Mental Health

Mental Heath

Recently I read an article in the Alfred foundation newsletter regarding treatment for severe depression. Not all treatments or medications for people who are seriously affected by depression work. One therapy that is having some success is the use of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic stimulation (rTMS). This process is completely painless and it involves placing magnetic coils near the patient’s head and sending a series of focused electromagnetic pulses into the brain. Research by Alfred’s group and others has clearly shown that this therapy alleviates severe depression. As the treatment needs to administered daily over a four to six week period it is difficult if the patient is in a serious state especially not eating or drinking. New trials are under way by Prof Fitzgerald’s research team to compress the time and therefore be able to other this treatment to a wider range of patients.

If this can help patients from committing suicide or severe depression it will be worthwhile. Many families are devastated by their members with severe depression and at times you feel helpless. For further information regarding this research please phone 03 9076 6595  If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide or is suffering from severe depression contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

Extracts from Hospital Life Spring 2014 – Alfred Foundation, PO Box 2021, Prahran Victoria 3181



Robin Williams RIP

This wonderful man who brought so much laughter and entertainment, suffered from mental illness and fought against it for a long time. A lot of us self medicate with alcohol just so we feel normal and able to cope. Lend a hand to a friend who suffers from depression, take them for a coffee, hold their hand, be available, do something together that  you both enjoy and most of all listen! Our friends brings us so much joy we need to look after them and give them a big HUG!

Good nutrition for seniors is vital for good mental health.

 Walking has important mental health benefits and is considered an essential ingredient for long term health and happiness. When you are feeling anxious and depressed it is hard to push yourself out of the chair or get out of bed to breath in fresh air and start walking.  This is the beneficial and positive thing to do for yourself and your mental health. Walking clubs are great for social, exercise and feeling part of the community. Most neighbourhood houses or community centres have walking clubs. Check it out!

Improving mental health environments in the workplace

A new initiative by bey0ndblue is the which will provide a guide for business on improving their mental health environment. Employees taking sick leave due to stress and depression is costing the workplace millions of dollars.

“This is a vital service for older workers who now have to work to 70 and maybe being part of a much y0unger work team and having a young manager who might  not understand the problems facing older workers. Competition and one-upmanship is rife in the workplace which causes and lot of tension and stress. Personally at one job I drank too much to cope with the backstabbing and stress. Could not wait to get home and have a large glass of red.”

Depression and older people

Depression is common throughout the Australian population, and older people are more likely to experience contributing factors such as physical illness or personal loss

It is thought that between 10 and 15 per cent of older people experience depression and approximately 10 per cent experience anxiety. Rates of depression among people living in residential aged-care facilities are believed to be much higher, at around 35 per cent.

Unfortunately, many people over 65 still seem to feel there is a stigma attached to depression and mental health conditions, viewing them as a weakness of character rather than a health problem.

Older people are also more hesitant to share their experiences of depression with others, often ignoring symptoms over long periods of time and only seeking professional help when things reach crisis point.

The thing is, depression and anxiety are common. They affect 3 million Australians every year. There’s no need for older people to feel they have to live with depression or anxiety. They are not a weakness of character – but common conditions for which help is available. Effective treatments exist for older people and the good news is, with the right treatment for depression and anxiety, most people recover.

Please seek advice from your GP and beyondblue is a valuable website for clarification and information


Depression and Anxiety – Men

beyondblue has an excellent website and part of this site is Man Therapy which is advertised during AFL matches. This is a great site for our dear Menfolk to come to grips and understanding of mental health issues.
The pull down menus offer great information:

“beyondblue is proud to announce a landmark media partnership with Channel 7 to promote the national Man Therapy campaign during AFL matches.

Man Therapy is an Australian-first campaign that encourages men to look after their mental health and keep an eye out for their mates.

The new partnership will work to reduce Australia’s shocking male suicide rate, which sees almost 2000 males take their own lives each year, double the number who die on Australian roads.”

After checking out this website the next  step  is to see your GP who may suggest the following:

20s, 30s & 40s 50 and over
Your family medical History All of those… plus
Chat about how you are feeling Blood tests – blood sugar and cholesterol
Blood pressure Prostate cancer testing
Skin cancer check Bowel cancer screening
Weight and physical activity Kidney health
Sexual health
Anything else

A referral to the appropriate specialist might be required. A family history of mental illness and depression is another reason we should seek help if we feel life is just too hard!

  from: beyondblue depression and anxiety

What makes us happy? When we are depressed we need to focus on things in life we enjoy, I know sometimes it is not easy and we cannot be bothered but for our mental health we need to partake in life.

After interviewing a number of people here are some of their thoughts:

50 Plus category

  • Having a dog and enjoying the companionship
  • Time out on my own without the family
  • Time with Friends, coffee, eating out, going to cinema together
  • Sister time
  • Music of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s
  • Time out in Geelong and surrounding country areas
  • Live theatre, local productions

Male comment

  • Time out on my own in the backyard
  • Having a beer at the end of the work day
  • Having a partner and not being on y0ur own
  • Going to the pub with family for a counter lunch
  • AFL, Rugby League, races
  • Going to the country and helping out on the farm
  • Steam train trips
  • Tinkering with the car
  • Playing bowls and having a social drink and chat afterwards
  • Meeting new and interesting people
  • Spending time with my granddaughters
  • Finishing projects
  • Waking up after a good sleep
  • Relaxing over a good bottle of red
  • Doing a good turn without payment required
  • Being with cheery and positive people

70 Plus Category

  • Having a cigar, a malt whiskey with my friends at the cigar bar
  • Tennis
  • Eating out
  • Walking the dogs

40 Plus category

  • Walk in the sunshine
  • My own time without the kids.
  • End of the work day
  • Going out for coffee
  • Dining out – Japanese
  • Music of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s

60 Plus Category

  • Close friendships, having a coffee together, enjoying the cinema
  • Going for a drive with my partner and dog.
  • Riding my bike and enjoying being out in the fresh air.
  • Soccer
  • Happy hour at the local pub with a free glass of bubbles.
  • People watching
  • Cuddles from my grandsons
  • Cooking in peace and quiet with the radio on
  • Enjoying being with my partner at the end of the day
  • Taking the dog for a walk and meeting up with like minded doggie friends
  • Going to the AFL footy with my daughter
  • Live theatre, live music, watching my granddaughter perform in school productions
  • Watching my favourite programmes on the ABC
  • Races, country meetings, country markets, country life and festivals
  • Music, blues, jazz and music of the 60’s
  • Sister time, going on cruise holidays together and being ourselves.
  • Friends and family
  • Being with my dogs, caring for them and taking them on walks
  • Music
  • A glass or two of red in front of an open fire
  • Sunshine between my shoulder blades
  • Spontaneous laughter
  • Clean house in 5 minutes
  • Fresh sheets on the bed with the smell of sunshine and fresh air
  • Cuddling my baby grandson and looking after him
  • Long walks in the fresh air
  • Spending time with my granddaughter
  • Love and affection, plenty of cuddles
  • Playing bridge and my dear bridge friends
  • Spending time with my best friend
  • Doing activities and holidaying with my sister

We will keep building on this list and see how much in common we have that makes us happy

it seems grandkids, friends, pets are a high on the list



What is dementia?

Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain.  It is not one specific disease.  Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks.  Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.

Who gets dementia?

Most people with dementia are older, but it is important to remember that not all older people get dementia. It is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65 years. People in their 40s and 50s can also have dementia.

What causes dementia?

There are many different forms of dementia and each has its own causes. The most common types of dementia are; Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), Huntington’s disease, Alcohol related dementia (Korsakoff’s syndrome) and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.

What are the early signs of dementia?

The early signs of dementia are very subtle and vague and may not be immediately obvious. Some common symptoms may include:

  • Progressive and frequent memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Personality change
  • Apathy and withdrawal
  • Loss of ability to perform everyday tasks.

this information is extracted from © Alzheimer’s Australia 2005

If you are concerned one of your close family members has/had dementia please see  your doctor who can recommend further treatment, referral, reassurance, tests etc.

Many things are suggested to help prevent or slow the development of dementia such as

  • keeping the brain active for eg crosswords, problem solving, chess
  • social interaction, meeting new people, learning new skills, listening to new ideas
  • blood pressure and weight managed
  • Depression and social isolation need to be addressed for our seniors
  • monitor alcohol intake
  • healthy diet plus eating a diet rich in omega-3
  • exercise


There is no test for Alzheimer’s disease but diagnosis is aided by: psychiatric and neurological tests; blood and urine tests and imaging tests such as CT scans.

There is no cure for AD but medications can delay the progress of the condition or can ease symptoms such as depression.

Developing a health and social care plan outlining the type of assistance that may be needed in future is also part of treatment.

extracted from BodyandSoul – great information and easy to understand

Dementia update:

Psychologists have found that music can also help people battling Alzheimers and also their family. A study found that singing in a choir together was a breath a fresh air into their relationships. Singing with their partners  allowed them to share the activity equally together and increase the sense of togetherness that can be missed when one is worried and caring for the other.

Singing also boosted the sufferer’s self confidence and gave them an identity besides the dementia. Also the pleasure derived from singing was an added benefit. Partners felt a release from the tension of caring and a freedom of their responsibilities.

extract from Herald Sun 2nd Dec 2015



  1. Mental Health is such an important issue and all we ask in life is peace of mind and acceptance. warmest wishes cannyseniors

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