AVEO – Shareholders reflect general disquiet with AVEO attitude

A price fall in the AVEO share price today has signalled disquiet with profiteering behaviour on the part of AVEO Group.

A price fall in the AVEO share price today has signalled disquiet with profiteering behaviour on the part of AVEO Group.

When news hit over the last few days of an investigation into the hardline profiteering practices of the group,  the results were surprising. Usually these kinds of stories make a splash withing news circles, but financially there is often little reaction at all.

But times are changing, as Delta Airlines and United found out recently when dubious attitudes towards customers came to the fore, and the market decided that this behaviour was not to be tolerated.

High fees and complex legalities are not uncommon in the retirement industry. Notoriously high exit fees from retirement villages are a burden on retirees, a disincentive to move away from villages where resident may be less-than-happy, and a lucrative endeavour for the operators and companies behind this industry.

Moving in to a retirement village is only one part of the cost, as operators charge high fees to exit the property, in some cases up to 40%.

And AVEO has added to the financial benefits for themselves, by changing ownership status from freehold to leasehold, retaining themselves the ownership of property. Many residents were recently surprised – and dismayed – when AVEO decided to sell, then re-lease, properties which residents believed they owned outright.

AVEO charges an initial purchase price of the home, a periodic fee that is charged for the services that are received at the retirement community, and a Deferred Management Fee (DMF), which is paid in the future when your home is resold. It covers the costs involved in providing all the ‘wonderful amenities’ enjoyed as a resident.

Lifestyle and community spirit are some positive reasons to enjoy life in a retirement village, avoiding some of the downsides of living at home. But they come with a cost, so look carefully at the plans and options and understand the financial implications before you decide which direction retirement takes you in.

Choice.com.au offer some sage advice when it comes to retirement villages, and even a little research can pay off.

Moving in costs vary between area and level of facility. Ongoing fees may change, and usually in an upward direction. And the services provided can also change, such as lessening of facilities or decreasing availability of services.

The financial impacts can be significant when moving out – if capital gain is low, there may be equivalent results when comparing retirement units to villages. But the exit fees and management fees can significantly erode potential finances when overall capital growth moves upward over time.

Again, choice.com.au offers some wise advice – read contracts and understand them, before accepting the terms of retirement village accomodation.

In the end, it should be fair for all concerned. If in doubt, back it up with investment…in retirement village company shares! AVEO reported statutory profits of 82% for the six months to February 2017!

www.retirementliving.org.au has a clear brief of the ins and outs of the process.

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An 80 year-old Amazonian is healthier than the average Westerner in their 50’s

we can learn some great lessons in heart disease prevention from the Tsimane people of the Amazon

Although perhaps you aren’t going to move to the wilderness, live in a thatched hut and start hunting and gathering, we can learn some great lessons in heart disease prevention from the Tsimane people of the Amazon jungle, according to a recent study.

As well as their healthy heart condition, these indigenous people of the Bolivian Amazon region also have low blood pressure, low blood glucose and low cholesterol.

An 80 year-old Tsimane person has the same vascular age as an average westerner in their 50’s. So how do they achieve these results?

The Tsimane lifestyle suggests that a diet low in saturated fats and high in non-processed, fibre-rich carbohydrates is the place to start. Along with also eating small amounts of wild game and fish, not smoking and being active throughout the day could help prevent hardening in the arteries of the heart.

Now, wild game is a little hard to find on the average Aussie menu, but we can try to include other factors into our lifestyles that provide equivalent benefits to those that the Tsimane enjoy.

The researchers behind the report say that the loss of these subsistence diets and lifestyle play a large part in modern health conditions, and could be classed as new risk factor when it comes to heart disease.

Hunting, fishing, gathering, and farming activities keep the men working for six to seven hours a day, and the women working four to six hours a day. And the Tsimane people spend only 10 percent of their waking hours being inactive. That compares with a 54 percent inactivity level in people in industrialized nations such as Australia.

The message we can draw from this is to keep moving, and eat well – low cholesterol and high-fibre. The Tismane people’s plant-rich diet, which is 72 percent carbohydrates, includes non-processed foods such as rice, corn, nuts, and fruits. Their diet is about 14 percent protein, coming mostly from animal meat.

Here in Australia however, it’s really the opposite of that these days. Poor diet and inactivity are the highest risk factors for heart disease. A study of heart attack patients across 52 countries found that hardening of the arteries can be avoided for most people.

The main heart disease risk factors for people in industrialised nations such as Australia are smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes.

The study indicates that most of the Tsimane are able to live their entire lives without developing any coronary atherosclerosis at all, which is extremely unusual for our Western populations these days.

Expert reaction to the study shows the Tsimane lifestyle is much like that of our ancestors, their diet is not dissimilar to many Westerners, but their physical activity habits could not be more different.

Says Prof. Naveed Sattar, University of Glasgow, “Simply put, eating a healthy diet very low in saturated fat and full of unprocessed products, not smoking and being active life-long, is associated with…the lowest risk of heart disease.”

This study provides strong support for well-known health messages relating to diet and physical activity. Simply put, eat well, keep moving and don’t smoke.

60 is the new 50 … and now it’s been proven

Researchers found an increase our years living free of disability – great news as we all now live to a riper, older age as well, according to the statistics.

 

Looks like we’re living longer and staying more fit and healthy as we get older, says a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently. Researchers found an increase our years living free of disability – great news as we all now live to a riper, older age as well, according to the statistics.

The report predicts that of children born today, boys could expect to live an average of 80 years, and girls could expect to live an average of 85 years. Significantly though, the report showed that on average:

  • men at 65 now can expect to live around another 20 years, and
  • women at 65 can look forward to just over another 22 years.

To quote Groucho Marx, ‘Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.’ However, life expectancy is an interesting statistic, but our wellbeing as we get older is also significant. For keeping tabs on healthy aging, looking at life expectancies at 65 was appropriate.

And the great news is the report found Australians aged 65 in 2015 have seen increases in the number of years living free of disability. So it seems living longer doesn’t necessarily mean living with increasing disability! Care to dance?

Although definitions of ‘disability’ change, it’s an umbrella term for participation restriction which last more than 6 months and restrict everyday activities.

When it comes to disability after 65:

  • men can expect to live another 9 years without disability, and
  • women on average another 10 years disability-free.
  • men aged 65 in 2015 could ‘expect to live, on average, around 10 years with some level of disability, including 3 years with severe or profound core activity limitation and needing help with 1 or more activities of self-care, mobility and communication.’
  • Women are better off and could expect to live around an additional 10 years free of disability but could experience around 12 years with some level of disability. This equates to women living around half their remaining life after 65 with some disability, including living 25 percent with severe or profound core activity limitation.

All–in-all, it seems Australians who reach the age of 65 gained, on average, more years without severe or profound core activity limitation than years with it. Great news, it seems we are living longer, and staying more fit and able!

 

Full details of the ‘Life expectancy and disability in Australia: expected years living with and without disability’ at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

 

 

 

5 Poisonous foods your dog should avoid

Although they are tempting to a dog, there are a number of poisonous foods our dogs must avoid.

Dogs have a fabulous sense of smell and a wonderful, curious nature. As you probably know, dogs are quite keen on eating just about anything sometimes, and will pick up all sorts of things they shouldn’t. The risks are that there are some foods that are quite poisonous to dogs and can lead to serious health complications, some of which are fatal. Puppies are especially curious, but dogs of all ages can be at risk from foods that are toxic.
Although they are tempting to a dog, there are a number of poisonous foods our dogs must avoid. Here are five you should know about:

 

  1. Grapes and raisins

Although they are a healthy treat for humans, grapes and raisins should not be fed to dogs. Even the smallest amount can be fatal to our furry friends.

Recent studies have shown that grapes and raisins (and all varieties of the Vitis species) can cause kidney failure in dogs. The reasons why are not fully understood, and anecdotal evidence suggest that the amount required to create a problem can vary a great deal. However many cases of ‘poisoning’ by grapes and raisins have been reported involving dogs and the number of cases is rising.

The general consensus at present is that potentially any dose should be considered a problem. Estimated amounts of grapes associated with renal injury in dogs are about 32 g/kg; amounts of raisins associated with signs start at 11 g/kg. So even an amount below a small handful of raisins can be quite dangerous.

Vomiting and diarrhoea are often the first signs of grape or raisin poisoning. The symptoms often develop within a few hours of ingestion. Further symptoms include weakness, loss of appetite, increased drinking, and abdominal pain. Acute kidney failure develops within 48 hours of ingestion.

Along with all varieties of the grape family to avoid, such as grapes, raisins and currants, food containing grapes and raisins, such as biscuits, cakes or muesli can still be potentially poisonous to dogs.

  1. Chocolate

Many dogs love chocolate, and like other potentially dangerous foods, a dog will not know whether the tasty treat you are eating yourself is good or bad for the dog!

The roasted seeds of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) contain both caffeine and theobromine which, when ingested by dogs, can lead to serious medical complications. Even a small amount of chocolate can give your dog an upset stomach, with symptoms including vomiting or diarrhoea.

With larger amounts, the theobromine in chocolate can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is marked by severe hyperactivity, restlessness and excitement.

If eaten in a large enough quantity, chocolate can prove to be fatal to a dog.

According to the RSPCA, cocoa powder, baking chocolate and dark chocolate contain higher levels of theobromine compared to milk chocolate.

If your dog eats a small amount of chocolate, symptoms may not be noticeable. However, the more that is eaten, the higher the chances are that your dog may be poisoned. The main effects of theobromine poisoning occur on the dog’s central nervous system.

The milder symptoms of theobromine ingestion may include:

  • Restlessness
  • Excitement
  • Hyperactivity
  • Nervousness
  • Trembling

Higher doses may cause the dog to become agitated. Beyond that the symptoms that may be:

  • Vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • increased drinking and increased urination
  • increased heart rate
  • muscle tremors
  • seizures, even coma and death can result.

Puppies and smaller dogs may be affected by smaller amounts of chocolate.

 

3. Tomato

The tomato is part of the Solanaceae or nightshade family which includes potatoes, pepper and eggplants. The tomato is considered toxic to dogs when green (as is the potato) with the immature and not yet ripened fruit, leaves, and stems containing the highest concentrations of toxin.

As the fruit ripens, the tomatine toxin lessens, so ripe tomatoes become much safer than green tomatoes.
The signs of tomatine poisoning in dogs include:

  • lethargy
  • drooling and increased salivation
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation
  • widely-dilated pupils

More severe symptoms include:

  • paralysis
  • cardiac effects
  • central nervous effects such as muscle weakness, tremors, seizures
  • coma and death

Dogs can enjoy cooked potato in moderation – like tomatoes, it is the green parts which contain toxins and should be avoided.

  1. Mushrooms

Among the plants found in your backyards that could make your dog sick, some are highly toxic, while others may just result in mild stomach upset. As with humans, although some mushrooms are fine to eat, others can have both mild and more serious effects.

Because it can sometimes be difficult to confirm which type of mushroom your dog may have eaten, if your dog becomes ill it is best to try and take some of the suspected mushroom with you when taking your dog to the vet.

Mushrooms do qualify as a food which can be dangerous for your dog to eat. If you do have mushrooms growing in your yard or garden it is best to dig them out and dispose of them, to minimise the availability to your dog while they are outside and possibly unsupervised.

But don’t worry too much if your dog eats a bit of your mushroom omelette, for example, as field mushrooms are considered ok in small quantities for your dog to eat.

But Boletus mushrooms, such as porcini, for example, although edible for both us and our canine friends, can cause gastro-intestinal upset for your dog.

It really comes down to helping your dog avoid eating any mushrooms for their health.

Mushroom poisoning in your dog could result in:

  • Nausea and abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Weakness and Lethargy
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Unconsciousness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Uncoordinated motor skills and
  • Coma and possibly death

Symptoms will vary depending on the amount and type or mushroom consumed. If possible, and you need to take your dog to the vet, try and take some of the suspected mushroom with you to assist in identifying the risks to your dog’s health.

  1. Avocado

Avocado may be an excellent superfood for humans, but the avocado contains the chemical called Persin, in all parts of the fruit – stem, seed, skin and flesh, which is risky for a dog to ingest.

Government advice shows that avocado ingestion by dogs can cause the following effects:

  • gastrointestinal irritation
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • respiratory distress
  • congestion
  • fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart and even

 

It isn’t known exactly how much avocado needs to be eaten by a dog in order for these effects to be seen. And scientists don’t yet know why avocado affects dogs as it does. We do know that the higher fat content of avocados can cause the gastrointestinal effects shown above.

Other reported problems with Avocados have related to their fat content.  In these cases the problems seen were stomach upset, vomiting and pancreatitis.

 

Although advice states that only certain types of avocado are problematic to dogs, the specifics vary, so perhaps it is best to avoid feeding avocado to your pet Fido

 

 

FinallyThe RSPCA have a site with help on food your dog shouldn’t eat.

Here’s a list of foods that dogs should avoid…this is not a complete list: onions or onion powder, garlic, chocolate, coffee or caffeine products, mouldy or spoiled foods or compost, avocado, bread dough, yeast dough, grapes, raisins, sultanas (Christmas cakes etc), currants, nuts including macadamia nuts, fruit stones (pits) or fruit seeds, corncobs; green unripe tomatoes, mushrooms; fish constantly, cooked bones; small pieces of raw bone, fatty trimmings/ fatty foods, Salt,  Xylitol (sugar substitute found in some products such as some types of sugar-free chewing gum, lollies, baking goods, toothpaste).

Please get help from a vetarinarian if there is any indication your pet has ingested the foods in this list. Immediate action should be taken to reduce the amount of damage. Before you do anything, consult your veterinarian. Let them know what your dog ate, the amount, and when it occurred. Getting help as soon as possible might make the difference in a life and death situation.

 

 

6 Ways Caregivers can stay intimate with a partner

 

The intimacy of a relationship being challenged by caring requirements for those we love can be sad. And being unsure of outcomes or of the future regarding our or other’s independence can really affect the relationship we have with those we love.

Stress can arise when these situations change your role and how you interact with your spouse or partner. It has been shown by studies that for caregivers in high quality partnership relationships, greater disability in the recipient of care predicted greater feelings of caregiver overload.

The loss of intimacy in a relationship can be very challenging – we all crave closeness, especially during periods of stress. The emotional connection that once sparked our intimacy and sense of romance may suffer as new demands as a caregiver take over. We need to take steps to remain positive when caregiving changes our role with our partner or spouse.

We may start to notice how the extra burdens can affect us. Being overburdened or exhausted, it’s difficult to feel attractive. Or maybe your partner takes medication or has an illness that affects their sexual function?

Illnesses such as dementia may mean you wonder if a partner can’t properly consent to a sexual relationship. And personal contact becomes more about performing chores, and makes us feel emotionally detached—and with little left for hugging, holding hands and sitting together.

As caregivers, we may experience feelings of wishful thinking, or blaming ourselves when put in the role of increased caring. But while we could let our role as caregiver affect our relationship, there are good ways for couples to maintain close connections and physical intimacy.

As well as considering coping strategies when dealing with the challenges of caring, we can go further and remain in touch with the feelings and emotions that encourage relationships to remain warm and strong.

And taking time for intimacy can be an invaluable source of comfort for both partners when they’re facing a health crisis or managing a chronic illness. Physical intimacy is a way for a couple to affirm their feelings, strengthen their bond, and enjoy the time they have together.

Here are a few ways you can ways you can maintain or increase your closeness and intimacy:

 

  1. Talk openly with your spouse/partner. You may naturally want to avoid awkward or difficult subjects, but try to keep the openness going regarding you needs and desires.Be honest with your partner about needs and desires, and how caregiving can affect both. This kind of sharing can preserve intimacy.
  2. Understand that you can call on the patience and open communication you have used throughout your relationship. And remember to manage your expectations – if your partner wasn’t into sex before the new situation then perhaps that may still be the same.
  3. Talk with a specialist healthcare worker – such as a psychologist or social worker.If you want to work through your feelings without fearing judgment or are not sure how to broach the subject of sex or intimacy with your loved one, this can be especially helpful. Caregiver support groups can also be a good place to feel less alone. You’re fairly likely to find plenty of others who share your concerns.
  4. Maybe an old-fashioned date is a good way to rekindle the flame of passion? Seeing a show or going to a restaurant can get the memories going of past dates, maybe, and set the mood for some romance and intimacy.
  5. Using Home Care packages or respite is a good way to relieve the pressure from your own caregiving and allow some of the stress of caring to be lifted. Use the time to pursue some uplifting pursuits that feel like you’ve had a break from the responsibility for a while.
  6. Or use the time of respite to do something for the one you love, shop for new clothes or a book, or head to the library for some books or magazines they might enjoy. Many libraries stock a large range of DVD films these days to borrow. What better way to rekindle the fire of love than to watch a good-ole romantic comedy or musical?

 

It’s best to remember that there are many ways for couples to share intimacy and closeness. Intimacy can be much more than just sexual – try some tender gestures, and remember these intimacies will work both ways, making you both feel more involved with each other emotionally.

 

Gestures such as hugging, closeness or holding hands are but one way. Being kind, understanding and sensitive to each other’s needs can be a great way of remembering the fun and good times you have had together.

Your goal is to find what works best for you and your spouse or partner. Don’t feel pressured to maintain intimacy in ways that don’t work for you.

Flu season vaccination – helpful, not harmful

As we head towards winter again in the southern hemisphere, many of us will be wondering if a flu vaccination is worth the effort and risk.

Flu season vaccination – more help than harm

 

As we head towards winter again in the southern hemisphere, many of us will be wondering if a flu vaccination is worth the effort and risk.

Although a vaccination reduces the chance you’ll catch the flu, there is more to the story. Vaccination, which contains an inactive form of the virus, may prevent you catching the flu, however it doesn’t last too long, and may not provide complete protection.

Influenza virus is easily spread from person to person, by inhalation or by touching contaminated objects and then your nose or mouth.

Generally, most healthy people should consider vaccination, as a little initial discomfort may avoid days of misery and potentially time away from the activities or work they enjoy. You’ll start producing the antibodies that provide protection around two weeks after vaccination, however this can vary from person to person.

As we have seen after recent outbreaks across the world, the concern over influenza is significant, with implications for the well-being of healthy people and for the lives of the vulnerable.

The vaccinations for the 2017 winter flu season help protect against three recognized types of flu strain, and a new variant known as A (H1N1) which is a Swine flu variation.

Prevention

Immunisation protects people against harmful infections before they come into contact with them in the community.

The Australian Department of Health and others suggest that being vaccinated lowers the risk of catching influenza, and helps avoid passing the flu on to those more vulnerable. For these people – children, the sick and the elderly, avoiding the flu can mean the difference between having a chronic illness, and having to be hospitalised with a much worse complication such as pneumonia, for example.

Knowing when to be vaccinated is a significant factor in prevention – avoiding getting vaccinated too early or too late is the key. Too early and you may not be covered at peak flu season, as the benefits of the vaccination will pass, too late and you risk getting the flu while unprotected.

Who should be vaccinated?

Generally, everyone can get the flu vaccination. But according to the Australian Medical Association and the Department of Health, those at serious health risk, or the vulnerable, are encouraged to do so.

Those included in the recommendations are:

  • all people aged 65 years and over
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5 years
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over
  • pregnant women
  • people aged 6 months and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza, such as those with cardiac disease, chronic respiratory conditions, other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, chronic neurological conditions that impact on respiratory function, impaired immunity, children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy

When should I vaccinate?

Protection from the flu virus begins after one-two weeks after vaccination. This can vary though from person to person.

Recent evidence suggests protection against influenza may start to decrease from 3 to 4 months following vaccination, so early vaccination needs to be balanced with this.

With the peak flu season in Australia being August to September, it is necessary to time your vaccination to keep your immune response at its optimum. April to June is the acknowledged time for annual flu vaccination here.

 

Some side effects may occur within one to two days following flu vaccination and include soreness, redness, pain and swelling at the injection site, along with drowsiness, tiredness, muscle aches and low grade fever. They are usually mild and go away within a few days, usually without any treatment.

 

Where can I get vaccination?

 

Influenza vaccinations are available from a range of locations including GP offices, vaccination clinics, hospitals and health centres.

If you’re not eligible for a free flu shot, you can still get the flu vaccine with a non-PBS or private prescription which is not subsidised by the Government. So talk with your GP if you’d like to be vaccinated.

 

People with flu should stay home away from crowded public places and should follow the cough/cold etiquette to prevent the transmission of the virus. Frequent handwashing with soap, intake of fluids, and other supportive measures will help.

 

The Australian Department of Health have a website with comprehensive immunization information, available at http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/

For older Australians, you can visit:

http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/older-australians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further information regarding vaccination visit http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation/Pages/seasonal_flu_vaccination.aspx