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Local News

Australians are Living Longer but Require More Support, Study Finds

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Australians are Living Longer but Require More Support, Study Finds

 

A pre-COVID-19 health data study has revealed that Australians over 70 are living longer, but their increasing longevity is placing greater demands on the health care system. This research, conducted by the University of Adelaide, was led by Dr. Liliana G. Ciobanu and Associate Professor Scott R. Clark. The study involved collaborators from GBD Australia and examined Global Burden of Disease statistics from 1990 to 2019.

Their findings, published in The Lancet Regional Health, estimated several health metrics including mortality, causes of death, years of life lost (YLLs), years lived with disability (YLDs), disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), life expectancy at age 70 and above (LE-70), and healthy life expectancy (HALE-70). These metrics were compared globally and with high socio-demographic index (SDI) groups.

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Key Findings

  • Life Expectancy Increase: In 2019, the LE-70 for men was 86 years, while for women it was 83.3 years. This marks an increase of 3.9 years for men and 3 years for women since 1990.
  • Improved Longevity in Males: Dr. Ciobanu highlighted that the overall increase in life expectancy is primarily due to improved longevity in males, driven by reductions in YLLs from cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases.
  • Rising Health Burden: Despite a reduction in DALY rates, the absolute number of DALYs for older Australians increased by 72.4% from 1990 to 2019, reflecting a growing burden on the health system.
  • Top Causes of YLLs: Ischemic heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer were identified as the top reasons for years lost from life expectancy.

Health Care Implications

Dr. Ciobanu expressed concern over the rising DALYs, indicating a significant strain on the health system due to the expanding older population. She emphasized the need for further research to develop targeted support and intervention programs, especially considering potential shifts in care and illness burden post-COVID.

“While some environmental and lifestyle risks, like smoking, are decreasing, others, such as climate instability, are increasing and require urgent coordinated intervention,” she said.

Associate Professor Clark added that the findings establish pre-COVID baseline estimates for Australians aged 70 and above, crucial for health care preparedness. The study found significant increases in the burden from neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, diabetes, chronic renal disease, prostate cancer, and falls. He stressed the need for multifaceted strategies to address these issues, including co-morbidity management and reviewing the use of sedating medications.

Future Research

The researchers plan to evaluate post-COVID data to assess the pandemic’s impact on the health outcomes of older Australians. Associate Professor Clark noted that COVID-19 differentially affected older Australians in terms of mortality and access to care for chronic diseases. “The impact on fatal and non-fatal burden will potentially have significant implications for aged care moving forward,” he said.

The researchers hope their findings will inform policymaking and health care practices to better meet the evolving needs of Australia’s aging population.

 

For more seniors news, click here.

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Local News

The Beauty of the Sugar Industry

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Harwood Sugar Mill Mural

The Beauty of the Sugar Industry

 

A recently completed mural at the entry to the 150-year-old Harwood Sugar Mill is stopping traffic and creating excitement in the little village with the oldest Australian owned sugar mill.

In the lead up to the 150-year celebrations, artist Nitsua, has created an artwork that reflects the blending of the cane growing and milling activities in the Northern Rivers, that exists thanks to the all-Australian partnership between the grower-owned NSW Sugar Milling Cooperative and family-owned Manildra Group.

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The artwork was commissioned by Sunshine Sugar as part of the preparations to celebrate the significant milestone of 150 years continuous manufacturing operation and Australian ownership – all on the same location on the bank of the mighty Clarence River.

As Sunshine Sugar CEO, Mr Chris Connors commented: “Not too many businesses in Australia can say they have achieved such a significant milestone, which is why we are making the effort to celebrate and promote the resilient industry we have here in NSW.”

Sunshine Sugar and the NSW sugar industry have a line-up of community events and activities happening at Harwood (near Yamba) in August. The celebrations with culminate in a massive outdoor community event to be held at the Harwood Cricket Oval on Sunday 25th August.

Find out more at: 150th Harwood Mill Landing Page – Sunshine Sugar

 

For more rural news, click here.

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Kyogle News

Services Australia’s Mobile Service Centre “Golden Wattle” to Visit Northern Rivers Region

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Golden Wattle

Services Australia’s Mobile Service Centre “Golden Wattle” to Visit Northern Rivers Region

 

Services Australia’s Mobile Service Centre, Golden Wattle, is set to visit towns in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, providing easy access to Centrelink, Medicare, National Disability Insurance Scheme, and Department of Veterans’ Affairs services.

Golden Wattle will visit:

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  • Nimbin: Wednesday, 17 July, opposite the neighbourhood centre, Cullen Street (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Urbenville: Thursday, 18 July, near Captain Cook Park, Urben Street (9:30 am to 3:30 pm)
  • Woodenbong: Friday, 19 July, in front of Woodenbong Hall, Unumgar Street (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Kyogle: Monday, 22 July and Tuesday, 23 July, in the Kyogle visitor centre car park, Summerland Way (9:00 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Bonalbo: Wednesday, 24 July, in front of Bonalbo Hall, Koreelah Street (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Tabulam: Thursday, 25 July, opposite the hotel, Court Street (9:30 am to 3:00 pm)

About Mobile Services Centres: Mobile Services Centres are 20-tonne trucks operated by Services Australia staff, providing regional and rural Australians with friendly, face-to-face service and tailored support. On this trip, staff can assist with:

  • Centrelink claims
  • Medicare registrations
  • Accessing online services

Additionally, information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Department of Veterans’ Affairs programs and support services will be available.

For more information, visit the Services Australia website.

 

For more local news, click here.

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Lismore News

Saffin Secures $30,000 Grant for Youth Crime Prevention

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Lismore MP Janelle Saffin with North-Tracks Works Chair Patrick Higgins, Secretary/board member Kevin Bell and Mr Bell’s working dog Maezzie. - Youth Crime Prevention

Saffin Secures $30,000 Grant for Youth Crime Prevention

 

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has successfully secured a $30,000 grant for North-Tracks Works, a Lismore-based organisation dedicated to empowering vulnerable young people. This funding will enable the expansion of their life-changing programs to engage more youth in Goonellabah, Coraki, and Casino.

Ms. Saffin expressed her gratitude to NSW Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley for approving the grant following her advocacy on behalf of North-Tracks Works. She praised the organisation, which operates out of a shed in South Lismore, for its impactful work with young people aged 11 to 18, offering one-on-one support, mentoring, and practical learning opportunities.

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“I previously secured a $44,000 Local Small Commitments Allocation grant to help North-Tracks purchase equipment and materials for skill-building,” Ms. Saffin said. “This additional grant will allow North-Tracks to employ youth workers and expand their proven youth program, which is supported by Richmond Police District Commander Superintendent Scott Tanner.”

Patrick Higgins, Chair of North-Tracks Works and a local real estate agent, thanked Ms. Saffin for her efforts in securing the additional funding from Minister Catley. “We don’t fit in the box for normal funding. Our approach is about creating a sense of belonging and purpose through our skills program and training working dogs. It’s the work with the dogs that bridges the gap,” Mr. Higgins explained.

“At North-Tracks, we spend 10 percent looking back, 10 percent at where you are now, and 80 percent looking forward. We help them chase their dreams and goals,” he added. “Our team has three basic goals: keep them safe and alive, keep them out of jail, and help them move forward to live a full and productive life.”

This funding is set to sustain and expand North-Tracks Works’ impactful initiatives, providing more opportunities for at-risk youth to gain essential skills and find a sense of purpose and for Youth Crime Prevention.

 

For more local Lismore news, click here.

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