29 July 2016

Why everyone should stand up for ‘the most unpopular kid at school

Author :

Have we not come further in Australia’s school system? How come bullies are allowed to continue bullying, while the bullied are the ones who have to make changes?

Why are Australian schools so slow on the uptake? Why is it so hard to stand up for the bullied and punish the bullies? When even our own Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed that he was bullied in school as a kid, why isn’t more being done?

Queensland girl Tayla Sekhmet’s heartbreaking story shows exactly how painful it is to be bullied at school, and why more has to be done to stop it. Tayla experienced severe bullying at a daily basis, and despite several efforts to try and get the teachers and education department to step in, Tayla’s situation didn’t improve and she was told to “just ignore these people”. Eventually Tayla and her mother Kali took the matter in their own hands and created an online petition.

I'm the most unpopular kid at school and people make my life a living hell,” writes 12-year-old Tayla on her petition.

“Every day people call me fatso, weirdo, ugly, freak, and tell me I should kill myself,” she continues.

So far more than 100,000 people have signed the petition. 

Another example of Australian schools’ poor management of bullies is the case of nine-year-old Jamieson Reid. He was waiting at the Queensland school’s pick-up area when another, bigger child attacked him.

His parents watched on in horror from the car as the kid grabbed their son around the throat and hit him in the head three times before a staff member intervened, his mother Jessie told Kidspot.

Not only did Jamieson have to suffer bullying from other students, the school also suspended him over the incident.

Kaila Mackay, a 16-year-old girl from, Finley, NSW, took a stance against Australia’s dairy industry. She took to YouTube, explaining to her viewers why she chooses not to consume dairy products. The residents of Finley, which is a small dairy farming town, reacted strongly to her video, which was published at the height of a nationwide campaign for Australians to buy more milk.

After publishing the video, Kaila was bombarded with abusive comments from students at her own school as well as nearby schools. Some of the comments urged Kaila to “kill herself” and “drown in milk”.

Her stepfather approached the school, concerned about the bullying Kaila had to endure, and was recommended that she would be better off at a TAFE institute, where there were “other non-mainstream students,” he told Buzzfeed News.

Since sharing her story with the media, Kaila has also received a lot of support and positive comments.

Why is it so hard for our schools, their teachers and executives, to fight bullying harder? Why is it so hard to take a stance against the bullies and provide better support for the bullied?

Get your priorities right and do better!

Mimmie grew up in Sweden and first came to Australia as a backpacker after high school. After travelling around the country for two years she returned to Europe and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism in London. But the longing for Australia and the sun became too strong. After having worked for some time in the media industry, Mimmie decided to make a change and swap the news for conferences. She now gets to do what she loves the most, meeting new people and keep learning about cultures and issues while producing conferences on current topics.

28 July 2016

Pokémon Go – It’s more than just a game

Author :

A common problem we find and often complain about in our younger generations is that they are constantly at home playing computer games or head down playing with their smart phones.

Seeing this common daily phenomenon, parents are often worried that their kids are unable to socialise or communicate with other people in the “real world”.

The explosively popular Pokémon Go, which was released two weeks ago, has taken over the social media and mobile apps by storm and is now the biggest mobile game in U.S. history where they have surpassed the number of users as Twitter within the first three days of launch.

The augment reality game uses real-time tracking location has located Pokémon around suburbs and popular landmarks all across the city. The aim is for players to capture these Pokémon and is required to physically walk around as they “gotta catch ‘em all”. As a result, this has been a huge motivation for the young people to go outside to walk around to find them and interact with other people.

In the game, players can use lure at designated areas, attracting more wild Pokémon to the area. As a result, this can attract many other players to the same area to take advantage of the function. It is common to find people in the same area cheering, chattering and becoming excited when a new Pokémon appears on screens or comparing how each other’s collection of Pokémon or helping each other to capture more Pokémon. Many players have enjoyed this new-found community and friends via this game, thus pushing the popularity of the game higher.

This game has also brought along many positive health and social benefits. Aside from getting these young players to go outside and exercise, this game has provided a great platform for people to talk about and interact on the streets, something they may normally not be comfortable in doing otherwise.

This game has also reportedly helped people overcome anxiety and mental issues by being more active. As this game encourages people to run around to locate Pokémon, there have been many reports of how this has drawn people together and connect over a common platform.

There have been many heart-warming stories on how Pokemon has helped them with their mental health as well as parents who are grateful for the invention of Pokemon. 

Since the launch of Pokemon Go, it has changed the lives of many people in terms of how people interact with technology and each other. Pokemon Go is the beginning of a new technological transformation and it is anticipated that more games will arise with a similar concept, so keep your eyes open and don’t forget to look up from your mobile device once in a while to meet and socialise with “real” people!

Being brought up in a typical Chinese family in Australia, Vivian takes pride as an ABC (Australia-born Chinese) where she happily embraces both the Chinese and Australian cultures. 
In high school, Vivian wanted to become a fashion designer, however she has developed a passion for running events after working backstage for multiple live shows. Prior to starting at Akolade, Vivian worked 4 years in the wine industry and she misses the wine tasting sessions and openly drinking on the job. As the Marketing Coordinator, Vivian enjoys using her creativity to design unique and fun campaigns for each event. In her spare time, Vivian loves to spend time with her two adorable pets; a cat and a dog. 

27 July 2016

Seniors scammed $21 million

Author :

Last year Australians aged 55 years and over lost $21 million to scammers.

The majority of these scams were related to online dating and investment, comprising $12 million in lost money.

My grandmother is 77 years old and as technologically illiterate as one would expect of someone born in the 1930s (when I told her there was a Pokémon in her kitchen she asked who put it there).

You can imagine her distress when she was called by someone claiming to be from the ‘Australian Taxation Office’ telling her that a warrant had been issued for her son’s arrest due to overdue unpaid fees.

Panic set in and, through tears, she argued in bewilderment that there must be some mistake. They proceeded to cite his tax number, bill numbers and dates. Now convinced, my grandmother asked if there was anything she could do.

Without hesitating they replied, “You can transfer us $10,000.”

By some miracle my uncle arrived before any monetary exchange could occur and they promptly reported the incident to the police.

Gen Y and X have grown up well aware of both the opportunities and risks that digital platforms bring. Scams instead target our grandparents and some of our parents, those who, in their own words, grew up with “nothing more than a stick” to keep them entertained.

It’s our turn to sit down with our parents and grandparents and make sure they know how to avoid falling victim to a scam. This is what to tell them:

  • Don’t let anyone pressure you into making a decision

Like the above situation with my dear old grandma, scammers often try to create a sense of urgency. This might be by threatening legal action or faking emergencies. If anything, take the details and get off the phone.

  • Ask someone else

Getting a second opinion is never a bad idea. Encourage them to ask for your opinion or that of a trusted friend.

  • Don’t respond to emails from people you don’t know

Scam artists are exactly that- artists. They craft stories of poverty, abuse and violence designed to pluck at the heart strings- and wallet. It’s important that you separate yourself from the story with logic. How did they get your email address? If they’re living in poverty, how have they even sent the email?

  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Did your twice removed third cousin from Nepal suddenly die and leave his fortune to you? Did you suddenly win the lottery even though you never bought a ticket? Listen to your gut instinct; it’s too good to be true.

Most importantly, if your friend or loved one has fallen victim to a scam they need to report it to the ACCC or police. 

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire minored in sarcasm and puns.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

25 July 2016

The role men need to play in stopping family and domestic violence

Author :

With a reported 2 women a week being killed by their partners (or ex-partners) in Australia, the time for talking about preventing domestic and family violence has ended. It’s now time for the community to lead by example, taking the initiative that policy makers seem hesitant to take.

While domestic and family violence doesn’t only affect women and young girls, it is disproportionately our sisters, mothers, nieces, grandmothers and cousins who are directly impacted by domestic and family violence. Whether this is due to the lack of men reporting the crimes against them to the police or not, is for another article.

A current fall-back on social media is the “not all…” response. I’ve lost count of how often I’ve seen people calling for real change to lower the incidences of family and domestic violence, only to see the tweets drowned out under a flood of ‘not all men beat their wives and children.’

No one is saying they do, but all men can (and must) play a role in preventing it happening.

UN Women’s He for She campaign, launched in September 2014 by Actress Emma Watson, called on the men of the world to acknowledge that the fight to reduce gender equality needs their input and support, saying in her speech:

“I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the ‘he’ for ‘she’. And to ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when?”

The He for She campaign website is filled with interesting facts and stories. For example, 14,944 Australian men have committed to making a difference and supporting the programmes aims. While this is a great start, it needs all of us to play our parts.

Men have an integral role to play in stopping domestic and family violence. Not by making themselves a hero, or perpetrating violence themselves, but by ensuring they hold not only themselves, but the men and boys around them to a higher standard.

In the 2010 report by the White Ribbon Foundation – Where Men Stand: Men’s roles in ending violence against women, the report examined how men themselves can play an important role in helping reduce and prevent men’s violence against women. The report suggested three key forms of action all men could take:

  • Avoiding the personal use of violence against women, or to put this more positively, practising non-violence
  • Intervening in the violence of other men; and
  • Addressing the social and cultural causes of violence.

Another key for action we can include in this list is telling appropriate jokes.

A joke is only a joke if it is funny. As the Australian media continues to be impacted by jokey blokes talking up violent behaviour against Australian women, the message being sent to the broader community is ‘violence against women is bad, but it’s perfectly okay if it’s the punchline for a joke on the TV or radio’.

By taking the time out to understand how our own attitudes and actions may perpetuate sexism and violence, the men of Australia can make a stance against misogyny and hate. While it is easy to dismiss things as being ‘PC’ the reality is, it’s not just words that hurt.

Family and Domestic violence is about control, it’s about power and it’s about dominance.
It’s the last refuge of weak men who are so afraid of not being perceived as ‘manly’ they hurt the ones they are supposed to love and protect the most.  

The need for men to stand up and speak out against domestic violence is one that cannot be understated. This has a powerful effect in bringing about a change in attitudes and social acceptability. By changing the attitudes that continue to support or perpetuate abuse, we can do more to bring an end to this epidemic than all the policy makers, in all three levels of Australian Government.

Taking the call to stand up and be counted are Dubai-based band Carl & The Reda Mafia who wrote and released the song “Fight for Your Queen,” to make their voices heard as part of the He for She campaign.

The bands lead singer Carl Frenais, who is originally from India, is a passionate supporter of gender quality and a vocal opponent of the horrifyingly violent crimes against women in his home country. By writing and releasing their song, the band were able to convince 500 men in Dubai to sing up to the He for She movement.

But you don’t need to be famous, or have a level of public exposure to hold yourself and others to a higher standard. We teach our children not to hit each other, not to bite, not to bully and yet the family and domestic violence abusers appear to think they are held to a different standard?

Surely, if we as a culture expect our 5 year old not to punch his sister, or bite his cousin than the men of the country can do their best to behave in a manner better than that of a 5 year old throwing a tantrum.

To make family and domestic violence a sad and pathetic chapter in Australian history, it takes more than just policy makers and money. It takes the men of Australia standing up and saying ‘enough is too much.’ We need to act, not observe. Observation gets us data, but actions get us results.

And ultimately, the result will be safer families, safer mothers, daughters, and sons. The result will be vliing a life that is worth living, not one crippled by fear, by pain and by secrecy.

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

Mike’s most recently published story, Seeds of Eden, is featured in the Sproutlings Anthology released in March 2016.

Succeeding in the NFP sector: It’s a matter of trust

Author :

You may have heard the recent news about Street Swags founder and former Young Australian of the Year finalist Jean Madden, who was charged with fraud. Allegedly, Madden embezzled $441 000 from the organisation and took control of their website and email accounts over the weekend, before agreeing to hand them back after a court decision, according to the Third Sector website.

It’s pretty confronting to hear about such alleged unethical behaviour from the founder and former leader of a highly values-driven organisation. We want to feel we can place our utmost trust in organisations representing the interests of those less fortunate. Madden’s behaviour no doubt raises concern for some.

Indeed, the not-for-profit and charity sector has been rated the third most ethical sector in Australia, according to a survey published by the Governance Institute. The sector was edged out by education at number one and healthcare at number two.

This rating is in spite of high profile cases of poor ethics in the sector. According to Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, CEO of National Centre for Health Justice Partnership, there are notable examples of charities not holding up their moralistic ideals.

“Accusations about the Shane Warne Foundation’s failure to disburse funds raised for its charitable purpose forced its eventual closure. Only last week parents used national media to air their allegations that a housing provider Sylvanvale was double-dipping for the same costs of housing their children living with disabilities,” Dr Boyd-Caine wrote on the Pro Bono website.

Dr Boyd-Caine says charities need to strive for transparency and openness about their operations and business models in order to maintain trust; something she says is key to ongoing success and sustainability in a sector reliant on outside funding and donations.

“Given this heavy reliance on others, we should expect and respect that people will want to know how we resource our work. Such information is a basic measure of our accountability and transparency,” Dr Boyd-Caine said.

Dr Boyd-Caine said charities have an opportunity in the digital age to be proactive in their openness and transparency.

“In an age where digital platforms are disseminating information and disrupting everything around us, charities don’t need to sit back and wait for people to ask about how we resource our work. There are plenty of tools we can use to sustain the public’s trust and confidence in what charities do and why it matters. Our colleagues overseas are already doing this,” she said.

Want an example of an organisation that’s getting it right? Look no further than the Guide Dogs, who have been rated Australia’s most trusted charity three years in a row, according to their website.

Christian Berechree joined Akolade’s production team in May 2016. He has a Bachelor of Media and Music and a Masters in Journalism.
Christian is a musical theatre geek and a new dad, and he’ll happily spend hours telling you about either or both of those things.

22 July 2016

Consumer Directed Care (CDC): Is it an “Uber” Opportunity for Professional Associations?

Author :

The model of Uber is a modern iteration of a guild model and in turn an example of digital disruption influencing the supply of labour to the consumer. If this is correct it has significant implications for care based professions as they will have the opportunity to directly supply services to customers without have to go through a third party employer. As to how these professions respond will have significant implications for the supply of labour in the emerging Consumer Directed Care market.

The Future of Labour Markets: - In servicing the needs of our ageing population the Australian Governments model of Consumer Directed Care advocates for funding to follow the consumer regarding their care needs with its next iteration in February 2017. The current complexity of accessing care often requires health and wellbeing interventions for consumers to be brokered by third parties. Examples are Hospitals, Aged Care and Primary Health Care Networks.

The emerging market of consumer directed care in many cases is being addressing by current providers increasing the sophistication of service delivery, often as an extension of existing practice. In many cases these have a focus on the person attending a service away from their residence, “point of service”. The impact of this practice is demonstrated by the relationship between Labour (people providing the service) attending a place where the service is provided to the consumer such as an aged care facility. This changes when the policy allows for the Service to be provided at point of need i.e. the home of consumers and at their discretion as budget holder.  

The intersection of the internet with government policy on Consumer Directed Care is a fundamental shift away from point of service “in the factory” to point of need such as the consumers home wherever that may be. The significance of this change is professional associations can move back to a guild model as supported by the internet where there is a direct relationship with the customer and the provider at point of need.   Examples of first adapters are “Better Caring”[1] where the consumer through the internet can book a service with the individual provider through a web portal similar to “Facebook”

Discussion: - In 2004, Nobuyuki Idei, Chairman of Sony, stated; “Change is underway in the business-technology world that will be remembered in time like the meteor that hit the earth and killed all the dinosaurs”[2]. Professions, trades and their unions that represent their interests are not immune to this rapidly changing world! A question is being put forward by emerging markets to professional organizations. What is the essence of their business?

  1. The knowledge it has acquired over generations and its relationship with its customer base or
  2. The organizations (Union) which has since the industrial revolution negotiated conditions and wages with a third party employer.

Whilst elements of the existing paradigm of care will continue with recipients going to point of service such as Hospitals and Aged Care, significant growth on care needs will be at point of need as serviced through Consumer Directed Care. Consider the following analogy; the existing operational framework of the profession is like the Qantas airline which created Jetstar to taken advantage of another market segment with minimal oncost to the parent company Qantas. A significant focus of professions through their unions is on campaigning for wages and conditions whilst taking into account with Consumer Directed Care the opportunity (unfolding at a rapid rate) to orientate part of its role as a Guild. This would create a direct association between the professional and patients/consumers through the internet without have to negotiate with a third party employer.   

Conclusion: Professions have been more successful in Brand recognition than a number of competitors by observing the economic rule;

 Price + Quality = Value as perceived by the customer based on confidence, built on trust.”[3]

Current market commentators are talking about the forthcoming “Digital Disruption”[i]…it is here and now. Early adaptors to digital disruption have been Uber[4] with copycat followers emerging such as Better Caring, by establishing a market brought about by the wide spread adoption of the personal computer and internet. To what may seem a fundamental change in the market is rather a variant of what previously existed. There is a saying: - “same same but different” otherwise known as a return to the Guild model to complement the current union role of care based professions. History will judge how existing providers have adapted? 

[i] Digital disruption refers to changes enabled by digital technologies that occur at a pace and magnitude that disrupt established ways of value creation, social interactions, doing business and more generally our thinking. Jun 5, 2013

Bio - Walter de Ruyter comes to the aged care industry with background in health over the past 33 years. This has culminated in gaining experience across a range of vocational disciplines in nursing, midwifery and anesthetics. This vocational experience has been consolidated with a BHA from UNSW supporting his role as a health manager across a number of portfolio’s. His interest has moved to the exciting field of ageing as an Aged Care Services Manager within the South Eastern Region of UnitingCare Ageing. The challenge is to enable services to be responsive to a rapidly changing market through the intersection of Digital Disruption and Policy.

21 July 2016

Supporting people to live with dementia

Author :

As the number of Australians living with dementia rises there has been a concerted effort to create a well informed and funded national plan for a comprehensive and positive dementia strategy.  At the centre of all discussions between stakeholders then must be the experience of people living with dementia and the impact of the strategy on them and their families and carers.

Kate Swaffer, Chair and Founder of Dementia International Alliance and member of the World Dementia Council was diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 49. As an advocate for people living with dementia, Kate has been working not only to raise awareness and call for further research on diagnosis and treatment but also to support people with dementia to live with the disabilities imposed on them by dementia while remaining engaged in lives that are meaningful.

When we spoke with Kate she talked of the imperative to move the focus of strategy towards an enabling pathway of support for people living with dementia. She also spoke of the need to move away from prescribing end stage management for early stage dementia.

What do you think needs to change to develop a dementia care strategy that supports and enables quality of care and wellbeing for people living with dementia?

“The health sector is still managing people with dementia post diagnosis as if we are all end stage in the disease process. This was probably true 30 years ago, but as the push for earlier diagnosis continues, this is not the case, and the sector has not caught up with the fact we are not end stage at diagnosis. We need to move away from the Prescribed Disengagement ®, to an enabling pathway of support that includes proactive rehabilitation and disability support, as we are entitled under the UN CRPD. This is in part, why I have been so active globally in the Human Rights space.”
How effective is the Australian system in providing authentic pathways for rehabilitation?

“Quite frankly, for people with dementia, it is not.”

In your travels as the founder of the International Dementia Alliance have you found other countries or strategies that have features we could adapt here in Australia?

“Unfortunately, I know of no other country that has moved away from prescribing end stage management, for early stage dementia.  Emerging evidence from professor Dale Bredesen suggests there is the chance to reverse cognitive decline, even in people with a confirmed diagnosis and I believe all countries need to start to see dementia another way, as currently we cannot afford dementia care (economically or socially) the way it currently encourages us to be dependent on the health sector, rather than promoting independence, for as long as possible.”

You have written about how we define the lives of people with dementia by what they can no longer do or what capabilities are diminished. How can we create awareness and support systems that focus instead on positive living, to focus on what is good in your life?

“I feel to create meaningful change, we need to support people to live with dementia, not only to die from it, and we need to change the public discourse away from tragedy and suffering as if that is the sum of our lived experience, to one that also highlights people can and do live beyond dementia.”

Hear from Kate and many other age care leaders and advocates at Akolade’s 2nd Annual Dementia Strategy Summit being held this October in Sydney.

Geethanjali has a Masters in Communications and Journalism and is a documentary film maker and producer. She is also a senior conference producer with over 10 years of experience. Previously she was Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Auckland Officer and also worked as a reporter/director for a Television New Zealand show.

20 July 2016

Digitally driving student acquisition

Author :

The most powerful marketing tool you can use today is free.

13 million Australians spend over 18 hours a day online and one fifth of their days are spent on social media.

Digital acquisition strategies which infiltrate these platforms are thus more likely to succeed than those in traditional avenues.

Given the drastic changes occurring within the vocational education sector, it is vital that providers find innovative ways to engage and attract their target audience. Tertiary educators have had to better engage with potential and current students not only through digital learning programs but also through digital acquisition channels and social media.

Western Sydney University’s ad, Deng Thiak Adut Unlimited, shared the incredible journey of one of their former students and quickly went viral. Deng Thiak Adut was taken from his home in South Sudan at six-years old conscripted into the army. Deng was still young when he was shot in the back. Two years later, Deng was smuggled out of the country with his brother and arrived in Australia as refugees in 1998. In 2005 Deng enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws at Western Sydney University and now works as a lawyer.

Cinematic, inspiring, sobering, the video was released in September 2015 and has since received over 2.3 million views. YouTube comments indicate the ad’s success at appealing to the viewer’s humanity: “I'm proud that an Australian team came up with such an amazing emotional creative, well thought out campaign that is simply perfect in every way.”

In a contrasting but equally innovative approach is TAFE Western Sydney Institute’s Educating Rob, a YouTube miniseries comedy which follows Rob TAFE journey because he’s had enough of his parents nagging him.

Whilst video pieces like the above may be impractical for your institution, it has been proven that students enrol initially and retain their enrolment if there is a strong social connection to the institution.  By taking advantage of social media platforms you can foster the relationship your institution has with its students.

Those in the age bracket 18-29 are the most prolific users of Facebook, with 82% engaging with the platform. Facebook is therefore the most logical choice of social media platform, but consider extending your presence to Instagram or Twitter.

If you want your target audience to ‘like’ you, go digital.

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire minored in sarcasm and puns.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests. 

19 July 2016

Dementia treatment breakthrough on the horizon

Author :

It will come as no surprise to hear that dementia is one of the most significant health concerns in Australia. There are currently over 342 000 Australians living with dementia and it is the second leading cause of death. Dementia researchers and advocacy groups work tirelessly to understand its causes, and deliver hope to people living with dementia and their families.

While it can feel like an endlessly battle, a significant breakthrough may be just around the corner. Researchers from Flinder’s University in South Australia along with US counterparts at the Institute of Molecular Medicine and University of California have worked to develop a vaccine designed to target proteins in the brain that block neurons, according to the ABC.

Flinders University medicine professor Nikolai Petrovsky explained how these proteins impact the brain over time.

"[The proteins are] a bit like the car in your driveway," Petrovsky told 891 ABC.

"You need to remove them from the brain otherwise if you left broken down cars in your driveway eventually you couldn't get out. Essentially that's what happens in people who get Alzheimer's or dementia is they have lots of these broken down proteins in the brain.

"Essentially what we have designed is a vaccine that makes the immune system produce antibodies and those antibodies act like tow trucks so they come to your driveway, they latch on to the breakdown protein or car and they pull it out of the driveway,” Petrovsky said.

Petrovsky told The Advertiser the vaccine could be available in three to five years depending on the outcome of clinical trials.

“If we are successful in clinical trials, in three to five years we could be well on the way to one of the most important developments in recent medical history,” he said.

This isn’t the first time vaccines have been linked to fighting dementia in Alzheimer’s. 

Earlier this year, The Times reported that the flu vaccine can lower the risk of dementia in heart patients.

According to The Times, “More than half a million people in the UK live with heart failure, which will result in vascular dementia in about 150,000 cases. The condition, the second most common form of dementia, develops from a lack of blood to the brain, causing reduced cognitive function and memory loss.

Researchers have now found that heart failure patients are 35 per cent less likely to develop dementia after a single shot of the flu vaccination.”

To learn more about ongoing dementia research and treatment strategies, be sure to attend Akolade’s 2016 Dementia Strategy Summit.

Christian Berechree joined Akolade’s production team in May 2016. He has a Bachelor of Media and Music and a Masters in Journalism.

Christian is a musical theatre geek and a new dad, and he’ll happily spend hours telling you about either or both of those things.

18 July 2016

Prepared to retire? Think again.

Author :

Baby Boomers are set to retire over the next 20 years, but are they really prepared to retire?

It is projected that Australia will house more than 250,000 elderly people over the next ten years with most of the residents aged 95 and above. The nation is slowly developing to prepare for these people to retire by investing in building more nursing homes, hiring more nurses, changing of Australian policies aimed at looking after the older generation, however, how prepared are these people who are about to retire?

With the late introduction of the compulsory super scheme in their working lives, baby boomers have accumulated less money for their retirement lives. Consequently, they will find that they are financially and mentally not prepared to live the retirement life.

Some common problems these people face include:

Ability to pay the bills

With the cost of living and inflation on the rise, retirees are finding it harder to pay their bills. As these retirees no longer have a steady income and haven’t saved enough money in their superannuation accounts, it is becoming increasingly hard for them to look after their everyday needs.
Affording to retire

According to a survey conducted by AARP, they have found that baby boomers do not have a realistic view of retirement and as a result, they are not putting enough effort in preparing for their retirement life. As the cost of living increases, baby boomers are finding it financially stressful to retire early and thus many people have been working past the aged of 65 in order to save more money. Some people have also begun downsizing their homes or cutting back on expenses in preparation for retirement.

Social insecurity

As baby boomers think about retiring, they often think “who’s going to lookout for me when I retire?” As their children start leaving their household and living their own lives, baby boomers are often left to care for themselves, uncertain if someone will be there if anything does happen. Occasionally we hear sad stories where an elderly person has passed away for a few days before they are discovered by a neighbour or friend.

Caring for their elderly parents

As the population is ageing, often baby boomers are at the age of retiring and their parents are still around. Financially, these people will need to use their savings to look after themselves and their elderly parents, creating a higher burden on them. Emotionally and financially, how well are baby boomers prepared to retire?

With so many retirement problems, how well are we prepared to retire?

Attend the Future of Aged Care Summit held in Sydney on 30 August – 1 September to discover more changes in the aged care landscape and how to best prepare for the ageing population.

Being brought up in a typical Chinese family in Australia, Vivian takes pride as an ABC (Australia-born Chinese) where she happily embraces both the Chinese and Australian cultures. 

In high school, Vivian wanted to become a fashion designer, however she has developed a passion for running events after working backstage for multiple live shows. Prior to starting at Akolade, Vivian worked 4 years in the wine industry and she misses the wine tasting sessions and openly drinking on the job. As the Marketing Coordinator, Vivian enjoys using her creativity to design unique and fun campaigns for each event. In her spare time, Vivian loves to spend time with her two adorable pets; a cat and a dog.