Aged, Health and Disability

Specialist Information

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Aged care

Growing older often makes it difficult to manage with day-to-day living activities. If you need, or are caring for a friend or family member who needs assistance, it can be confusing to know what assistance you can get and understand all the different medical terms or types of services provided. However, there are many different types of aged care services available to support you, whatever your needs.

The My Aged Care website has been established by the Australian Government to help you navigate the aged care system. The Gateway is part of the 10 year Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package designed to give people more choice, more control and easier access to a full range of aged care services.

This website includes an explanation for all the different types of assistance available, on the What Help Can I Get page, which includes information for people still living at home or living in supported accommodation or an aged care facility. It also lets you search for a service and explains how to apply for assistance and the eligibility criteria.

Web link  http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/
Call  1800 200 422; TIS National on 131 450

Alzheimers/Dementia

Alzheimer's Australia is the peak body providing support and advocacy for the more than 321,000 Australians living with dementia. Alzheimer's Australia offers support, information, education and counselling.

Web link  http://www.alzheimers.org.au
Call  1800 100 500
Email   nat.admin@alzheimers.org.au

Arthritis Victoria and Osteoporosis Victoria

Arthritis Victoria provides support and assistance to Victorians living with arthritis and more than 100 musculoskeletal conditions. Providing a Victorian musculoskeletal community directory offering listings of arthritis services, health services (including community health, hospitals, doctors, allied health, complementary services, and cultural resources), and active living services and resources. Call 1800 011 041.

Web link  http://www.arthritisvic.org.au
Call  03 8531 8000 or Toll Free 1800 011 041
Email  afv@arthritisvic.org.au

beyondblue

beyondblue is working to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the community by raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience.

Their website has lots of information about anxiety and depression including 'the facts' and how to get support. It also has lots of resources and ways to connect with others experiencing anxiety or depression, either in person or online.

Web link  http://www.beyondblue.org.au
Call  1300 22 4636

BlueBoard

BlueBoard is an online community for people suffering from depression or anxiety, their friends and carers, and for those who are concerned that they may have depression or anxiety and want some support.

Web link  http://www.blueboard.anu.au

Cancer Council Victoria

As Australia's peak national non-government cancer control organisation, Cancer Council Australia advises the Australian Government and other bodies on practices and policies to help prevent, detect and treat cancer. We also advocate for the rights of cancer patients for best treatment and supportive care.

Web link  http://www.cancervic.org.au
Call  13 11 20
Email  enquiries@cancervic.org.au

HIV/AIDS

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) is the national federation for the HIV community response. They provide leadership, co-ordination and support to the Australia's policy, advocacy and health promotion response to HIV/AIDS.

Their website has lots of useful information including: what to know about if you have just been diagnosed with HIV or if you are living with HIV; how to tell family or friends; when to legally disclose your medical condition; medical information and also what to think about when travelling. The website also has a library section, resources for health professionals and details of key conferences and events.

Web link  http://www.afao.org.au/
Call  02 9557 9399

Incontinence

The Continence Foundation of Australia promotes bladder and bowel health. Our vision is to have a community free of the stigma and restrictions of incontinence.

Their website has lots of useful information about bladder and bowel health; explaining what incontinence is; where to get assistance and support from; and events. They also have resources and information for health professionals.

Web link  http://www.continence.org.au
Call  1300 33 00 66
Email  info@continence.org.au

Medication – National Prescribing Service (NPS)

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) provides provides practical tools and information about medicines, health conditions and medical tests. NPS gives individuals the tools and knowledge to help them make better decisions about their health and medicines and keep health professionals up to date with the latest evidenced-based information.

Their website has lots of information about different medical conditions; what type of medicine gets prescribed matched to medical conditions; understanding medical tests and details for the different types of tests to assist in diagnosing or monitoring a medical condition. The site also has useful information on how patients can look after their own health such as how to be medicinewise, keeping a medicine list and healthy lifestyle choices.

Web link  http://www.nps.org.au
Call  1300 633 424

Mental health

beyondblue is working to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the community by raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience.

SANE Australia is a national charity helping all Australians affected by mental illness lead a better life – through campaigning, education and research.

The Mental Health Foundation of Australia (Victoria) is the oldest Mental Health Association in Australia, established in 1930. It is an organisation of professionals, sufferers, families of sufferers, related organisations concerned with mental health and concerned members of the public. The Mental Health Foundation of Australia (Victoria) is part of the national and international mental health movement.

Mental Health Foundation of Australia

The Mental Health Foundation of Australia (Victoria) is the oldest Mental Health Association in Australia, established in 1930. It is an organisation of professionals, sufferers, families of sufferers, related organisations concerned with mental health and concerned members of the public. The Mental Health Foundation of Australia (Victoria) is part of the national and international mental health movement.

Their website has a 'mental health explained' and 'a medicine explained' section; information about your privacy as a patient, how to find the right doctor for you; what to tell your friends, family or employer; and personal stories of mental illness. They also provide links to all the organisations providing support listed by the mental health condition (ie anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, grief and loss etc); and also to advocacy services and supports lines ie for suicide prevention.

Web link  http://www.mentalhealthvic.org.au
Call  03 9826 1422
Email  admin@mentalhealthvic.org.au

Older driver safety

Victoria does not require a driver to pass a licence test when they reach a certain age e.g. 65 or 70. However, there may come a time when it will be necessary for you to reduce or cease driving. When considering whether to reduce or cease driving, the advice of your doctor and other health professionals is very important.

Information for older drivers who want to continue driving safely and be alert to changes that may make it unsafe to drive can be found on VicRoads website.

The VicRoads site has information on medical conditions; driving when taking medicine; a safe driving checklist; and your legal obligations. It also explains how to apply for a ‘conditional’ driver’s license which lets you keep driving but within agreed limits (ie the times of day you drive, or how close to home you drive) instead of having to stop driving entirely.

Web link  http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/SafetyAndRules/SaferDrivers/Older+drivers
Call  13 11 71

Palliative Care Australia

Palliative care is for people living with an advanced or life-threatening illness to improve their quality of life, including providing support to the patients family or carers. Palliative care can include controlling pain; keeping the patient comfortable; and providing psychological, social, cultural, spiritual or emotional support.

Palliative care can be provided during the last days or weeks of a person’s life or as soon as the patient knows a cure is not possible such as cancer, or end-stages of lung and kidney diseases, motor-neurone disease or dementia. The care can be provided in the patients home, in hospital, a residential car service or in a hospice.

The Palliative Care Victoria website provides information for patients, families and carers about what palliative care is; dying and death; and grief and loss. They also have an easy to use 'finder' to search for a palliative care service near the patients home and also contacts for palliative care services provided interstate.

Palliative Care Australia is the national organisation representing the interests and aspirations of all who share the ideal of quality care at the end of life.

Specialist palliative care providers have specialist knowledge, skills and expertise in the care of patients, their families, carers and communities, who are living with and dying from a terminal condition.

Their website has information and resources for health professionals and organisations providing palliative care.

Web link  http://www.palliativecare.org.au/
Call  02 6232 4433
Email  pcainc@palliativecare.org.au

Quit Smoking

Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals including:

  • Nicotine – an addictive drug that affects brain and muscle activity and increases your blood pressure, making your heart work harder
  • Carbon monoxide – a poisonous gas that replaces oxygen in your blood, making your heart beat faster
  • Tar – a sticky substance that coats your lungs like soot in a chimney, making it harder for you to breathe, and that contains dozens of chemicals that cause cancer.

If you smoke, your risk of:
  • Heart attack is increased by two to six times
  • Coronary heart disease is increased if you are a woman using the contraceptive pill
  • Stroke is increased by three times
  • Peripheral arterial disease, which can lead to gangrene, is increased by more than five times.

Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, strokes and blood vessel diseases (known as cardiovascular diseases). Smoking kills more than 15,000 Australians a year, with 40% of these deaths due to these cardiovascular diseases. While second hand smoking (passive smoking) is also a series health hazard.

For more information about the effect smoking has on your health, go to http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Smoking_and_heart_disease_the_facts.

For assistance with quitting smoking, go to the Quit Victoria website for lots of tips and advice including: links to support services; how to prepare for giving up smoking; managing any setbacks in giving up smoking; and staying a ‘non-smoker’.

Web link  http://www.quit.org.au
Call  13 7848

Respite Care

If you are caring for a friend or family member and need a break, then respite services can provide assistance to you and sometimes also to the person you are caring for. As with aged care services, there are many different types and organisations providing respite throughout Victoria.

The My Aged Care website has information about respite, however the Respite Victoria website established by the Department of Human Services provides local information about respite for carers and people with a disability. The site has information about respite and how to check if you are eligible for carer respite; and links to the eight regional disability respite websites in Victoria. Each of these regional website has details for local service providers, news and events.

If you would like telephone assistance, then the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres are available throughout Victoria as a first point of contact for all carers seeking support and urgent respite; or if you are seeking information about disability, aged, community support, and respite services in your local area. You can call 1800 052 222 from anywhere in Australia and you will be connected to the closest centre, to where you are calling from.

Web link  http://www.respitevictoria.org.au/
Call  1800 052 222

SANE Australia

SANE Australia is a national charity helping all Australians affected by mental illness lead a better life – through campaigning, education and research.

Their website has an information section that includes lots of useful 'fact sheets' and podcasts including: understanding different mental health conditions; drugs and mental illnesses; suicide prevention; medicines; healthy living; and the 'something is not quite right' checklist. They also have peer support groups; and information about the stigma of mental health illnesses and how to address it.

Web link  http://www.sane.org
Call  1800 18 7263
Email  info@sane.org

Seniors' Rights

Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as family or friends. Seniors have rights and Seniors Rights Victoria have experienced advocates and legal advisors who provide a welcoming and respectful environment where older people can talk confidentially about their experiences and choose their preferred course of action.

Seniors Rights Victoria's services include a Helpline, specialist legal services, short-term support and advocacy for individuals and community education. They also provide information, support, advice and education to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights, dignity and independence of older people.

Web link  http://www.seniorsrights.org.au
Call  1300 368 821
Email  info@seniorsrights.org.au