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Latest News & Updates

Latest News & Updates

Dorothea Allen, 80, and her husband Dan, 85, left some good friends behind when they retired to Brisbane three years ago.

“We managed a caravan park just south of Mackay, so were constantly surrounded by people,” said Dorothea. “We moved down here to be close to our children and grandchildren, which is just wonderful. But we no longer drive, which can be isolating. And I missed the joy of having my friends around me.”

Dorothea combatted her loneliness with weekly visits to Centacare’s community hub at Coorparoo. In three years, she hasn’t missed a day. “We have some good laughs, I love the chats and the gossip. And we support each other,” said Dorothea.

The importance of social connection in shaping wellbeing has been studied extensively. A 2018 Relationships Australia report found 1 in 10 Australians felt socially isolated and 1 in 6 felt lonely. Risk factors relating to loneliness have been found to be equivalent to substance abuse, obesity and smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

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What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, its social connection that keeps us living well in our later years.

At Centacare we support our clients to age well in their own home by staying active in their communities and connected to friends and social networks. In a presentation to Brisbane South residents on 24 February, Centacare Service Delivery Manager Jeff Kesby shared his top tips for increasing social connections in later life.

Find your purpose

It’s important we continue to find meaning in life as we age. Research shows that those with a sense of purpose are less likely to experience social isolation. Activities keep our minds working well and hobbies and interests are inherently social in nature. What makes you get up in the morning? Is it a love of photography? Playing cards with your neighbours? Pottering around in the garden? Perhaps there are opportunities for you to share your skills and experience in a community volunteering role? The possibilities are endless!

Take advantage of flexible respite

If you spend time caring for someone else, you may have less energy to look after yourself and your own social needs. You may be able to access in-home or community based support for the person you care for. Knowing your loved one is in safe hands, you will enjoy the opportunity to focus on your own wellbeing and what’s important for you.

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Some people don’t like to think about getting older, preferring to make plans ‘when the need arises’.

Beth and Paul, from Middle Park in Brisbane’s South West, believe in planning ahead.  

“The earlier you start planning for your later years, the better,” said Paul.

“Maintaining our home is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a four bedroom, two bathroom home with a pool and a big garden. We’re proud of our home. We’ve lived here for thirty years and have good friends around us. It’s our goal to stay living here for as long as possible, but we accept we need support to achieve that.

“A friend told us that we might be eligible for subsidised home maintenance and modifications. We phoned Centacare and they sent Scott around – one of their fully-licensed handymen. Scott was great. He conducted a full assessment of our house and identified what we would need to keep us safe and secure in our house, both now and in the future.

“He arranged for trusted tradesmen to clear out our gutters and to install new locks and rollers on our big sliding glass door. It was previously too hard to slide open, we couldn’t manage. It’s like a brand new door now,” said Paul.

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Your NDIS plan review is an opportunity for you to check if your services and supports are helping you work towards, and achieve your goals.

It’s important to remember that there is no set timeframe for when your plan will be reviewed. An NDIS planner or your Local Area Coordinator may contact you up to three months before your plan is due to expire to arrange a time for the plan review.

If you are unable to find a suitable time to meet before your existing plan expires, your plan will automatically be extended for 28 days. You will not be left without funding.

It’s not necessary to pick new goals at your plan review, but you should be prepared to show how your supports and services are helping you make progress and achieve your goals. Before you attend your plan review meeting, ask your providers to give you any supporting evidence that shows the types of supports and funding you used in the plan period. Your provider should also be able to provide you with evidence to show how you have worked towards achieving your goals.

In the lead up to your plan review meeting, you might also want to think about:

  • what worked well in your plan and what didn’t work well
  • whether you achieved your goals or made progress towards achieving them
  • which goals you need to continue to work on, which goals you need to change and any new goals you would like recorded in the new plan
  • who can help you achieve your goals
  • whether you will need NDIS support in the future
  • whether any of your circumstances have changed
  • whether you would like to change how all or some of your plan funding is managed.

Some important things you could take to your plan review meeting include:

  • a copy of your NDIS Plan
  • copies of your Service Agreements (including quotes)
  • recommendations from providers or therapists (if you require additional funding)
  • information about how you have worked towards your goals
  • a person you trust and who knows you well
  • any reports from your support coordinator or plan manager.

As soon as you have had your plan review, it is important you tell your SDM so they can start preparing new paperwork for your supports.

If you have questions, please phone 1300 236 822 or contact your SDM.

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Just over 12 months ago, Sarah applied for NDIS funding with a clear goal to move out of the family home and live independently. “It was time I had my own space,” said Sarah. “It is important for my health and wellbeing to live independently”.

A client of Centacare’s learning and development hub at Wilston, Sarah worked closely with her long-time support worker, Sheeta, to achieve her goal. Today, she happily shares a Supported Independent Living (SIL) house at Wooloowin.

Sarah and Sheeta used Sarah’s weekly 1:1 sessions to research SIL houses. Sarah made many of the phone calls herself and tried her best to handle the conversations. They spent time developing the skills Sarah would need to live independently including budgeting, scheduling appointments, time management, planning healthy meals, cooking, travelling, grocery shopping and house-keeping.

Sarah said she was full of confidence by the time it came to move out of home. “It was a big change for me but I wasn’t worried at all,” she said. “Sheeta helped me find a good place to live and I worked hard to learn the skills I would need”.

Sarah has been ticking off goals for many years. In 2011 Centacare Wilston supported Sarah to secure a volunteer position with a radio station. Sarah started out in a promotions role, putting merchandise packs together. With the support of Centacare, Sarah developed her computer skills and has now progressed to an administration role.

Sarah’s support worker Sheeta said Sarah had overcome her shyness and grown in many areas in a very short time. “Sarah has made real life changes and pushed herself outside her comfort zone to gain independence,” said Sheeta. “She is a role model for her peers and I could not be prouder”.

Sarah’s achievements were recognised when she accepted the Harry Cusack Award at the 2019 Centacare HAND Awards in November. Harry Cusack was a foundation member of Centacare Wilston who achieved incredible things by stepping outside his comfort zone.

For more information about Supported Independent Living or Centacare’s learning and development services, contact your Service Delivery Manager or phone 1300 236 822.

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Help is available to support you through your NDIS journey. From understanding how the scheme could work for you and what information or evidence you might need to provide, to preparing for your planning meeting, or questioning decisions about eligibility or what’s included in your plan, Centacare can help you.

In each edition of NDIS News we help answer your questions about how the NDIS will affect you and the types of help available to you. If you have other questions about the NDIS, please phone 1300 236 822 or contact your SDM.

The NDIA released another new Price Guide on 1 December. What has changed?

A small number of changes have been made to the NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue 2019-20. The changes are effective 1 December 2019.

Key changes include:

  • Increased price limits for Short Term Accommodation and Assistance across weekdays, weekends and public holidays and from 1:1 through to 1:4 support ratios. As respite is only an occasional care need, the NDIA has said participant plans will not be indexed as a result of the change.
  • The NDIA has introduced the word ‘respite’ into the title and description of all Short Term Accommodation and Assistance line items. This aims to ensure families and carers are able to take time off to manage their own health and wellbeing.
  • Medium Term Accommodation (MTA) has been introduced as a new support type for participants who require transitional accommodation before moving into a more permanent home.

 Read more about the changes here or contact the NDIA to find out more.

Will the NDIS close over the Christmas and New Year Period? How will it impact my payments?

NDIA offices will close at 5pm on 24 December and re-open at 9am on Thursday 2 January 2020. The NDIA National Contact Centre will remain open throughout the holidays and can be contacted from 8am to 8pm (local time) on 1800 800 110.

There will be some small delays to payments during this period. For payment requests submitted between 24 and 27 December, payments will be received from 30 December. For payment requests submitted on 31 December and 1 January, payments will be received from 3 January. All periodic transport payments will be paid as normal.  

Do I need to sign a Service Agreement with Centacare?

The NDIS does not require participants to have Service Agreements with providers. However, having a Service Agreement can help you understand the type of services and supports you need as well as the cost of those services and supports. If you receive services from Centacare, you will be provided with a Service Agreement and Schedule of Support (a quote). If you or your nominee are unable to return the signed documents, Centacare will still provide you with supports as long as it has been agreed how it will be paid for with your NDIS funding.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $537 million funding package for aged care on Monday. The package includes $496.3 million to fund an additional 10,000 home care packages, which will be strongly weighted towards Level 3 and Level 4 packages. 5,500 packages will be rolled out from 1 December.

Centacare Executive Director Peter Selwood said the funding injection was good news for older Australians who were on the waitlist for a home care package or who are on a lower level package than what they had been assessed for.

“The new funding will help speed up access to in-home care and ensure older Australians receive high-quality services when and where they need them,” said Mr Selwood.

“Centacare is committed to ensuring its 7,800 aged care clients live healthy, safe and independent lives in their own homes and communities.

“We support older Australians to live a purposeful life, which means staying connected in their community, getting involved in the things that are important to them and building or maintaining their confidence and capacity to live independently for as long as possible”.

Mr Selwood urged those who receive a letter from My Aged Care to contact their service provider.

“That way we can increase your services and support in line with your level of funding,” said Mr Selwood.

Those who are waiting for a home care package may be able to access subsidised services through the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). This can include personal care, domestic assistance, home safety and maintenance, short breaks, social activities, health and wellness and support for family and carers.  

Call 1300 236 822 or visit for further information 

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Working towards an accessible future is everyone’s responsibility. Centacare Moreton Bay is working in partnership with Moreton Bay Regional Council and local surf lifesaving clubs to enable everyone, regardless of their age or ability, to access the sand and water at the most popular beaches in the regions.

The accessible beaches initiative will be trialled at Woorim Beach, Bribie Island until May 2020. 40 metres of beach matting has been installed and two beach wheelchairs are available for free hire through Bribie Island Surf Club.

The matting enables people who might ordinarily find it difficult or impossible to travel over sand, such as wheelchair users, seniors and parents with prams, to access the beach. Beach wheelchairs enhance the beach experience by allowing users to travel along the shoreline and into shallow water. The matting is available seven days a week and the wheelchairs are available every weekend and on public holidays.

Find out more about the trial

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Shirley, 87, is one busy lady. She looks after her husband of 65 years, Keith, who has dementia. She has nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and tends to their three-bedroom Corinda home, which they’ve shared for 50 years.

“Keith likes to have me close by, which can make it difficult to run errands and get the housework done,” said Shirley. “It’s because of the support we receive from Centacare that we are able to stay living here in our home.”

Through a Home Care Package, Keith and Shirley receive funding for ‘flexible respite’ – a combination of services provided in the home, in the community and/or at a centre.

“Centacare encourages us to choose the services that will help us live our best lives, in the home we love,” said Shirley. “A support worker comes to our house seven days a week to shower Keith and every Tuesday he goes to Centacare’s Jamboree Heights Learning and Leisure Hub, where he meets up with his mates. I don’t know what they talk about, but that doesn’t matter. He enjoys spending time with likeminded people. He also does a balance class, which he’s very good at. I’m not surprised – he was a champion lifesaver in his day.”


On Wednesdays, Keith enjoys getting out in the community. Centacare picks him up from his house and takes him to lunch or another planned outing or activity.


“It’s good for both of us. It gives me time to attend to the errands I need to as well as space to enjoy the things I love like sewing and gardening.”


“The team at Centacare are wonderful. I recently had a fall and broke my tailbone. They organised an occupational therapist and a walker for me and helped me with the housework, taking on the things I couldn’t do like vacuuming and hanging out the sheets. They also built a ramp to improve our access to the house and when the water heater broke they installed a new one.

“The care and support we receive is personalised according to our needs – it’s all about keeping us living well here in our own home, which we love.





Home Care Packages

  • We will take all reasonable steps to protect your privacy and the confidentiality of your information, including Personal Information provided by you, in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
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Corinda residents Mary Dann, 75, and Shirley Hamilton, 87, love being ‘online’. They use Facebook to keep in touch with family and Shirley streams music through her iPad.

Today, during Queensland Senior’s Week (17-25 August), Mary and Shirley further expanded their skills at a special technology workshop held at Centacare’s Jamboree Heights Learning and Lifestyle Hub.

More than 20 Centacare clients over the age of 65 enjoyed online games, competitions and hands-on activities in a fun and supportive environment aimed at promoting digital literacy among people in their later years.

Centacare Service Delivery Manager Cheree Pattison said many older people were finding real benefits from being online, including increased access to information, services, social connections and support networks.  

“Senior’s Week is all about providing opportunities for older people to share and learn new experiences, which aligns with our philosophy at Centacare,” said Cheree.

“Age doesn’t limit a person’s ability to live a full and purposeful life. Our clients want to live out their later years in their own homes and communities, doing what they love. It’s our job to ensure they have plenty of opportunities to build their capacity and confidence in the areas that matter to them most.”

Mary lost her husband two years ago and Shirley’s husband has dementia but, with support from Centacare, they are able to live well, with a sense of purpose and independence. Mary discovered a love of painting at the age of 60 and volunteers with Centacare’s music group every second Monday. Shirley is part of a gardening group and is a keen embroiderer.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” said Mary. “That’s why I’m always willing to give things a go. I never want to stop learning.”

Centacare learning and lifestyle hubs offer a range of activities for people over 65 including yoga, tai chi, music, dancing, drama, art, horticulture and day trips. Phone 1300 236 822 to find out more.

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