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We have too few aged care workers to care for older Australians. Why? And what can we do about it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>In a country like Australia, we all expect that when we get old, we’ll be able to rely on a robust aged care system. But aged care providers can’t find staff and a crisis is brewing.</p> <p>If the problem isn’t fixed, there are serious risks to quality and access to services for older people who need support. There are also broader social, economic and political consequences for undervaluing the rapidly expanding health and social assistance workforce.</p> <p>Aged care <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/10/2020-aged-care-workforce-census.pdf">employs</a> around 420,000 people. Around 80% of those are front line staff providing care and demand for them is increasing rapidly.</p> <h2>Australians are ageing</h2> <p>The number of people aged 80 and over is <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-03/IGR_2010_Overview.pdf">projected to double</a> by 2050. At the same time, informal family care is becoming less available. In the next 25 years, <a href="https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/executive/shortfall-of-400000-aged-care-workers-predicted-by-2050/">twice as many</a> aged care staff will be needed.</p> <p>Currently, about 1.4 million older people <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australians/contents/aged-care">receive</a> aged care services, including basic and more intensive home care and residential care.</p> <p>Health care and social support job vacancies and ads are the highest of any industry. Between 30,000 and 35,000 additional direct aged care workers a year are already needed. By 2030 the <a href="https://cedakenticomedia.blob.core.windows.net/cedamediacontainer/kentico/media/attachments/ceda-duty-of-care-3.pdf">shortfall</a> is likely to be 110,000 full time equivalent workers.</p> <h2>Why don’t enough people want to work in aged care?</h2> <p>Despite recent <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/aged-care-workforce/what-were-doing/better-and-fairer-wages">pay increases</a>, it is difficult to attract and retain aged care workers because the work is under-valued.</p> <p>The Australian workforce is undergoing profound change. A generation ago, manufacturing made up 17% of the workforce. Today it has fallen to 6%. By contrast, the health care and social assistance workforce has doubled from 8% to 16%.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The manufacturing workforce has declined, while health, aged care and social assistance has risen.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">ABS 6291.0.55.001 Labour Force, Australia.</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Manufacturing jobs were <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Manufacturing-Briefing-Paper-FINAL.pdf">mainly</a> secure, full-time, reasonably paid jobs dominated by male workers.</p> <p>By contrast, jobs in aged care are often insecure, part-time and poorly paid, dominated by women, with many workers coming from non-English speaking backgrounds.</p> <p>Since moving to take over aged care in the 1980s, the federal government has over-emphasised <a href="https://arena.org.au/a-genealogy-of-aged-care/">cost constraint</a> through service privatisation, activity-based funding and competition, often under the cover of consumer choice.</p> <p>The result is a highly fragmented and poorly coordinated aged care sector with almost 3,200, often small and under-resourced providers centrally funded and regulated from Canberra.</p> <p>This has <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/a-matter-of-care-australia-s-aged-care-workforce-strategy.pdf">led to</a> high levels of casualisation, low investment in training and professional development, and inadequate supervision, particularly in the home care sector.</p> <p>Aged care is facing a perfect storm. Demand for care and support staff is increasing dramatically. The sector is poorly coordinated and difficult to navigate. Pay and conditions remain poor and the workforce is relatively untrained. There are no minimum standards or registration requirements for many front-line aged care staff.</p> <h2>What are the consequences?</h2> <p>An understaffed and under-trained aged care workforce reduces access to services and the quality of care and support.</p> <p>Aged care providers <a href="https://www.agedhealth.com.au/content/compliance-and-governance/news/troubled-outlook-for-aged-care-reforms-1224428737#:%7E:text=Its%20report%20found%20that%2053.8,was%20%22impossible%20to%20achieve%22.">routinely report</a> it is difficult to attract staff and they can’t meet the growing demand for services from older people.</p> <p>Staff shortages are already having an impact on residential care occupancy rates falling, with some regional areas now down to only 50% occupancy.</p> <p>That means older people either don’t get care or they are at increased risk of neglect, malnutrition, avoidable hospital admissions and a poorer quality of life.</p> <p>Inevitably, lack of aged care workers puts pressure on hospital services when older people have nowhere else to go.</p> <h2>What needs to be done?</h2> <p>Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach. Australia will need a massive increase in the number of aged care workers and the quality of the care they provide. Wages have to be competitive to attract and retain staff.</p> <p>But better pay and conditions is only part of the story. Unless aged care becomes a career the community recognises, values and supports, it will continue to be difficult to train, attract and retain staff.</p> <p>The recent <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care">Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety</a> highlighted the need for a more skilled workforce, emphasising the importance of ongoing professional development for all staff.</p> <p>To date the federal government’s aged care workforce initiatives have been underwhelming. They are a limited and piecemeal rather than a coherent workforce strategy.</p> <p>In the short term, skilled migration may be part of the solution. But progress to bring in skilled aged care workers has been glacial. Currently only about 1% of providers <a href="https://theconversation.com/overseas-recruitment-wont-solve-australias-aged-care-worker-crisis-189126">have agreements</a> to bring in staff from overseas. At best, overseas migration will meet only 10% of the workforce shortfall.</p> <p>Registration, qualifications and training for direct care work have to become mandatory to make sure care standards are met.</p> <p>Much more significant and systematic incentives and support for training will be needed. Supervision, career progression and staff development will also have to be dramatically improved if we are to attract and retain the workforce that is needed.</p> <p>“Learn and earn” incentives, including scholarships and traineeships for aged care, are needed to attract the future workforce.</p> <p>At the same time, a much broader investment in upskilling the entire workforce through continuing professional development and good quality supervision is necessary.</p> <p>Like manufacturing a generation ago, aged care needs to become valued, skilled, secure and well-paid employment if it is going to attract the staff that are needed to avoid a looming crisis.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232707/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, Emeritus Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-too-few-aged-care-workers-to-care-for-older-australians-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it-232707">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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Doctor shares her holy grail tips for overcoming eye sensitivity

<p>As the chill of winter sets in, many people find that their eyes become more sensitive and prone to dryness. This can be particularly challenging for those who already suffer from dry eye syndrome. </p> <p>Dr. Jacqueline Beltz is a leading Australian Ophthalmologist and the founder of <a href="https://www.okkiyo.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">OKKIYO</a>, a beauty brand that makes PRIORITEYES mascara for people with sensitive eyes.</p> <p>Dr Beltz has shared her insights into dry eye syndrome and how winter can exacerbate symptoms, also sharing her top tips for managing eye sensitivity during the colder months.</p> <p><strong>Understanding Dry Eye Syndrome</strong></p> <p>The surface of the eye is covered by a delicate layer of tears, essential for comfort, vision, protection, and nutrition. The tear film comprises two main layers: an outer lipid (oily) layer and an inner aqueous (watery) layer. The lipid layer, produced by oil glands in the eyelids, prevents tears from evaporating too quickly, while the aqueous layer, consisting of water, electrolytes, and proteins, spreads tears evenly across the eye and helps them adhere to the surface.</p> <p>When the balance of tear production, evaporation, absorption, and drainage is disrupted, it can lead to dry eye syndrome. Symptoms may include redness, irritation, a gritty sensation, tired eyes, itching, excessive watering, and fluctuating vision. In severe cases, dry eye can be painful and significantly impact daily life.</p> <p><strong>How common is dry eye syndrome?</strong></p> <p>Dry eye syndrome is a widespread issue, particularly among older adults. According to the Blue Mountains Eye Study, 57% of adults over the age of 50 experience some degree of dry eye. This condition is notably more prevalent in women, with higher rates observed compared to their male counterparts. The increased prevalence in women is often attributed to hormonal changes, particularly during and after menopause. </p> <p>A more recent study, Optometry Australia’s 2022 Vision index found that over 85% of Australians are estimated to have experienced dry eyes at some point in their lives.  Of those affected, 55% say they only developed the condition following the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.  They reported that almost 1 in 5 (18%) of people experience dry eye symptoms frequently.  </p> <p>These statistics highlight the importance of understanding and managing dry eye, especially as we age.</p> <p><strong>DEWS II Study and Treatment Approaches</strong></p> <p>The DEWS II (Dry Eye Workshop II) study provides a comprehensive framework for understanding and treating dry eye syndrome. According to the study, dry eye is a multifactorial disease characterised by a loss of homeostasis (or balance) in the tear film, accompanied by eye symptoms. Factors such as tear film instability, hyperosmolarity (increased saltiness), inflammation, and neurosensory (altered feelings or sensations) abnormalities play significant roles.</p> <p>There are two primary types of dry eye: aqueous deficient and evaporative. Most individuals have a combination of both. Aqueous deficient dry eye occurs when there is insufficient production of the watery layer of tears, often due to aging, hormonal changes, or certain medications. Evaporative dry eye is typically caused by environmental factors or conditions affecting the lipid layer, such as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).</p> <p><strong>Winter's Impact on Dry Eyes</strong></p> <p>Winter poses unique challenges for dry eye sufferers. Cold, dry air, indoor heating, and wind can all exacerbate symptoms. Here's how to combat these winter-specific issues:</p> <p><em><strong>1. Humidify Your Environment</strong></em></p> <p>Indoor heating reduces humidity levels, leading to increased tear evaporation. Consider using a humidifier to maintain moisture in the air, especially in bedrooms and living spaces. This helps keep your eyes hydrated.</p> <p><em><strong>2. Protect Your Eyes Outdoors</strong></em></p> <p>Cold winds can strip away the tear film. When outside, wear wraparound sunglasses to shield your eyes from the elements. This not only protects your eyes from the wind but also from UV rays, which can be strong even in winter.</p> <p><em><strong>3. Stay Hydrated</strong></em></p> <p>Dehydration can worsen dry eye symptoms. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain overall hydration, which supports healthy tear production.</p> <p><em><strong>4. Optimise Your Diet</strong></em></p> <p>Certain foods can promote eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon and flaxseeds, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage dry eye symptoms. Incorporate these into your diet for added benefits.</p> <p><em><strong>5. Use a Warm Compress</strong></em></p> <p>A warm compress can help improve the function of the meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of the tear film. This is particularly helpful for those with meibomian gland dysfunction, or MGD. Gently apply a warm, damp cloth to your closed eyelids for 10-15 minutes, followed by a gentle massage of the eyelids to encourage oil secretion. It is important to avoid rubbing or compressing the eyeballs.</p> <p><em><strong>6. Use Over-the-Counter Lubricant Eye Drops</strong></em></p> <p>Artificial tears can provide temporary relief by supplementing the natural tear film. Choose preservative-free options to avoid further irritation, and use them frequently.</p> <p><em><strong>7.  Remember to have regular eye checks</strong></em></p> <p>In Australia, Optometrists provide our primary eye health check ups. Dr Beltz recommends adults over the age of 40 see their optometrist once a year, but if you’re struggling with symptoms of dry eye in winter, an extra check up might help and your optometrist will be able to help you to come up with an individualised treatment plan.</p> <p><em><strong>8. Invest in Quality Eye Products</strong></em></p> <p>For those who wear makeup, using products designed for sensitive eyes is crucial. <a href="https://www.okkiyo.com/products/protect-and-preserve-mascara" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PRIORITEYES</a> mascara by OKKIYO has been specifically formulated to be gentle on sensitive eyes, avoiding common irritants while providing excellent performance.</p> <p><strong>Managing Dry Eye in Winter: A Recap</strong></p> <p>Winter can be tough on our eyes, but with the right strategies, you can manage dry eye symptoms effectively. Maintain a humid environment, protect your eyes from cold winds, stay hydrated, and incorporate eye-healthy foods into your diet. Regularly use warm compresses and opt for gentle, high-quality eye products like PRIORITEYES mascara.  </p> <p>Dry eye syndrome may be a common condition, but it doesn't have to dominate your life, especially during the harsh winter months. With these tips, you can keep your eyes comfortable and healthy all season long. For personalised advice and treatment, always consult with your eye care professional.</p> <p>Stay warm, stay hydrated and take care of your eyes this winter!</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Body

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New proposal would see child care cost just $10 per day

<p>In an incredibly promising step towards affordable and high-quality early childhood education, f<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">amilies in Australia could soon benefit from a significant reduction in costs – potentially paying just $10 a day for three days a week of high-quality care. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">This development is part of a broader push to reform the current, troubled system, driven by the Centre for Policy Development (CPD) and supported by various early learning and parenting groups.</span></p> <p>The CPD has introduced a comprehensive plan aimed at overhauling the existing system, proposing free or low-cost early learning for all children three days a week. A key aspect of their proposal includes replacing the current childcare subsidy with a "child-centred" funding model that directly finances early education centres.</p> <p>Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has endorsed the initiative, highlighting its significance in the national conversation on childcare, stating, “Universal child care provision, as it is in a range of other countries, is something that is a valued national asset. Early education is good for children, it’s good for families, but it’s also good for our economy.”</p> <p>Countries like Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway have successfully implemented legislated entitlements for early childhood services. Research indicates that where universal or low-cost education is available, participation rates are high, suggesting similar potential outcomes for Australia.</p> <p>Economic modelling by CPD suggests that universal or low-cost early learning could increase tax revenue by up to $3.2 billion annually and boost economic growth by $6.9 billion as more parents, particularly mothers, are able to work additional hours.</p> <p>The federal government is awaiting the final report from the Productivity Commission before making further decisions. Preliminary findings from this body and a separate investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have identified the current system as complex, costly and inconsistently available across the country.</p> <p>Andrew Hudson, CEO of the Centre for Policy Development, labelled the existing system as "broken", noting that about 22% of children start school developmentally vulnerable and over 120,000 children miss out on early learning entirely due to stringent activity test rules and other barriers.</p> <p>Hudson also pointed out that enabling more women to return to the workforce represents the "single biggest productivity gain" for the country, describing the proposal as a "classic win-win".</p> <p>As momentum builds, this initiative promises a brighter future for Australian families, making high-quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable, while delivering significant economic and social benefits.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Dog care below freezing − how to keep your pet warm and safe from cold weather, road salt and more this winter

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p>Time outside with your dog in the spring, summer and fall can be lovely. Visiting your favorite downtown café on a cool spring morning, going to a favorite dog park on a clear summer evening or going on walks along a river when the leaves are changing color are all wonderful when the weather is favorable. But in much of the country, when winter rolls around, previously hospitable conditions can <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-winter-miserable-for-wildlife-108734">quickly turn chilly and dangerous</a> for people and pups alike.</p> <p>Winter brings some unique challenges for dog owners, since dogs still need activity and socialization during colder seasons. Studies have shown that dog owners are almost 50% less likely to walk their dogs <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113302">when the weather gets cold</a>. Knowing the basics of winter safety is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog.</p> <p>I am an <a href="https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/erik-olstad">assistant professor</a> at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who weathered polar vortexes with my dog while living in Michigan early in my career. While I’ve since moved to sunny California, I’ve seen how quickly frigid temperatures can turn dangerous for pets.</p> <h2>Breed and age differences</h2> <p>Not all dogs have the same abilities to deal with cold weather. A short-coated dog like a Chihuahua is much more susceptible to the dangers of cold weather than a thick-coated husky. When the weather dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), the well-acclimated husky may be comfortable, whereas the Chihuahua would shiver and be at risk of hypothermia.</p> <p>Additionally, if your dog is used to warm weather, but you decide to move to a colder region, the dog will need time to acclimate to that colder weather, even if they have a thick coat.</p> <p>Age also affects cold-weather resilience. Puppies and elderly dogs can’t withstand the chill as well as other dogs, but every dog is unique – each may have individual health conditions or physical attributes that make them more or less resilient to cold weather.</p> <h2>When is my dog too cold?</h2> <p>Pet owners should be able to recognize the symptoms of a dog that is getting too cold. Dogs will shiver, and some may vocalize or whine. Dogs may resist putting their feet down on the cold ground, or burrow, or try to find warmth in their environment when they are uncomfortable.</p> <p>Just like people, <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">dogs can get frostbite</a>. And just like people, the signs can take days to appear, making it hard to assess them in the moment. The most common sites for frostbite in dogs are their ears and the tips of their tails. Some of the initial signs of frostbite are skin discoloring, turning paler than normal, or purple, gray or even black; red, blistered skin; swelling; pain at the site; <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/ulcer">or ulceration</a>.</p> <p>Other <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">serious signs of hypothermia</a> include sluggishness or lethargy, and if you observe them, please visit your veterinarian immediately. A good rule to live by is if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog.</p> <p>Getting your dog a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/pets/best-winter-dog-coats-jackets">sweater or jacket</a> and <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/protect-dogs-paws-snow-ice-salt/">paw covers</a> can provide them with protection from the elements and keep them comfortable. Veterinarians also recommend closely monitoring your dog and limiting their time outside when the temperature nears the freezing point or drops below it.</p> <h2>Road salt dangers</h2> <p>Road salt that treats ice on streets and sidewalks <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/ice-salt-toxic-for-pets-1.5020088">can also harm dogs</a>. When dogs walk on the salt, the sharp, rough edges of the salt crystals can irritate the sensitive skin on their paws.</p> <p>Dogs will often lick their feet when they’re dirty, wet or irritated, and if they ingest any salt doing that, they may face GI upset, dehydration, kidney failure, seizures or even death. Even small amounts of pure salt can <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-tips/my-dog-ate-road-salt-will-they-be-okay/">disrupt critical body functions</a> in dogs.</p> <p>Some companies make pet-safe salt, but in public it can be hard to tell what type of salt is on the ground. After walking your dog, wash off their feet or boots. You can also keep their paw fur trimmed to prevent snow from balling up or salt collecting in the fur. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/how-to-make-your-own-paw-balm-for-winter/">paw pad balm</a> to the skin of the paw pads can also help protect your pet’s paws from irritation.</p> <h2>Antifreeze risks</h2> <p><a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/antifreeze-chemical-substance">Antifreeze, or ethylene glycol</a>, is in most vehicles to prevent the fluids from freezing when it gets cold out. Some people pour antifreeze into their toilets when away from their home to prevent the water in the toilet from freezing.</p> <p>Antifreeze is an exceptionally dangerous chemical to dogs and cats, as it tastes sweet but can be deadly when ingested. If a pet ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, the substance causes a chemical cascade in their body that results in severe kidney damage. If left untreated, the pet may have <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owner-blog/antifreeze-poisoning/">permanent kidney damage or die</a>.</p> <p>There are safer antifreeze options on the market that use ingredients other than ethylene glycol. If your dog ingests antifreeze, please see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.</p> <p>When temperatures dip below freezing, the best thing pet owners can do is keep the time spent outside as minimal as possible. Try some <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/great-indoor-games-to-play-with-your-dog/">indoor activities</a>, like hide-and-seek with low-calorie treats, fetch or even an interactive obstacle course. Food puzzles can also keep your dog mentally engaged during indoor time.</p> <p>Although winter presents some unique challenges, it can still be an enjoyable and healthy time for you and your canine companion.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221709/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, Health Sciences Assistant Professor of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dog-care-below-freezing-how-to-keep-your-pet-warm-and-safe-from-cold-weather-road-salt-and-more-this-winter-221709">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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The dos and don’ts of caring for your hearing aids

<p>Proper care and maintenance of your hearing aids is important. It will ensure you to get the most out of your aids, prevent problems and maintain optimum hearing conditions. Here are some guidelines to help you care for them.</p> <p><strong>DO</strong>: clean your hearing aids regularly with a dry cloth or tissue.</p> <p><strong>DON’T</strong>: get your hearing aids wet. That means no wearing them in the shower or when swimming. If they happen to get wet, dry it off immediately.</p> <p><strong>DO</strong>: put your hearing aids in their case when you’re not using them</p> <p><strong>DON’T</strong>: wear your aids when using aftershave, hairspray, perfume, sunscreen, insect repellent and so on. They contain chemicals that could damage it. Allow time for drying before putting back on hearing aids.</p> <p><strong>DO</strong>: use a moisture protection kit/anti-humidity kit. They help with moisture problems (which can affect performance of hearing aids) and extend life of hearing aids.</p> <p><strong>DO</strong>: keep out of reach of pets and visiting grandkids. Dogs have been known to chew them up and if swallowed by either pet or grandkid, can be very dangerous.</p> <p><strong>DON’T</strong>: expose your device to extreme heats. Don’t leave them in a parked car, near a heater or wear while using a hairdryer. </p> <p><strong>DO</strong>: Store your hearing aid in a safe place that's dry and cool.</p> <p><strong>DON’T</strong>: leave your hearing aids switched on when you’re not using them.</p> <p><strong>DO</strong>: change batteries often so you won’t be stuck with aids that have suddenly run out of power.</p> <p><strong>DON’T</strong>: ever insert anything into the sound outlet as it could damage the receiver. If you can’t clean it properly, ask your hearing professional.</p> <p><strong>DO</strong>: remove any earwax that gets into your hearing aid. It could cause permanent damage.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Hearing

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Why scalp care is just important as washing your hair

<p dir="ltr">When it comes to our daily beauty routines, we tend to focus on what looks and feels like it needs a refresh, such as washing our hair when it looks a little greasy, or cleansing our faces after a day of wearing makeup. </p> <p dir="ltr">While our beauty, skin and hair care routines are quick to become second nature, there is one area that often gets overlooked: our scalps. </p> <p dir="ltr">When washing our hair, it is easy to focus on the products and techniques we need to get our tresses clean, while skimping on what is best for our scalp. </p> <p dir="ltr">But now, the scalp, which is often the most overlooked part of our skin, is finally being recognised as an area that needs just as much TLC as your face.</p> <p dir="ltr">Implementing scalp care as part of our beauty routines is a must, as this sensitive area can often need extra attention due to a build-up of product, delicate skin and aggressive hair washing techniques. </p> <p dir="ltr">Hair care expert Sanja Scher from Beatnik Studio has shared how important it is to care for the scalp as the foundation for hair growth and health, and how it all starts with the right products. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Revlon Professional, known for game-changing professional haircare, styling, and colour, offers a range of products dedicated to improving the scalp - and they're available to take home. By removing excess build-up, replenishing moisture, and rebalancing the scalp’s microbiome, these targeted products ensure that the microbiome, the first line of defence, can shield hair follicles from pathogens, hair damage, infections and other irritations,” she said.  </p> <p dir="ltr">“And this equals healthier, stronger, more beautiful hair.”</p> <p dir="ltr">To kick start the revolution of your hair care routine to protect your scalp, Revlon Professional's launch of the Eksperience Marine Face Mist Ultra-Light Hydration is a game-changing product that effortlessly combines skin care with hair care.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C3Bc5xDSOab/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C3Bc5xDSOab/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Revlon Professional Australia (@revlonprofessionalaustralia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Formulated with Earth Marine Water and Algae extract, the same ingredients used in their Eksperience hair care range, the mist helps to hydrate and re-mineralise the skin. </p> <p dir="ltr">For an extremely gentle shampoo, the Revlon Professional RE/START Balance Scalp Soothing Cleanser is sulphate-free and works to clarify the scalp’s microbiome, whilst hydrating, moisturising and nourishing the scalp. </p> <p dir="ltr">If you suffer from irritation, redness or flaking of the scalp, a calming cleanser is what you need, with the Revlon Professional Eksperience Scalp Comfort Dermo Calm Hair Cleanser providing instant relief. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C28RxgsysSP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C28RxgsysSP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Revlon Professional Australia (@revlonprofessionalaustralia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">For a moisturising lotion that is scalp-focused and hydrating, the Revlon Professional RE/START Balance Moisture Lotion is an essential in any hair care routine. It offers a leave-in, lightweight formula that helps to balance and protect the scalp’s microbiome whilst still keeping it nourished.</p> <p dir="ltr">These products not only target the skin on your head to build a stronger scalp barrier, but works to reduce irritation, dryness, and old buildup, further nourishing your hair.</p> <p dir="ltr">Revlon Professional RE/START and Eksperience products are available at <a href="https://www.adorebeauty.com.au/b/revlon-professional.html">Adore Beauty</a>, <a href="https://www.ozhairandbeauty.com/brands/revlon-professional">Oz Hair and Beauty</a> and <a href="https://www.ssshair.com.au/brands/revlon.html">SSS Hair</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr">So, next time you’re washing your hair or cleansing your face, think about putting the same level of care and attention into your scalp health, and see how these game-changing products can leave your scalp and hair healthier than ever. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>

Beauty & Style

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Husband and wife with dementia reunite after 30 years apart

<p>A former husband and wife with dementia have been reunited after 30 years apart when they moved into the same care home. </p> <p>Nancy, 86, and Stan, 91, were first married in 1957 in Edinburgh, despite their parents "forbidding" their romance and not approving of their union. </p> <p>The couple went on to have three children and lived happily, until Nancy was nearly killed by a brain haemorrhage when she was in her mid-50s. </p> <p>Nancy had to undergo life-altering surgery and a lengthy recovery time, which ultimately led to the downfall of her relationship with Stan and they filed for divorce. </p> <p>After their split, Stan met another woman when he was in his 70s, while Nancy never had another romance. </p> <p>When Nancy and Stan entered their 80s, they both began to show signs of dementia and could no longer care for themselves. </p> <p>Around Christmas time last year, their daughter Karen made the decision to put her father Stan, who suffered a fall while being cared for in Scotland, in the same home as Nancy, which is where she captured the heartwarming footage of them being reunited.</p> <p>In the clip, Nancy tells Stan he is "not bad looking for his age", while her ex-husband replies, "I recognise your face but I couldn't place who it was".</p> <p>The couple then agree to go on a date together and have a cup of tea, before having a kiss for "old time's sake."</p> <p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #323338; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; outline: currentcolor !important;">The video was posted to TikTok by Karen's daughter Sarah-Ashleigh, who spoke to the <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13196325/Heartwarming-moment-former-husband-wife-dementia-reunited-care-home-30-years-apart.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daily Mail</a></em> about the family's decision to put both Nancy and Stan in the same care home. </p> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: currentcolor !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: none; vertical-align: baseline; width: 600px; max-width: 100%; outline: currentcolor !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7341697620181519648&display_name=tiktok&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40sarahashleighflorals%2Fvideo%2F7341697620181519648&image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-useast2a.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-useast2a-p-0037-euttp%2F4189e3105ed04778a3de6a83a40077b6_1709372224%3Fx-expires%3D1712448000%26x-signature%3DcpIHZABQ%252FDnAqGU7bJYeryVnJlU%253D&key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>"We were so worried how this would go. It's so good to see them be friends again," she said.</p> <p>"Dementia is a horrible disease, but it's moments like this which we really just hold on to."</p> <p>"Granny struggles a bit more in general and gets anxious and confused but I think having someone there who she knows has done wonders for her."</p> <p>"She's always looking for him (even when he's right next to her) and they sit together a lot and bicker like the married couple they used to be."</p> <p>"Love might not be the same kind of love forever, it is a shape shifter, but it never leaves."</p> <p>"Their marriage didn't last forever but just seeing them have a friendship again just shows that love never dies."</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Caring

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Your passport to salon-quality haircare on a budget

<p dir="ltr">There’s nothing quite like the feeling of walking out of the hairdressers to proudly show off your new cut or colour, and your hair is the softest it's ever felt. </p> <p dir="ltr">While this post-salon feeling is second to none, it's hard to recreate at home to avoid spending big bucks at your hairdressers more than you need to. </p> <p dir="ltr">And then begins the seemingly endless journey to find a shampoo and conditioner that works for your unique hair type without breaking the bank. Trawling down the aisles of supermarkets and chemists in search of these elusive products can often raise more questions than answers. </p> <p dir="ltr">What ingredients should you be steering clear of? What brands are better than others? What problem area should you be targeting? Does more expensive actually mean better?</p> <p dir="ltr">And so on and so forth, forever. </p> <p dir="ltr">Until, an unsung hero swoops in to save the day. </p> <p dir="ltr">After absolutely perfecting affordable makeup, Revlon have made their foray into haircare, with Revlon Professional having the answer for everyone’s individual hair care needs while keeping the prices low.   </p> <p dir="ltr">Revlon Professional have a shampoo, conditioner and hair mask to cover everyone, with their systems covering everything from hydration and volume to colour protection, restoration, curly hair maintenance and more. </p> <p dir="ltr">I tried out the Revlon Professional RE/START Hydration system over two weeks while on holiday to really put it to the test.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C1X1n6AI9FP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C1X1n6AI9FP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Revlon Professional Australia (@revlonprofessionalaustralia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">While I was testing out the three-step system, I was exposing my hair to chlorine pools, salty ocean water and relentless humidity. On top of this, my poor hair has suffered years of abuse (at my own hands), and has been bleached several times, draining my hair of any natural moisture.</p> <p dir="ltr">I have tried dozens of ultra hydration products to make my hair look marginally better than a hay bale, and have yet to find my holy grail solution. </p> <p dir="ltr">I was expecting the Revlon Professional range to do what every other product does: give me maybe 12 hours of softness before my hair goes back to looking like a tumbleweed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Obviously my years of trying every product on the market has made me jaded, because the  RE/START Hydration system was so much more than I ever expected. </p> <p dir="ltr">Over two weeks of trying out the products, I used the shampoo, conditioner and mask about four times. After the first time of using them, I was completely shocked at how hydrated my hair stayed until it was next time for a wash. </p> <p dir="ltr">Unlike other products on the market, the RE/START Hydration system keeps your hair hydrated for days, all while looking clean, healthy, shiny and untangled, without weighing your hair down. </p> <p dir="ltr">At last, I have finally found my holy grail products and I will sing their praises from the rooftops. </p> <p dir="ltr">Whatever your hair concerns may be, Revlon Professional has the answer for you, all while keeping your wallet in mind. </p> <p dir="ltr">But don’t just take my word for it. The Revlon Professional ranges are available at <a href="https://www.adorebeauty.com.au/b/revlon-professional.html?p=2">Adore Beauty</a>, <a href="https://www.ozhairandbeauty.com/brands/revlon-professional">Oz Hair &amp; Beauty</a> and Revlon’s <a href="https://www.revlonprofessional.com/">official website</a> for you to find your own holy grail products, and have salon fresh hair all year round. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Is hyaluronic acid as effective as skincare brands claim?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lian-liu-1459225">Lian Liu</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-surrey-1201">University of Surrey</a></em></p> <p>Hyaluronic acid has become a huge buzzword in the beauty industry, with everything from creams and cleansers to shampoos containing it. Often, these products are marketed to consumers with the promise that hyaluronic acid will boost hydration – important for keeping the skin looking its best.</p> <p><a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2019.00192/full">Hyaluronic acid</a> is ubiquitous in our organs and tissues, playing a crucial role in the function of our cells and tissues.</p> <p>Hyaluronic acid has been in clinical use for decades, for example, as an injectable between joints to help <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31294035/">lubricate cartilage</a>. But at the turn of the century, cosmetic companies began using it as a moisturising ingredient in cosmetic products.</p> <p>Topically, it’s thought that hyaluronic acid works by holding and retaining water molecules in order to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S014181301833770X">hydrate the skin</a> and restore elasticity, preventing wrinkles. When combined with sunscreen, hyaluronic acid may be capable of protecting the skin against ultraviolet radiation as it has <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.09.188">antioxidant properties</a> (meaning it prevents damage caused by oxidising agents, such as ultraviolet radiation).</p> <p>One of the most frequent marketing claims used to sell hyaluronic acid is the long-held belief that hyaluronic acid holds 1,000 times its weight in water. This means it can maintain moisture and reduce moisture loss.</p> <p>But this claim has been called into question recently, with <a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/2418345-benefits-of-hyaluronic-acid-in-skincare-products-have-been-oversold/">numerous publications</a> recently discussing <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-13140853/Benefits-hyaluronic-acid-skincare-oversold.html">the findings</a> of a <a href="https://chemrxiv.org/engage/chemrxiv/article-details/64b5b086b053dad33a6cdcaf">pre-print paper</a> which suggests this claim is not true.</p> <p>The authors of the pre-print, researchers from the University of California, looked into the molecule-binding properties of hyaluronic acid and water to test the claim that it can hold 1,000 times its weight in water.</p> <p>To do this, the researchers created a solution containing 1g of hyaluronic acid and 1,000g of water (0.1% of hyaluronic acid), which was compared with just water. They then applied heat to both solutions, measuring the thermal changes that occurred. They found that there was not much difference in the changes that occurred in the 0.1% hyaluronic acid solution compared with the pure water. They therefore concluded that the long-held claim is not true.</p> <p>These findings may have consumers wondering how well their hyaluronic acid products actually work if it doesn’t hydrate the skin as much as previously claimed.</p> <h2>How hyaluronic acid works</h2> <p>While there’s no disputing the experimental results obtained, the conclusion on hyaluronic acid’s water-holding capacity is not applicable to all forms of hyaluronic acids.</p> <p>Hyaluronic acid comes in different molecular sizes. This pre-print only looked at one medium-sized hyaluronic acid molecule in their experiments. This means the results may only be true for products containing medium and smaller sized hyaluronic acid molecules.</p> <p>When hylauronic acid interacts with water, its water-loving and water-hating parts lead to electrostatic repulsion. This enables large numbers of hyaluronic acid molecules to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-3083.2004.01180.x">form networks</a>, which look a bit like honeycombs, and expand.</p> <p>The larger the hyaluronic acid’s molecule size, the more capable it is of forming these honeycomb structures – and also the more able it is to retain water relative to its own weight.</p> <p>Hyaluronic acid with larger molecular sizes will form these networks at a concentration of 0.1%, meaning it can hold 1,000 times its own weight in water. Some very large molecules will even form these networks at a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2012600/">concentration as low as 0.05%</a>. This means it can hold 2,000 times its weight in water.</p> <p>It’s also worth noting that hyaluronic acid doesn’t just hold moisture and hydrate the skin. Because of its <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-3083.2004.01180.x">hydrating and antioxidant effects</a>, it also promotes cell regeneration and stimulates collagen production. So hyaluronic acid’s benefits go beyond its ability to retain water.</p> <p>Although this paper may have partially debunked one popular claim about hyaluronic acid’s moisturising abilities, that doesn’t mean you should stop using it. The research still shows there’s no doubt about hyaluronic acid’s moisturising abilities, which can leave skin softer, smoother and with fewer wrinkles. Plus, hyaluronic acid’s antioxidant effects promote the growth of new skin cells and collagen.</p> <p>But if you want to make sure you’re getting the most effective product possible, look for one containing multiple weights of hyaluronic acid molecules (sometimes labelled as “triple weight”, “multiweight” or “multi-molecular weight”). Also look for a product containing a minimum hyaluronic acid concentration of 0.1%.</p> <p>This is because research suggests products containing a <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocd.14981">formulation of multiple sizes</a> of hyaluronic acid molecules could be more beneficial for skin than formulations containing only one molecule size. This is partly due to smaller molecules permeating skin better, while the larger ones hold more water.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/224906/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lian-liu-1459225"><em>Lian Liu</em></a><em>, Reader, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-surrey-1201">University of Surrey</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-hyaluronic-acid-as-effective-as-skincare-brands-claim-224906">original article</a>.</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Dad dies after being bitten by deadly snake in child care centre

<p>A beloved father has passed away after reportedly trying to remove an eastern brown snake from a child care centre in North Queensland. </p> <p>Jeremy Brookes attended the child care centre on Tuesday afternoon after one of his relatives reportedly called him over to remove the snake, according to <em>The Courier Mail</em>. </p> <p>Brookes was not a qualified snake handler and was bitten multiple times on his hand and arm.</p> <p>According to Queensland Ambulance Service acting district director Paula Marten, Brookes then managed to drive to his Deeragun home but he soon went into cardiac arrest.</p> <p>HIs wife performed CPR until paramedics arrived and he was rushed to hospital, but unfortunately could not be saved. </p> <p>“(He) was found to be in cardiac arrest by our crews,” Marten said. </p> <p>“The call was made by the patient’s wife, who then commenced CPR as the patient went into cardiac arrest.</p> <p>“The information provided to us was that the gentleman had been bitten in a different location and attended back to his residence, where his wife has immobilised his arm and wrapped it, when the onset of the symptoms occurred.”</p> <p>She added that snake bites were common in North Queensland and they were rarely fatal, but advised that if "you’re not aware of snakes, treat them as if they are venomous."</p> <p>“It’s really important that you stay calm and keep the person calm.</p> <p>“Apply basic first aid, which would be immobilisation and using compression bandages, and contact triple-0.</p> <p>“If you are unsure about what first aid measures to take, call triple-0, and they will walk you through what you need to do for the patient.”</p> <p>Eastern Brown Snakes are one of the most deadly snakes in the world, with the second most toxic venom. </p> <p>They can be found across the east of Australia including the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, NSW and the ACT.</p> <p>Brookes is believed to be the first person to have died from a snake bite in Australia this year. </p> <p>Last year, two people died from suspected eastern brown snake bites in Australia. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook/ news.com.au</em></p>

Caring

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Who will look after us in our final years? A pay rise alone won’t solve aged-care workforce shortages

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-duckett-10730">Stephen Duckett</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Aged-care workers will receive a significant pay increase after the Fair Work Commission <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/pdf/2024fwcfb150.pdf">ruled</a> they deserved substantial wage rises of up to 28%. The federal government <a href="https://ministers.dewr.gov.au/burke/fair-work-decision-aged-care">has committed to</a> the increases, but is yet to announce when they will start.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Tens of thousands of aged care workers will receive a major pay rise after the Fair Work Commission recommended the increase. <a href="https://t.co/NeNt1Gvxd9">https://t.co/NeNt1Gvxd9</a></p> <p>— SBS News (@SBSNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/SBSNews/status/1768557710537068889?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 15, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>But while wage rises for aged-care workers are welcome, this measure alone will not fix all workforce problems in the sector. The number of people over 80 is expected to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-08/p2023-435150.pdf">triple over the next 40 years</a>, driving an increase in the number of aged care workers needed.</p> <h2>How did we get here?</h2> <p>The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which delivered its <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care/final-report">final report</a> in March 2021, identified a litany of tragic failures in the regulation and delivery of aged care.</p> <p>The former Liberal government was dragged reluctantly to accept that a total revamp of the aged-care system was needed. But its <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/respect-care-and-dignity-aged-care-royal-commission-452-million-immediate-response-as-government-commits-to-historic-reform-to-deliver-respect-and-care-for-senior-australians#:%7E:text=Minister%20for%20Senior%20Australians%20and,%2C%20dementia%2C%20food%20and%20nutrition.">weak response</a> left the heavy lifting to the incoming Labor government.</p> <p>The current government’s response started well, with a <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthony-albanese-offers-2-5-billion-plan-to-fix-crisis-in-aged-care-180419">significant injection of funding</a> and a promising regulatory response. But it too has failed to pursue a visionary response to the problems identified by the Royal Commission.</p> <p>Action was needed on four fronts:</p> <ul> <li>ensuring enough staff to provide care</li> <li>building a functioning regulatory system to encourage good care and weed out bad providers</li> <li>designing and introducing a fair payment system to distribute funds to providers and</li> <li>implementing a financing system to pay for it all and achieve intergenerational equity.</li> </ul> <p>A government taskforce which proposed a <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-will-aged-care-look-like-for-the-next-generation-more-of-the-same-but-higher-out-of-pocket-costs-225551">timid response to the fourth challenge</a> – an equitable financing system – was released at the start of last week.</p> <p>Consultation closed on a <a href="https://media.opan.org.au/uploads/2024/03/240308_Aged-Care-Act-Exposure-Draft-Joint-Submission_FINAL.pdf">very poorly designed new regulatory regime</a> the week before.</p> <p>But the big news came at end of the week when the Fair Work Commission handed down a further <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/pdf/2024fwcfb150.pdf">determination</a> on what aged-care workers should be paid, confirming and going beyond a previous <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/work-value-aged-care/decisions-statements/2022fwcfb200.pdf">interim determination</a>.</p> <h2>What did the Fair Work Commission find?</h2> <p>Essentially, the commission determined that work in industries with a high proportion of women workers has been traditionally undervalued in wage-setting. This had consequences for both care workers in the aged-care industry (nurses and <a href="https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/CHC33021">Certificate III-qualified</a> personal-care workers) and indirect care workers (cleaners, food services assistants).</p> <p>Aged-care staff will now get significant pay increases – 18–28% increase for personal care workers employed under the Aged Care Award, inclusive of the increase awarded in the interim decision.</p> <figure class="align-center "><figcaption></figcaption>Indirect care workers were awarded a general increase of 3%. Laundry hands, cleaners and food services assistants will receive a further 3.96% <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decision-summaries/2024fwcfb150-summary.pdf">on the grounds</a> they “interact with residents significantly more regularly than other indirect care employees”.</figure> <p>The final increases for registered and enrolled nurses will be determined in the next few months.</p> <h2>How has the sector responded?</h2> <p>There has been no push-back from employer groups or conservative politicians. This suggests the uplift is accepted as fair by all concerned.</p> <p>The interim increases of up to 15% probably facilitated this acceptance, with the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-does-the-budget-mean-for-medicare-medicines-aged-care-and-first-nations-health-192842">recognition of the community</a> that care workers should be paid more than fast food workers.</p> <p>There was <a href="https://www.accpa.asn.au/media-releases/accpa-welcomes-further-aged-care-wage-rises">no criticism from aged-care providers</a> either. This is probably because they are facing difficulty in recruiting staff at current wage rates. And because government payments to providers reflect the <a href="https://www.ihacpa.gov.au/">actual cost of aged care</a>, increased payments will automatically flow to providers.</p> <p>When the increases will flow has yet to be determined. The government is due to give its recommendations for staging implementation by mid-April.</p> <h2>Is the workforce problem fixed?</h2> <p>An increase in wages is necessary, but alone is not sufficient to solve workforce shortages.</p> <p>The health- and social-care workforce is <a href="https://www.jobsandskills.gov.au/data/employment-projections">predicted</a> to grow faster than any other sector over the next decade. The “care economy” will <a href="https://theconversation.com/care-economy-to-balloon-in-an-australia-of-40-5-million-intergenerational-report-211876">grow</a> from around 8% to around 15% of GDP over the next 40 years.</p> <p>This means a greater proportion of school-leavers will need to be attracted to the aged-care sector. Aged care will also need to attract and retrain workers displaced from industries in decline and attract suitably skilled migrants and refugees with appropriate language skills.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/demand-driven-funding-for-universities-is-frozen-what-does-this-mean-and-should-the-policy-be-restored-116060">caps on university and college enrolments</a> imposed by the previous government, coupled with weak student demand for places in key professions (such as nursing), has meant workforce shortages will continue for a few more years, despite the allure of increased wages.</p> <p>A significant increase in intakes into university and vocational education college courses preparing students for health and social care is still required. Better pay will help to increase student demand, but funding to expand place numbers will ensure there are enough qualified staff for the aged-care system of the future. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225898/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-duckett-10730">Stephen Duckett</a>, Honorary Enterprise Professor, School of Population and Global Health, and Department of General Practice and Primary Care, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/who-will-look-after-us-in-our-final-years-a-pay-rise-alone-wont-solve-aged-care-workforce-shortages-225898">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Retirement Income

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What will aged care look like for the next generation?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>Aged care financing is a vexed problem for the Australian government. It is already underfunded for the quality the community expects, and costs will increase dramatically. There are also significant concerns about the complexity of the system.</p> <p>In 2021–22 the federal government spent <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/final-report-of-the-aged-care-taskforce?language=en">A$25 billion</a> on aged services for around 1.2 million people aged 65 and over. Around 60% went to residential care (<a href="https://www.gen-agedcaredata.gov.au/topics/people-using-aged-care#:%7E:text=On%2030%20June%202022%2C%20approximately,and%203%2C500%20using%20transition%20care.">190,000 people</a>) and one-third to home care (<a href="https://www.gen-agedcaredata.gov.au/topics/people-using-aged-care#:%7E:text=On%2030%20June%202022%2C%20approximately,and%203%2C500%20using%20transition%20care.">one million people</a>).</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/final-report-of-the-aged-care-taskforce?language=en">final report from the government’s Aged Care Taskforce</a>, which has been reviewing funding options, estimates the number of people who will need services is likely to grow to more than two million over the next 20 years. Costs are therefore likely to more than double.</p> <p>The taskforce has considered what aged care services are reasonable and necessary and made recommendations to the government about how they can be paid for. This includes getting aged care users to pay for more of their care.</p> <p>But rather than recommending an alternative financing arrangement that will safeguard Australians’ aged care services into the future, the taskforce largely recommends tidying up existing arrangements and keeping the status quo.</p> <h2>No Medicare-style levy</h2> <p>The taskforce <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/final-report-of-the-aged-care-taskforce?language=en">rejected</a> the aged care royal commission’s recommendation to introduce a levy to meet aged care cost increases. A 1% levy, similar to the Medicare levy, could have raised around <a href="https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/2021/03/03/cost-of-aged-care-levy#:%7E:text=Overall%2C%20a%201%20per%20cent%20levy%20would%20raise,necessary%20to%20provide%20decent%20aged%20care%20for%20all.">$8 billion a year</a>.</p> <p>The taskforce failed to consider the mix of taxation, personal contributions and social insurance which are commonly used to fund aged care systems internationally. The <a href="https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Japan-OECD-EC-Good-Time-in-Old-Age.pdf">Japanese system</a>, for example, is financed by long-term insurance paid by those aged 40 and over, plus general taxation and a small copayment.</p> <p>Instead, the taskforce puts forward a simple, pragmatic argument that older people are becoming wealthier through superannuation, there is a cost of living crisis for younger people and therefore older people should be required to pay more of their aged care costs.</p> <h2>Separating care from other services</h2> <p>In deciding what older people should pay more for, the taskforce divided services into care, everyday living and accommodation.</p> <p>The taskforce thought the most important services were clinical services (including nursing and allied health) and these should be the main responsibility of government funding. Personal care, including showering and dressing were seen as a middle tier that is likely to attract some co-payment, despite these services often being necessary to maintain independence.</p> <p>The task force recommended the costs for everyday living (such as food and utilities) and accommodation expenses (such as rent) should increasingly be a personal responsibility.</p> <h2>Making the system fairer</h2> <p>The taskforce thought it was unfair people in residential care were making substantial contributions for their everyday living expenses (about 25%) and those receiving home care weren’t (about 5%). This is, in part, because home care has always had a muddled set of rules about user co-payments.</p> <p>But the taskforce provided no analysis of accommodation costs (such as utilities and maintenance) people meet at home compared with residential care.</p> <p>To address the inefficiencies of upfront daily fees for packages, the taskforce recommends means testing co-payments for home care packages and basing them on the actual level of service users receive for everyday support (for food, cleaning, and so on) and to a lesser extent for support to maintain independence.</p> <p>It is unclear whether clinical and personal care costs and user contributions will be treated the same for residential and home care.</p> <h2>Making residential aged care sustainable</h2> <p>The taskforce was <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/final-report-of-the-aged-care-taskforce?language=en">concerned</a> residential care operators were losing $4 per resident day on “hotel” (accommodation services) and everyday living costs.</p> <p>The taskforce recommends means tested user contributions for room services and everyday living costs be increased.</p> <p>It also recommends that wealthier older people be given more choice by allowing them to pay more (per resident day) for better amenities. This would allow providers to fully meet the cost of these services.</p> <p>Effectively, this means daily living charges for residents are too low and inflexible and that fees would go up, although the taskforce was clear that low-income residents should be protected.</p> <h2>Moving from buying to renting rooms</h2> <p>Currently older people who need residential care have a choice of making a refundable up-front payment for their room or to pay rent to offset the loans providers take out to build facilities. Providers raise capital to build aged care facilities through equity or loan financing.</p> <p>However, the taskforce did not consider the overall efficiency of the private capital market for financing aged care or alternative solutions.</p> <p>Instead, it recommended capital contributions be streamlined and simplified by phasing out up-front payments and focusing on rental contributions. This echoes the royal commission, which found rent to be a more efficient and less risky method of financing capital for aged care in private capital markets.</p> <p>It’s likely that in a decade or so, once the new home care arrangements are in place, there will be proportionally fewer older people in residential aged care. Those who do go are likely to be more disabled and have greater care needs. And those with more money will pay more for their accommodation and everyday living arrangements. But they may have more choice too.</p> <p>Although the federal government has <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-11/aged-care-task-force-hands-down-recommendations/103573554">ruled out an aged care levy</a> and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-15/no-plan-to-touch-aged-care-asset-test/103470442">changes to assets test on the family home</a>, it has yet to respond to the majority of the recommendations. But given the aged care minister chaired the taskforce, it’s likely to provide a good indication of current thinking.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225551/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, Emeritus Professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-will-aged-care-look-like-for-the-next-generation-more-of-the-same-but-higher-out-of-pocket-costs-225551">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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"Who cares?": Kyle Sandilands backs Sam Kerr

<p>Kyle Sandilands has weighed in on Matildas captain Sam Kerr's court battle, after it was alleged that she called a police officer in London a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/sam-kerr-s-alleged-racial-comments-revealed-by-uk-paper" target="_blank" rel="noopener">"stupid white b*****d"</a> during a dispute over a taxi fare.</p> <p>Sandilands was quick to defend the Matildas captain during the <em>Kyle And Jackie O show </em>on Tuesday and insisted that calling someone that didn't warrant a criminal conviction. </p> <p>"It's not even a big deal. She call some guy 'white b*****d'. Who cares?" the 52-year-old shock jock said.</p> <p>"White b******s don't care about that. That's for the other races to worry about," he added, before newsreader Brooklyn Ross quickly changed the topic. </p> <p>Kerr, 30, is preparing to face a four-day trial next February, following the incident that occurred after a night out in Twickenham on January 30, 2023.  </p> <p>The football star appeared in a London court on Monday after she was accused of using insulting, threatening or abusive words that caused alarm or distress to the officer.</p> <p>Kerr has maintained her innocence, pleading not guilty to the charges brought against her.</p> <p>Her legal team hope to have the case thrown out when they return to court next month.</p> <p>In response to the controversy, the sport's governing body Football Australia (FA) said that while they were aware of the legal proceedings, they didn't know about the charges laid against Kerr. </p> <p>"As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to provide further comment at this time. Our focus remains on supporting all our players, both on and off the field. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide support as appropriate," they said in a statement. </p> <p><em>Images: Kyle and Jackie O show/ Getty</em></p>

Legal

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Longing for the ‘golden age’ of air travel? Be careful what you wish for

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janet-bednarek-144872">Janet Bednarek</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</a></em></p> <p>Long lines at security checkpoints, tiny plastic cups of soda, small bags of pretzels, planes filled to capacity, fees attached to every amenity – all reflect the realities of 21st century commercial air travel. It’s no wonder that many travelers have become nostalgic for the so-called “golden age” of air travel in the United States.</p> <p>During the 1950s, airlines promoted commercial air travel as glamorous: stewardesses served full meals on real china, airline seats were large (and frequently empty) with ample leg-room, and passengers always dressed well.</p> <p>After jets were introduced in the late 1950s, passengers could travel to even the most distant locations at speeds unimaginable a mere decade before. An airline trip from New York to London that could take up to 15 hours in the early 1950s could be made in less than seven hours by the early 1960s.</p> <p>But airline nostalgia can be tricky, and “golden ages” are seldom as idyllic as they seem.</p> <p>Until the introduction of jets in 1958, most of the nation’s commercial planes were propeller-driven aircraft, like the DC-4. Most of these planes were unpressurized, and with a maximum cruising altitude of 10,000 to 12,000 feet, they were unable to fly over bad weather. Delays were frequent, turbulence common, and air sickness bags often needed.</p> <p>Some planes were spacious and pressurized: the <a href="http://everythingnice.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/PanAm-cutawayS.jpg">Boeing Stratocruiser</a>, for example, could seat 50 first class passengers or 81 coach passengers compared to the DC-3’s 21 passengers. It could cruise at 32,000 feet, which allowed Stratocruiser to fly above most bad weather it encountered. But only 56 of these planes were ever in service.</p> <p>While the later DC-6 and DC-7 were pressurized, they still flew much lower than the soon-to-appear jets – 20,000 feet compared to 30,000 feet – and often encountered turbulence. The piston engines were bulky, complex and difficult to maintain, which contributed to frequent delays.</p> <p>For much of this period, the old saying “Time to spare, go by air” still rang true.</p> <p>Through the 1930s and into the 1940s, almost everyone flew first class. Airlines did encourage more people to fly in the 1950s and 1960s by introducing coach or tourist fares, but the savings were relative: less expensive than first class, but still pricey. In 1955, for example, so-called “bargain fares” from New York to Paris were the equivalent of just over $2,600 in 2014 dollars. Although the advent of jets did result in lower fares, the cost was still out of reach of most Americans. The most likely frequent flier was a white, male businessman traveling on his company’s expense account, and in the 1960s, airlines – with young attractive stewardesses in short skirts – clearly catered to their most frequent flyers.</p> <p>The demographics of travelers did begin to shift during this period. More women, more young people, and retirees began to fly; still, airline travel remained financially out-of-reach for most.</p> <p>If it was a golden age, it only was for the very few.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bKqQgNZylLw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Jet planes were introduced in the late 1950s, resulting in shorter flight times. But their ticket prices out of reach for the average traveler.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>People also forget that well into the 1960s, air travel was far more dangerous than it is today. In the 1950s and 1960s US airlines experienced at least a half dozen crashes per year – most leading to fatalities of all on board. People today may bemoan the crowded airplanes and lack of on-board amenities, but the number of fatalities per million miles flown has dropped dramatically since since the late 1970s, especially compared to the 1960s. Through at least the 1970s, airports even prominently featured kiosks selling flight insurance.</p> <p>And we can’t forget hijackings. By the mid-1960s so many airplanes had been hijacked that <a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/hijackers/flying-high.htm">“Take me to Cuba”</a> became a punch line for stand-up comics. In 1971 <a href="http://nymag.com/news/features/39593/index2.html">D.B. Cooper</a> – a hijacker who parachuted from a Boeing 727 after extorting $200,000 – might have been able to achieve folk hero status. But one reason US airline passengers today (generally) tolerate security checkpoints is that they want some kind of assurance that their aircraft will remain safe.</p> <p>And if the previous examples don’t dull the sheen of air travel’s “golden age,” remember: in-flight smoking was both permitted and encouraged.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/34177/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janet-bednarek-144872"><em>Janet Bednarek</em></a><em>, Professor of History, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/longing-for-the-golden-age-of-air-travel-be-careful-what-you-wish-for-34177">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How to be kind to yourself (without going to a day spa)

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lydia-brown-179583">Lydia Brown</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>“I have to be hard on myself,” Sarah told me in a recent telehealth psychology session. “I would never reach my potential if I was kind and let myself off the hook.”</p> <p>I could empathise with this fear of self-compassion from clients such as Sarah (not her real name). From a young age, we are taught to be kind to others, but self-kindness is never mentioned.</p> <p>Instead, we are taught success hinges on self-sacrifice. And we need a healthy inner critic to bully us forward into becoming increasingly better versions of ourselves.</p> <p>But <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167212445599">research shows</a> there doesn’t have to be a trade-off between self-compassion and success.</p> <p>Self-compassion can help you reach your potential, while supporting you to face the inevitable stumbles and setbacks along the way.</p> <h2>What is self-compassion?</h2> <p><a href="https://self-compassion.org/">Self-compassion</a> has <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15298860309027">three</a> key ingredients.</p> <p><strong>1. Self-kindness</strong></p> <p>This involves treating yourself with the same kindness you would extend towards a good friend – via your thoughts, feelings and actions – especially during life’s difficult moments.</p> <p>For instance, if you find yourself fixating on a minor mistake you made at work, self-kindness might involve taking a ten-minute walk to shift focus, and reminding yourself it is OK to make mistakes sometimes, before moving on with your day.</p> <p><strong>2. Mindfulness</strong></p> <p>In this context, mindfulness involves being aware of your own experience of stress or suffering, rather than repressing or avoiding your feelings, or over-identifying with them.</p> <p>Basically, you must see your stress with a clear (mindful) perspective before you can respond with kindness. If we avoid or are consumed by our suffering, we lose perspective.</p> <p><strong>3. Common humanity</strong></p> <p>Common humanity involves recognising our own experience of suffering as something that unites us as being human.</p> <p>For instance, a sleep-deprived parent waking up (for the fourth time) to feed their newborn might choose to think about all the other parents around the world doing exactly the same thing – as opposed to feeling isolated and alone.</p> <h2>It’s not about day spas, or booking a manicure</h2> <p>When Sarah voiced her fear that self-compassion would prevent her success, I explained self-compassion is distinct from self-indulgence.</p> <p>“So is self-compassion just about booking in more mani/pedis?” Sarah asked.</p> <p>Not really, I explained. A one-off trip to a day spa is unlikely to transform your mental health.</p> <p>Instead, self-compassion is a flexible <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-031-22348-8_7">psychological resilience factor</a> that shapes our thoughts, feelings and actions.</p> <p>It’s associated with a suite of benefits to our <a href="https://iaap-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aphw.12051">wellbeing</a>, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15298868.2011.639548">relationships</a> and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17437199.2019.1705872">health</a>.</p> <h2>What does the science say?</h2> <p>Over the past 20 years, we’ve learned self-compassionate people enjoy a wide range of benefits. They tend to be <a href="https://iaap-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aphw.12051">happier</a> and have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2012.06.003">fewer psychological symptoms</a> of distress.</p> <p>Those high on self-compassion <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167212445599">persevere</a> following a failure. They say they are more motivated to overcome a personal weakness than those low on self-compassion, who are more likely to give up.</p> <p>So rather than feeling trapped by your inadequacies, self-compassion encourages a <a href="https://hbr.org/2018/09/give-yourself-a-break-the-power-of-self-compassion">growth mindset</a>, helping you reach your potential.</p> <p>However, self-compassion is not a panacea. It will not change your life circumstances or somehow make life “easy”. It is based on the premise that life is hard, and provides practical tools to cope.</p> <h2>It’s a factor in healthy ageing</h2> <p>I research menopause and healthy ageing and am especially interested in the value of self-compassion through menopause and in the second half of life.</p> <p>Because self-compassion becomes important during life’s challenges, it can help people navigate physical symptoms (for instance, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378512214001649?via%3Dihub">menopausal hot flushes</a>), life transitions such as <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797611429466">divorce</a>, and <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-031-22348-8_7">promote healthy ageing</a>.</p> <p>I’ve also teamed up with researchers at <a href="https://www.autismspectrum.org.au/">Autism Spectrum Australia</a> to explore self-compassion in autistic adults.</p> <p>We found autistic adults report significantly <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-022-05668-y">lower levels</a> of self-compassion than neurotypical adults. So we developed an online <a href="https://www.autismspectrum.org.au/blog/new-online-self-compassion-program-for-autistic-adults">self-compassion training program</a> for this at-risk population.</p> <h2>Three tips for self-compassion</h2> <p>You <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jclp.21923">can learn</a> self-compassion with these three exercises.</p> <p><strong>1. What would you say to a friend?</strong></p> <p>Think back to the last time you made a mistake. What did you say to yourself?</p> <p>If you notice you’re treating yourself more like an enemy than a friend, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, try to think about what you might tell a friend, and direct that same friendly language towards yourself.</p> <p><strong>2. Harness the power of touch</strong></p> <p>Soothing human touch <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychiatry/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.555058/full">activates</a> the parasympathetic “relaxation” branch of our nervous system and counteracts the fight or flight response.</p> <p>Specifically, self-soothing touch (for instance, by placing both hands on your heart, stroking your forearm or giving yourself a hug) <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666497621000655">reduces</a> cortisol responses to psychosocial stress.</p> <p><strong>3. What do I need right now?</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, it can be hard to figure out exactly what self-compassion looks like in a given moment. The question “what do I need right now” helps clarify your true needs.</p> <p>For example, when I was 37 weeks pregnant, I woke up bolt awake one morning at 3am.</p> <p>Rather than beating myself up about it, or fretting about not getting enough sleep, I gently placed my hands on my heart and took a few deep breaths. By asking myself “what do I need right now?” it became clear that listening to a gentle podcast/meditation fitted the bill (even though I wanted to addictively scroll my phone).<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223194/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lydia-brown-179583"><em>Lydia Brown</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-be-kind-to-yourself-without-going-to-a-day-spa-223194">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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How do I handle it if my parent is refusing aged care? 4 things to consider

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lee-fay-low-98311">Lee-Fay Low</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>It’s a shock when we realise our parents aren’t managing well at home.</p> <p>Perhaps the house and garden are looking more chaotic, and Mum or Dad are relying more on snacks than nutritious meals. Maybe their grooming or hygiene has declined markedly, they are socially isolated or not doing the things they used to enjoy. They may be losing weight, have had a fall, aren’t managing their medications correctly, and are at risk of getting scammed.</p> <p>You’re worried and you want them to be safe and healthy. You’ve tried to talk to them about aged care but been met with swift refusal and an indignant declaration “I don’t need help – everything is fine!” Now what?</p> <p>Here are four things to consider.</p> <h2>1. Start with more help at home</h2> <p>Getting help and support at home can help keep Mum or Dad well and comfortable without them needing to move.</p> <p>Consider drawing up a roster of family and friends visiting to help with shopping, cleaning and outings. You can also use home aged care services – or a combination of both.</p> <p>Government subsidised home care services provide from one to 13 hours of care a week. You can get more help if you are a veteran or are able to pay privately. You can take advantage of things like rehabilitation, fall risk-reduction programs, personal alarms, stove automatic switch-offs and other technology aimed at increasing safety.</p> <p>Call <a href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/">My Aged Care</a> to discuss your options.</p> <h2>2. Be prepared for multiple conversations</h2> <p>Getting Mum or Dad to accept paid help can be tricky. Many families often have multiple conversations around aged care before a decision is made.</p> <p>Ideally, the older person feels supported rather than attacked during these conversations.</p> <p>Some families have a meeting, so everyone is coming together to help. In other families, certain family members or friends might be better placed to have these conversations – perhaps the daughter with the health background, or the auntie or GP who Mum trusts more to provide good advice.</p> <p>Mum or Dad’s main emotional support person should try to maintain their relationship. It’s OK to get someone else (like the GP, the hospital or an adult child) to play “bad cop”, while a different person (such as the older person’s spouse, or a different adult child) plays “good cop”.</p> <h2>3. Understand the options when help at home isn’t enough</h2> <p>If you have maximised home support and it’s not enough, or if the hospital won’t discharge Mum or Dad without extensive supports, then you may be <a href="https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/60/8/1504/5863160">considering a nursing home</a> (also known as residential aged care in Australia).</p> <p>Every person has a legal right to <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/9-your-right-choose-where-you-live">choose where we live</a> (unless they have lost capacity to make that decision).</p> <p>This means families can’t put Mum or Dad into residential aged care against their will. Every person also has the right to choose to take risks. People can choose to continue to live at home, even if it means they might not get help immediately if they fall, or eat poorly. We should respect Mum or Dad’s decisions, even if we disagree with them. Researchers call this “dignity of risk”.</p> <p>It’s important to understand Mum or Dad’s point of view. Listen to them. Try to figure out what they are feeling, and what they are worried might happen (which might not be rational).</p> <p>Try to understand what’s really important to their quality of life. Is it the dog, having privacy in their safe space, seeing grandchildren and friends, or something else?</p> <p>Older people are often understandably concerned about losing independence, losing control, and having strangers in their personal space.</p> <p>Sometimes families prioritise physical health over psychological wellbeing. But we need to consider both when considering nursing home admission.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9826495/">Research</a> suggests going into a nursing home temporarily increases loneliness, risk of depression and anxiety, and sense of losing control.</p> <p>Mum and Dad should be involved in the decision-making process about where they live, and when they might move.</p> <p>Some families start looking “just in case” as it often takes some time to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/questions-to-ask-when-choosing-an-aged-care-home-for-a-loved-one/10302590">find the right nursing home</a> and there can be a wait.</p> <p>After you have your top two or three choices, take Mum or Dad to visit them. If this is not possible, take pictures of the rooms, the public areas in the nursing home, the menu and the activities schedule.</p> <p>We should give Mum or Dad information about their options and risks so they can make informed (and hopefully better) decisions.</p> <p>For instance, if they visit a nursing home and the manager says they can go on outings whenever they want, this might dispel a belief they are “locked up”.</p> <p>Having one or two weeks “respite” in a home may let them try it out before making the big decision about staying permanently. And if they find the place unacceptable, they can try another nursing home instead.</p> <h2>4. Understand the options if a parent has lost capacity to make decisions</h2> <p>If Mum or Dad have lost capacity to choose where they live, family may be able to make that decision in their best interests.</p> <p>If it’s not clear whether a person has capacity to make a particular decision, a medical practitioner can assess for that capacity.</p> <p>Mum or Dad may have appointed an <a href="https://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/wills/appoint-enduring-guardian/what-enduring-guardian">enduring guardian</a> to make decisions about their health and lifestyle decisions when they are not able to.</p> <p>An enduring guardian can make the decision that the person should live in residential aged care, if the person no longer has the capacity to make that decision themselves.</p> <p>If Mum or Dad didn’t appoint an enduring guardian, and have lost capacity, then a court or tribunal can <a href="https://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/guardianship/information-about-guardianship">appoint</a> that person a private guardian (usually a family member, close friend or unpaid carer).</p> <p>If no such person is available to act as private guardian, a public official may be appointed as public guardian.</p> <h2>Deal with your own feelings</h2> <p>Families often feel <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12144-023-04538-9">guilt and grief</a> during the decision-making and transition process.</p> <p>Families need to act in the best interest of Mum or Dad, but also balance other caring responsibilities, financial priorities and their own wellbeing.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221210/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lee-fay-low-98311"><em>Lee-Fay Low</em></a><em>, Professor in Ageing and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-do-i-handle-it-if-my-parent-is-refusing-aged-care-4-things-to-consider-221210">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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It’s beginning to look a lot like burnout. How to take care of yourself before the holidays start

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sophie-scott-1462197">Sophie Scott</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-notre-dame-australia-852">University of Notre Dame Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gordon-parker-94386">Gordon Parker</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>It’s getting towards the time of the year when you might feel more overwhelmed than usual. There are work projects to finish and perhaps exams in the family. Not to mention the pressures of organising holidays or gifts. Burnout is a real possibility.</p> <p>Burnout is defined by the <a href="https://www.who.int/standards/classifications/frequently-asked-questions/burn-out-an-occupational-phenomenon#:%7E:text=Burn%2Dout%20is%20defined%20in,has%20not%20been%20successfully%20managed.">World Health Organization</a> (WHO) as having three main symptoms – exhaustion, loss of empathy and reduced performance at work.</p> <p>Australian <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34052460/">research</a> argues for a broader model, particularly as the WHO’s third symptom may simply be a consequence of the first two.</p> <p>So what is burnout really? And how can you avoid it before the holidays hit?</p> <h2>More than being really tired</h2> <p>The Australian research model endorsed exhaustion as the primary burnout symptom but emphasised burnout should not be simply equated with exhaustion.</p> <p>The second symptom is loss of empathy (or “compassion fatigue”), which can also be experienced as uncharacteristic cynicism or a general loss of feeling. Nothing much provides pleasure and <em>joie de vivre</em> is only a memory.</p> <p>The third symptom (cognitive impairment) means sufferers find it <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-13/gordon-parker-says-the-burnout-definition-needs-to-broaden/101920366">difficult to focus</a> and retain information when reading. They tend to scan material – with some women reporting it as akin to “baby brain”.</p> <p>Research <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34052460/">suggests</a> a fourth symptom: insularity. When someone is burnt out, they tend to keep to themselves, not only socialising less but also obtaining little pleasure from interactions.</p> <p>A potential fifth key feature is an unsettled mood.</p> <p>And despite feeling exhausted, most individuals report insomnia when they’re burnt out. In severe cases, immune functioning can be compromised (so that the person may report an increase in infections), blood pressure may drop and it may be difficult or impossible to get out of bed.</p> <p>Predictably, such features (especially exhaustion and cognitive impairment) do lead to compromised work performance.</p> <p>Defining burnout is important, as rates have <a href="https://dspace.library.uu.nl/bitstream/handle/1874/420608/Burnout_Fatigue_Exhaustion.pdf?sequence=1&amp;isAllowed=y">increased</a> in the last few decades.</p> <h2>‘Tis the season</h2> <p>For many, the demands of the holidays cause exhaustion and risk burnout. People might feel compelled to shop, cook, entertain and socialise more than at other times of year. While burnout was initially defined in those in formal employment, we now recognise the same pattern can be experienced by those meeting the needs of children and/or elderly parents – with such needs typically increasing over Christmas.</p> <p>Burnout is generally viewed according to a simple stress-response model. Excessive demands lead to burnout, without the individual bringing anything of themselves to its onset and development. But the Australian <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34052460/">research</a> has identified a richer model and emphasised how much personality contributes.</p> <p>Formal carers, be they health workers, teachers, veterinarians and clergy or parents – are <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781003333722/burnout-gordon-parker-gabriela-tavella-kerrie-eyers">more likely</a> to experience burnout. But some other professional groups – such as lawyers – are also at high risk.</p> <p>In essence, “good” people - who are dutiful, diligent, reliable, conscientious and perfectionistic (either by nature or work nurture) – are at the <a href="https://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Abstract/2020/06000/A_Qualitative_Reexamination_of_the_Key_Features_of.4.aspx">greatest risk</a> of burnout.</p> <h2>6 tips for avoiding seasonal burnout</h2> <p>You may not be able to change your personality, but you can change the way you allow it to “shape” activities. Prioritising, avoiding procrastination, decluttering and focusing on the “big picture” are all good things to keep in mind.</p> <p>Managing your time helps you regain a sense of control, enhances your efficiency, and reduces the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities.</p> <p><strong>1. Prioritise tasks</strong></p> <p>Rank tasks based on urgency and importance. The Eisenhower Matrix, <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/7-Habits-Highly-Effective-People/dp/0743269519">popularised</a> by author Stephen R Covey, puts jobs into one of four categories:</p> <ul> <li> <p>urgent and important</p> </li> <li> <p>important but not urgent</p> </li> <li> <p>urgent but not important</p> </li> <li> <p>neither urgent nor important.</p> </li> </ul> <p>This helps you see what needs to be top priority and helps overcome the illusion that everything is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10159458/">urgent</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Set realistic goals</strong></p> <p>Break down large goals into smaller, manageable tasks to be achieved each day, week, or month – to prevent feeling overwhelmed. This could mean writing a gift list in a day or shopping for a festive meal over a week. Use tools such as calendars, planners or digital apps to schedule tasks, deadlines and appointments.</p> <p><strong>3. Manage distractions</strong></p> <p>Minimise <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2023-66900-001">distractions</a> that hinder productivity and time management. <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/691462">Research</a> finds people complete cognitive tasks better with their phones in another room rather than in their pockets. People with phones on their desks performed the worst.</p> <p>Setting specific work hours and website blockers can limit distractions.</p> <p><strong>4. Chunk your time</strong></p> <p>Group similar tasks together and allocate specific time blocks to focus on them. For example, respond to all outstanding emails in one stint, rather than writing one, then task-switching to making a phone call.</p> <p>This approach <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7075496/">increases efficiency</a> and reduces the time spent transitioning between different activities.</p> <p><strong>5. Take breaks</strong></p> <p>A <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2022-90592-001">2022 systematic review</a> of workplace breaks found taking breaks throughout the day improves focus, wellbeing and helps get more work done.</p> <p><strong>6. Delegate</strong></p> <p>Whether at home or work, you don’t have to do it all! Identify tasks that can be effectively delegated to others or automated.</p> <p>To finish the year feeling good, try putting one or more of these techniques into practice and prepare for a restful break.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/216175/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sophie-scott-1462197"><em>Sophie Scott</em></a><em>, Associate Professor (Adjunct), Science Communication, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-notre-dame-australia-852">University of Notre Dame Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gordon-parker-94386">Gordon Parker</a>, Scientia Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-beginning-to-look-a-lot-like-burnout-how-to-take-care-of-yourself-before-the-holidays-start-216175">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Olympic hero "fighting for her life" in intensive care

<p>In the world of gymnastics, few names shine as brightly as that of Mary Lou Retton. The Olympic gold medallist and legendary American gymnast has long been celebrated for her incredible contributions to the sport, etching her legacy into the annals of history. But now, a dark cloud of concern hovers over this American icon, as she battles a rare and relentless adversary: a severe form of pneumonia.</p> <p>The shocking news has shaken the hearts of fans and sports enthusiasts worldwide, as the daughter of the 55-year-old Retton shared the news that she is "fighting for her life" in an intensive care unit, unable to breathe on her own for over a week now.</p> <p>McKenna Kelley, Retton's daughter, recently set up a <a href="https://www.spotfund.com/story/a2e0582c-e62f-4e5b-a586-18349014f761" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fundraising account</a> to share her mother's grave situation and the urgency of her need for support. The emotional plea disclosed that Mary Lou Retton was uninsured, leaving the burden of her healthcare costs in the hands of her loved ones and well-wishers.</p> <p>In an emotionally charged post on the fundraising platform, Kelley wrote: "My amazing mom, Mary Lou, has a very rare form of pneumonia and is fighting for her life."</p> <p>While respecting her mother's privacy, Kelley refrained from divulging further details about the nature of the pneumonia that has gripped Retton's life, instead requesting the one thing we can all offer – our prayers.</p> <p>Mary Lou Retton's remarkable gymnastics career needs no introduction. She etched her name into the annals of history during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, securing her place as one of the greatest gymnasts in history.</p> <p>At those Summer Games, Retton achieved an astonishing feat by winning five medals, including a groundbreaking gold in the individual all-around competition, a first for any American woman. Her achievements garnered her the title of Sportsperson of the Year by <em>Sports Illustrated</em> in 1984, a testament to her indomitable spirit and unparalleled dedication to her craft.</p> <p>At the time of writing, the fundraising account dedicated to supporting Mary Lou Retton had received an overwhelming outpouring of love and support. With more than 2,000 donors and counting, the campaign has already raised over $US300,000, surpassing its original goal of $US50,000.</p> <p>The outpouring of generosity underscores the enduring impact and admiration that Mary Lou Retton has left in the hearts of many.</p> <p>Beyond the gymnasium, Retton's influence extended into the world of entertainment, appearing in movies and TV shows, including a memorable stint on <em>Baywatch</em> in 1993 and the film Naked<em> Gun 33 ¹/₃: The Final Insult</em> in 1994. She also served on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports during President George W. Bush's administration, underscoring her enduring commitment to promoting physical health and well-being.</p> <p>In recognition of her remarkable contributions to the world of gymnastics, Mary Lou Retton was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997 and became the first woman to be honored by the Houston Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. Her legacy extended to the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame, inducted in 1992, and in her hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia, a street and park bear her name, a lasting tribute to her enduring impact.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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What your family history says about your eyesight

<p>Eye disorders can be caused by many things such as infection and injury but did you know it can also be genetic? We know looking up our family history is important for our health but it’s also vitally important to do so for our eyes. Genetics do play a role in determining your family’s susceptibility to certain eye diseases so it’s a good idea to check your family history as well as record any eye issues you have for future generations.</p> <p>Here are some of the most common hereditary eye conditions. </p> <p><strong>Glaucoma</strong></p> <p>Not all glaucoma is inherited but the most common type, primary open-angle glaucoma, is hereditary. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, a family history of glaucoma increases your risk around four to nine times.</p> <p>Coupled with the fact glaucoma is much more common as you age, it’s a good idea to get your eyes checked regularly. Glaucoma can lead to the reduction in peripheral vision and even blindness. Signs include bulging eyes, excessive tearing and abnormal sensitivity to light.</p> <p><strong>Age-related macular degeneration</strong></p> <p>Scientist have found that genetics may contribute to the risk of having macular degeneration but it’s not always the case. Some people never develop it even though both parents may have it while others get it even though there is no family history. The current research shows that genetics contribute to macular degeneration anywhere from 40 to 70 percent.</p> <p>However, whether you have a family history or not it’s important to get your eyes checked as age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people aged 50 and over. </p> <p><strong>Colour blindness</strong></p> <p>A misnomer as people are not ‘blind’ but colour vision deficient. People who are colour blind usually cannot distinguish between certain colours such as red and green. Inherited colour blindness is common in men with women rarely affected. There is no treatment and most people adjust to the condition.</p> <p><strong>Retinitis pigmentosa</strong></p> <p>A mutated gene causes the retina to degenerate which can lead to night blindness and vision loss. Most cases are inherited and it usually appears in childhood but vision loss doesn’t occur until later in life. There is unfortunately no cure and no treatments but researchers are making significant progress in identifying the genes that cause retinitis pigmentosa.</p> <p><strong>Achromatopsia</strong></p> <p>An inherited condition (only if both parents have the recessive gene) that affects 1 in 33,000 people. The condition is associated with decreased vision, sensitivity to light and colour blindness.</p> <p><strong>Optic atrophy</strong></p> <p>Optic atrophy may be inherited or caused by brain trauma, inflammation, degenerative disorders, haemorrhage or tumour. The breakdown of the optic nerve causes vision loss. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Top tips to protect your outdoor furniture

<p>If you have outdoor furniture, it’s important to look after it properly so it will stay in good condition over the years. Remember to invest in UV and water-resistant<strong> </strong>chair covers<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong> </strong></span>and pillows in order to ensure you can enjoy your outdoor furniture without the hassle of replacing all your items. Here’s how to care for your furniture.</p> <p><strong>1. Wooden</strong></p> <p>To get your wooden outdoor furniture ready for use, clean with hot soapy water or a hardwood cleaning fluid at the beginning of the season. If the furniture is very dirty then you can lightly sand the furniture after cleaning. It is a good idea to oil or paint your outdoor furniture after cleaning.</p> <p>If you want your furniture to age naturally, then oil the furniture with two coats and leave to dry for 48 hours. Use hardwood oil for eucalyptus and teak oil for teak furniture. If you want your outdoor furniture to look new, then use a stained oil. If you want to completely transform your furniture then paint with 2-3 coats and it should last for roughly three years.</p> <p><strong>2. Metal</strong></p> <p>When you wash your metal outdoor furniture be sure to clean it with a non-abrasive cloth. If the furniture is made from steel, you need to treat any scratches that expose the bare metal underneath to prevent rust. If rust has already set it on your furniture, remove it using steel wool and then touch it up using an exterior metal paint of the same colour.</p> <p>If your furniture is made from aluminium, it won’t rust but it may suffer from aluminium oxidation. This won’t decrease the strength of the furniture but it will change the colour of the metal over time. To prevent this from happening, make sure you clean it regularly and store it away or keep it covered during the winter months.</p> <p>One tip to keep your metal furniture in pristine condition is to polish it with car wax after you have finished cleaning it. The wax will help the furniture be more water resistant.</p> <p><strong>3. Rattan</strong></p> <p>Synthetic rattan is UV and weather-resistant so it won’t be as worn out by the weather conditions. Whenever it needs a refresh, wash with soapy water. It is important to keep an eye on the frame underneath as if that is made from steel rather than aluminium, you will need to abide by the metal care rules.</p> <p><strong>4. Resin</strong></p> <p>Resin outdoor furniture is fairly easy to look after. Wash it regularly with soap to keep it in great condition. If there is dirt or stains that are particularly hard to get out, then wash your furniture with a pressure washer.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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