Category: Dr. Sue Ferguson

Are You a Worry-Wart at the Moment?

A certain amount of anxiety or worry is normal and helpful. If you often feel shaky, get butterflies in your stomach, find it hard to relax, or worry a lot, these can be part of anxiety. A good way to reduce anxiety is to practice relaxation or meditation! Smiling Mind or Calm apps are good. Try this breathing exercise – take a long slow breath (imagine you are sniffing a flower or perfume), then slowly breathe out (imagine you are blowing out candles). It’s normal to feel concern and be hesitant to get back to activities we have avoided for...

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The Importance of Self-Care for Seniors

Taking the time to care for yourself is linked to not just your own health, but also to your ability to take care of others. As one of my sisters reminds me, (metaphorically, following airline advice) put your own facemask on first, only then can you help others. Yes, self-care includes a good diet, exercise, and sleep, but also protecting yourself from COVID-19, and the flu. So, keep social distancing and get your flu shot if you haven’t already! It also involves keeping up with self-management routines for your existing chronic illnesses and talking to your GP regularly (by...

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Positive Ways to Deal with Stress

This is a tough time for everyone, with physical distancing from others and anxiety about COVID-19. There is a lot to deal with – the loss of our usual routines and activities, the loss of income for many as our superannuation goes down, and some the loss of jobs. For those living alone, the loss of physical contact or a simple hug is particularly hard. It’s important to acknowledge the feelings we are having in this situation. One important point is to stay up to date with the latest information, but only watch or read about it once or...

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Meaning in Life for Older Adults

There is a lot of research now showing that having a sense of meaning or purpose is linked to not just psychological benefits, but also to physical health and even to longevity. Part of the meaning we experience in our life is linked to our sense of having a purpose (or reason) for living. Mark Zuckerberg says “purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed – that we have something better ahead to work for.” But we don’t need some major achievement – we are not all Mother Teresa! So...

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Coping with Bushfires

Even those of us not directly affected by the unprecedented bushfires can still be feeling distressed and helpless. This is a normal reaction to witnessing the level of destruction going on recently here in Australia (even if we only see it on the TV). So how should everyone, especially seniors who are in a frail state of mind or body, stay safe, help others, and manage their own distress? If you live in a potential bushfire-affected area, make sure you have a plan and have discussed it with your family or carer. All retirement homes also have evacuation policies in place. If you don’t drive, talk to family and neighbours about whether they can help you evacuate. Keep up to date with warnings via the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Fires Near Me app, or by listening to local ABC radio (702 am). See the RFS website for more advice on preparation for fires. If you are talking to a loved one who lives in a fire affected area, there are several things you can do: • Listen, support and reassure them. • Read about how to help e.g. bushfire pages on the Australian Red Cross, or the Australian Psychological Society website. • Put them in touch with services available to help practically (if needed) such as the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line 1800 018 444. • If you’re worried...

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