Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA May-Jun 2014 Contents Nominate Australia's best in
aged care for national honours
Issued by H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd ABN 66 006 818 695 AFSL No.235249 Trustee of Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) ABN 64 971 749 321.
The search for Australia's top contributors
to aged care has begun, with nominations
open for the 2014 HESTA Aged Care Awards.
HESTA is recognising those who
demonstrate innovation, leadership and
dedication in the aged care sector.
The winners of the HESTA Aged Care Awards
will share in a $30,000 prize pool, generously
provided by long-term awards supporter,
Nominations are open until Friday,
30 May 2014.
HESTA CEO, Anne-Marie Corboy, said the
awards are an opportunity to recognise
the important contribution aged care
professionals make in improving the lives of
"People working in this sector provide a
wide range of services, from keeping older
people healthy and living independently,
to preventing and managing illness and
providing high-level care to the frail," Ms
Three award categories --- Outstanding
Organisation, Team Innovation and Individual
Distinction --- acknowledge the breadth of
services being provided to older Australians.
The 2013 winners
Team Innovation: The Better Together
Cottage Team --- from Wahroonga Aged
Care in Glen Waverley, Victoria --- for a pilot
program designed to make residents feel
more relaxed in a homely environment.
Outstanding Organisation: RSL Care
Brisbane, for maintaining services in RSL
Care homes in Queensland following the
devastating flood emergency precipitated by
Individual Distinction: Mrs Helen Williamson
--- aged 78, from Bankstown, NSW --- for her
40 years as a volunteer supporting the work
of the Bankstown City Aged Care facility.
Ms Corboy encouraged people to nominate
people working in aged care they admired as
soon as possible.
Finalists will be announced in July 2014, with
interstate finalists flown to Melbourne for
the awards dinner on 5 August 2014.
HESTA is the leading super fund for health
and community services, with more than
770,000 members and $27 billion in assets.
More people in health and community
services choose HESTA for their super.
NOMINATE NOW at hestaawards.com.au
A "SMALL BUT SIGNIFICANT"
proportion of female carers
experience death thoughts, a
new study has found, adding to
the growing body of evidence
on suicide-related thoughts and
behaviours in carers.
The research from Griffith
University found that 7.1 per cent
of female carers had felt life was
not worth living, also known as
having death thoughts, in the
previous week, compared with
5.7 per cent of non-carers.
"Carers with death thoughts
had poorer physical and mental
health, higher levels of anxiety,
lower levels of optimism and
reported less social support,"
said the research, published in
the journal Maturitas.
The research used data from
the fifth survey of the Australian
Longitudinal Study on Women's
Health, of which 10,528 women
aged between 56 and 61
answered questions on caring
and death thoughts. Of these,
3,077 were classified as carers.
Lead author, Dr Siobhan
O'Dwyer from Griffith University,
said the study backed previous
research when it highlighted that
depression was a significant
predictor for thinking about suicide.
The latest research found
that 80 per cent of carers who
had experienced death thoughts
also met the cut-off for clinically
significant depressive symptoms,
compared to 22 per cent of
carers who had not experienced
"Screening for depression
among carers might be an
important first step in reducing
suicide risk in this group, and
that's something easily done via
a range of health professionals,"
Dr O'Dwyer told AAA.
Another important finding
was that nearly three-quarters of
carers who had not experienced
death thoughts reported being
satisfied with their caring role.
Dr O'Dwyer described this as "a
novel finding", as research and
policy over the past 40 years had
focussed on carer burden.
"We often forget that some
carers are quite satisfied with
the role and are quite happy with
what they're doing," she said,
adding that it was important
to strike a balance
and supporting carers
who were struggling
and learning from those
who were coping well.
research, the study
also found that
perceptions of social
support were an
among carers. Dr
O'Dwyer said the issue wasn't
the amount of social support,
but rather how carers perceived
it. "Do they feel it's the right sort
of social support? Is it frequent
enough? Their perceptions of it
are the key thing."
Importantly, the study highlighted
key issues that the researchers
said warrant further exploration.
For example, the study noted
that the caring role "may not be
the cause of, but rather the catalyst
for death thoughts", as previous
research found that the majority
of carers who had contemplated
suicide had experienced mental
health problems prior to
becoming a carer.
"We think that
for some people
they might have had
stresses or issues in
their life before they
became carers, and
then caring is just the
straw that breaks the
camel's back and that's
when suicidal thoughts
crop up. But that's
something that needs much more
exploration," Dr O'Dwyer said.
FOCUS ON WOMEN
Dr O'Dwyer said that an
opportunity to focus on female
carers was a particular impetus
behind the study, as no previous
research had focused solely on
women, despite the fact they were
the majority of informal carers.
The paper, Feeling that life is
not worth living (death thoughts)
among middle-aged, Australian
women providing unpaid care, by
O'Dwyer, Wendy Moyle, Nancy
Pachana, Billy Sung and Susan
Barrett, was published in April. n
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Focus on suicide risk in carers By Darragh O'Keeffe
Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer
www.australianageingagenda.com.au | 11
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