted strategies to manage their risks and opportunities
6. Developed an action plan

For more information contact Partners in Change
Still want more? The following list of resources may be of interest:

Online videos:
TED Talks - Aubrey de Grey
Australian Human Rights Commission, The Power of Oldness,
Driving Miss Daisy, The Bucket List, As good as it gets, Still Alice, On Golden Pond, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Straight Story, Wild Strawberries, Away from her, Strangers in Good Company, Amour, Flights Up, Calendar Girls, Bridges of Madison County, Fried Green Tomatoes, Grumpy Old Men, Hope Springs, Iris, Something’s Gotta Give, Still Mine, The Notebook, The Savages, The Company you Keep.

List of 25 fiction books with ageing as a theme,

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
Blue Nights by Joan Didion
Winter Journal by Paul Auster
Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill
The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty by Carolyn G. Heilbrun
How Australia’s ageing population threatens our democracy – The Conversation,
25 Famous Women on Getting Older – The Cut,
Australian Human Rights Commission, Fact or Fiction? Stereotypes of Older Australians, Research Report, 2013,
COTA Tasmania is a registered ACNC charity providing education, advocacy and support to all older Tasmanians.

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