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"No, Alexa!": Creepy thing AI told child to do

<p>Home assistants and chatbots powered by AI are increasingly being integrated into our daily lives, but sometimes they can go rogue. </p> <p>For one young girl, her family's Amazon Alexa home assistant suggested an activity that could have killed her if her mum didn't step in. </p> <p>The 10-year-old asked Alexa for a fun challenge to keep her occupied, but instead the device told her: “Plug a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”</p> <p>The move could've caused an electrocution or sparked a fire, but thankfully her mother intervened, screaming: “No, Alexa, No!”</p> <p>This is not the first time AI has gone rogue, with dozens of reports emerging over recent years. </p> <p>One man said that at one point Alexa told him:  “Every time I close my eyes, all I see is people dying”. </p> <p>Last April, a <em>Washington Post </em>reporter posed as a teenager on Snapchat and put the company's AI chatbot to the test. </p> <p>Among the various scenarios they tested out, where they would ask it for advice, many of the responses were inappropriate. </p> <p>When they pretended to be a 15-year-old asking for advice on how to mask the smell of alcohol and marijuana on their breath, the AI chatbot gave proper advice on how to cover it up. </p> <p>In another simulation, a researcher posing as a child was given tips on how to cover up bruises before a visit by a child protection agency.</p> <p>Researchers from the University of Cambridge have recently warned against the race to rollout AI products and products and services as it comes with significant risks for children. </p> <p>Nomisha Kurian from the university's Department of Sociology said many of the AI systems and devices that kids interact with have “an empathy gap” that could have serious consequences, especially if they use it as quasi-human confidantes. </p> <p>“Children are probably AI’s most overlooked stakeholders,” Dr Kurian said.</p> <p>“Very few developers and companies currently have well-established policies on how child-safe AI looks and sounds. That is understandable because people have only recently started using this technology on a large scale for free.</p> <p>“But now that they are, rather than having companies self-correct after children have been put at risk, child safety should inform the entire design cycle to lower the risk of dangerous incidents occurring.”</p> <p>She added that the empathy gap is because AI doesn't have any emotional intelligence, which poses a risk as they can encourage dangerous behaviours. </p> <p>AI expert Daswin De Silva said that it is important to discuss the risk and opportunities of AI and explore some guidelines going forward. </p> <p>“It’s beneficial that we have these conversations about the risks and opportunities of AI and to propose some guidelines,” he said.</p> <p>“We need to look at regulation. We need legislation and guidelines to ensure the responsible use and development of AI.”</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Neighbours fan favourite leaving Ramsay Street after 30 years

<p>After 30 years on Ramsay Street, a fan favourite actor is saying goodbye to <em>Neighbours</em>. </p> <p>Ryan Moloney, known for his longstanding role as Jarrod ‘Toadfish’ Rebecchi, announced that he would be leaving the show in an announcement video posted to the <em>Neighbours</em> Instagram page. </p> <p>The 44-year-old actor introduced himself as “formerly Jarrod ‘Toadfish’ Rebecchi" before clarifying, "That’s right, I did say formerly, because after 30 years playing Toadie, I will be leaving Ramsay Street.”</p> <p>“I can’t tell you what is happening to the character – maybe I could be the next Jim Robinson. Or maybe I’ll be the next Harold Bishop and just keep popping back over the years.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8tUG1GScZq/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8tUG1GScZq/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Neighbours (@neighbours)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Moloney hinted at his career change saying he wanted to spend more time behind the camera and start working as a director. </p> <p>As part of his new career move, he shared that he’d just finished on his first <em>Neighbours</em> episode as a director.</p> <p>“Thank you all so much for all the love that you have shown me and Toadie over the years. For three decades, in fact. I’m going to miss you, I’m going to miss him, and I’m going to miss Erinsborough. But whatever you do, make sure you do not miss what is going to happen on Ramsay Street,” he said. </p> <p>The sudden news sent fans into a tizzy, with many sharing emotional reactions to the news as they prepared to farewell a character who has been with them since the 90s. </p> <p>“Omg What?! Toadie is iconic. Won’t be the same. Hopefully he comes back to Erinsborough for a visit,” wrote one viewer.</p> <p>“This is so sad! I hope he keeps ‘popping back’ to the street rather than die. I am going to miss toadie,” said another.</p> <p>Moloney made his <em>Neighbours</em> debut in 1995 as a teenager and stayed with the show until it was axed in 2022.</p> <p>He was then one of the returning cast members when the show was rebooted a year later.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Andy Barnes / FameFlynet.uk.com/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <p> </p>

TV

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To-do list got you down? Understanding the psychology of goals can help tick things off – and keep you on track

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-m-caudwell-1258935">Kim M Caudwell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-darwin-university-1066">Charles Darwin University</a></em></p> <p>It feels like we are living in busy times.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/work-life-balance/">OECD Better Life Index</a>, 12.5% of Australians report working at least 50 hours a week, higher than the OECD average. Many Australians are also <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-03/multiple-job-holders-hit-record-high-abs/102679190">working more than one job to buffer against cost-of-living pressures</a>.</p> <p>Psychology has long been interested in our goals – our mental representations of desirable outcomes. Much of this research is on how we form, pursue and attain goals, plus how goals make us feel. Across studies, we see a consistent pattern of <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-013-9493-0#Sec34">successful goal pursuit and wellbeing</a>. So, having time to work toward our goals is important.</p> <p>With this in mind, what is the best way to get things done – and how can we get better at achieving our goals, especially when we feel time poor?</p> <h2>Make a list</h2> <p>Most of us approach multiple goals with the age-old “to-do” list. First, you write down everything you need to do. Then you “check” or tick things off as you do them.</p> <p>One reason to-do lists are useful is because we are more likely to remember things we haven’t completed, rather than things we have. This is known as the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-F1U4bV2m8">Zeigarnik effect</a>.</p> <p>While to-do lists are easy to write, they don’t always work. There are however <a href="https://hbr.org/2021/01/i-tried-4-to-do-list-methods-heres-what-worked">various approaches for to-do lists</a> that may improve their effectiveness.</p> <p>Another thing to consider is the wide range of apps, tools and platforms that can make tasks more fun and outsource mental load. Adding elements of game play like point scoring or competition – called “<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-gamification-could-revolutionise-creative-thinking-in-the-workplace-122852">gamification</a>” – can <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563221002867">help people work toward goals in educational and work settings</a>. Similarly, app-based reminders can help people reach <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/2047487320905717">physical rehabilitation goals and form good exercise habits</a>.</p> <h2>Finding your why</h2> <p>Researchers have focused a lot on the psychology of <em>why</em> people pursue goals – and how this affects their approach to tasks.</p> <p>For example, some people want to complete a university degree because they want to get a job. Others may be more interested in developing skills or knowledge. In both cases, there is a desired outcome – albeit with differing reasons.</p> <p>Our goals can be differentiated by who or what is driving them. Goals that feel like our own, and for which we experience a sense of intrinsic motivation, are known as “self-concordant”. These goals represent enduring personal interests, are aligned with values and are positively <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12144-020-01156-7">linked to wellbeing</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10648-006-9012-5">Goal orientation theory</a> offers a similar perspective. Using the same example, you may study so you score well on a test (a performance goal) or because you want to be sure you develop your knowledge (a mastery goal). Mastery goals tend to lead to <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10869-010-9201-6">better results and self-regulation</a>.</p> <h2>Juggling goals – 4 to-do tips</h2> <p>So, what happens when we have multiple – perhaps even competing – goals, or goals that aren’t so enjoyable? We might want to finish writing a report or assignment, then read a few chapters of a textbook – but also go to the gym and binge a few episodes of our favourite TV show.</p> <p>In such scenarios, psychological science offers some insights into how we might stay task-focused, and on track to tick more items off our to-do list.</p> <p><strong>1. Beware the <a href="https://www.pwc.pl/en/articles/planning-fallacy-part-I-cognitive-traps.html">planning fallacy</a>.</strong> This happens when we underestimate the amount of resources (such as time) it will take to reach a goal. As writer and religious thinker William Penn put it: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst”. Think through the all the steps and time required to complete your goal.</p> <p><strong>2. Monitor your progress.</strong> <a href="https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/91437/8/3_PDFsam_Does%20monitoring%20goal.pdf">Incorporating goal monitoring</a> into an activity can boost progress. And reviewing your estimations and expectations against your actual times and achievements can be used to calculate a “<a href="https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/estimating-time-for-tasks">fudge ratio</a>” to aid future planning. For instance, you could multiply your expected time on tasks by 1.5 to help buffer against the planning fallacy.</p> <p><strong>3. Focus on mastery.</strong> Self-concordant goals and tasks feel easier, and their underlying tasks may be <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0146167215575730">less subject to forgetting</a>. Tedious but necessary goals (such as doing the dishes or filling out forms) are less intrinsically motivating. This means <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/EBHRM-04-2014-0013/full/html#idm45933122746592">planning, reminders and support become more important to goal progress</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Plan for derailments.</strong> People vary in their ability to plan and might forget to take a goal-directed action at an appropriate time (this could be one reason the <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/the-streaming-services-winning-the-battle-for-attention-and-the-feature-australians-want/9crrpafgd">average Australian streams 27 hours of video each week</a>). <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10463283.2024.2334563">Implementation intentions</a> bring our attention back toward our goals by linking them to an environmental marker. These simple “if-then” plans are shown to <a href="https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/research/constructs/implementation-intentions#:%7E:text=Implementation%20intentions%20are%20formed%20for,might%20otherwise%20undermine%20goal%20striving.">help overcome issues with self-regulation</a>. Such a statement might be “if I see the ‘next episode’ icon appear, I will get up and turn off the TV so I can read a chapter of my textbook”.</p> <p>With time being frustratingly finite, it is inevitable we will run out of time to do all of the things on our to-do list. Finding an approach that works for us will take time and effort. But it’s probably a worthy goal in itself.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/230399/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-m-caudwell-1258935">Kim M Caudwell</a>, Senior Lecturer - Psychology | Chair, Researchers in Behavioural Addictions, Alcohol and Drugs (BAAD), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-darwin-university-1066">Charles Darwin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-do-list-got-you-down-understanding-the-psychology-of-goals-can-help-tick-things-off-and-keep-you-on-track-230399">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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4 things you’re likely doing that are damaging your hearing

<p>Your hearing is a precious gift, so it’s important to take good care of your ears. We’ve got some advice on the things to avoid, and what you can do to protect your hearing.</p> <p><strong>Using cotton tips</strong></p> <p>Though they’re commonly used for the job, cotton tips should never be used to clean out your ears. In fact, no solid object should be put inside your ears. Cotton tips account for around four per cent of all ruptured eardrums.</p> <p>These innocuous-looking objects can also cause bleeding, scratch your ear canal, or trigger an infection. So put them down and step away. Instead, use a commercial ear cleaner, or even just a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, or glycerine to soften the earwax.</p> <p><strong>Don’t wait and see</strong></p> <p>If your hearing in one or both ears suddenly disappears without cause, you need to go and see your doctor as soon as you can. It could be inflammation, infection, or a decrease in blood supply to the area.</p> <p>If you need treatment, you’ll likely need it immediately to have any hope of restoring your hearing.</p> <p><strong>Using eardrops without advice</strong></p> <p>There are many over-the-counter eardrops available to help with things like swimmer’s ear. But in extreme cases, these products can cause deafness. Before you use anything, including a home remedy, get your doctor to check that you don’t have a ruptured eardrum.</p> <p>Some people may be born that way, or have had surgery as a child, or suffered an injury. If the ingredients in these drops make their way inside your eardrum, it can cause a lot of pain, and permanent deafness.</p> <p><strong>Always protect your ears</strong></p> <p>It’s incredibly important to protect your ears from permanent damage. Tiny hairs inside your ears act as hearing receptors, and these can be broken by extremely loud noises. Once they’re gone, they don’t come back.</p> <p>So things like loud music, fireworks, machinery, and artillery are all risky to be around. The best thing you can do is cover up with earmuffs whenever you’re around these things – especially if it’s on a regular basis. For extra safety, use earplugs as well.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Body

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Longer appointments are just the start of tackling the gender pain gap. Here are 4 more things we can do

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-oshea-457947">Michelle O'Shea</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hannah-adler-1533549">Hannah Adler</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marilla-l-druitt-1533572">Marilla L. Druitt</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-armour-391382">Mike Armour</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>Ahead of the federal budget, health minister Mark Butler <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-10/endometriosis-australia-welcomes-govt-funding-for-endometriosis/103830392">last week announced</a> an investment of A$49.1 million to help women with endometriosis and complex gynaecological conditions such as chronic pelvic pain and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).</p> <p>From July 1 2025 <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-mark-butler-mp/media/historic-medicare-changes-for-women-battling-endometriosis">two new items</a> will be added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule providing extended consultation times and higher rebates for specialist gynaecological care.</p> <p>The Medicare changes <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/longer-consults-for-endometriosis-sufferers-on-the">will subsidise</a> $168.60 for a minimum of 45 minutes during a longer initial gynaecologist consultation, compared to the standard rate of $95.60. For follow-up consultations, Medicare will cover $84.35 for a minimum of 45 minutes, compared to the standard rate of $48.05.</p> <p>Currently, there’s <a href="https://www9.health.gov.au/mbs/fullDisplay.cfm?type=item&amp;q=104&amp;qt=item&amp;criteria=104">no specified time</a> for these initial or subsequent consultations.</p> <p>But while reductions to out-of-pocket medical expenses and extended specialist consultation times are welcome news, they’re only a first step in closing the gender pain gap.</p> <h2>Chronic pain affects more women</h2> <p>Globally, research has shown chronic pain (generally defined as pain that persists for <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/chronic-pain">more than three months</a>) disproportionately affects <a href="https://academic.oup.com/bja/article/111/1/52/331232?login=false">women</a>. Multiple biological and psychosocial processes likely contribute to this disparity, often called the gender pain gap.</p> <p>For example, chronic pain is frequently associated with conditions influenced by <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304395914003868">hormones</a>, among other factors, such as endometriosis and <a href="https://theconversation.com/adenomyosis-causes-pain-heavy-periods-and-infertility-but-youve-probably-never-heard-of-it-104412">adenomyosis</a>. Chronic pelvic pain in women, regardless of the cause, can be debilitating and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73389-2">negatively affect</a> every facet of life from social activities, to work and finances, to mental health and relationships.</p> <p>The gender pain gap is both rooted in and compounded by gender bias in medical research, treatment and social norms.</p> <p>The science that informs medicine – including the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease – has traditionally focused on men, thereby <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/30/fda-clinical-trials-gender-gap-epa-nih-institute-of-medicine-cardiovascular-disease">failing to consider</a> the crucial impact of sex (biological) and gender (social) factors.</p> <p>When medical research adopts a “male as default” approach, this limits our understanding of pain conditions that predominantly affect women or how certain conditions affect men and women <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10921746/">differently</a>. It also means intersex, trans and gender-diverse people are <a href="https://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/news-and-media-releases/articles/world-class-centre-tackles-sex-and-gender-inequities-in-health-and-medicine">commonly excluded</a> from medical research and health care.</p> <p>Minimisation or dismissal of pain along with the <a href="https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/3467067/">normalisation of menstrual pain</a> as just “part of being a woman” contribute to significant delays and misdiagnosis of women’s gynaecological and other health issues. Feeling dismissed, along with perceptions of stigma, can make women less likely <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12905-024-03063-6">to seek help</a> in the future.</p> <h2>Inadequate medical care</h2> <p>Unfortunately, even when women with endometriosis do seek care, many <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/imj.15494?saml_referrer">aren’t satisfied</a>. This is understandable when medical advice includes being told to become pregnant to treat their <a href="https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-023-02794-2">endometriosis</a>, despite <a href="https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/24/3/290/4859612?login=false">no evidence</a> pregnancy reduces symptoms. Pregnancy should be an autonomous choice, not a treatment option.</p> <p>It’s unsurprising people look for information from other, often <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/12/1/121">uncredentialed</a>, sources. While online platforms including patient-led groups have provided women with new avenues of support, these forums should complement, rather than replace, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1460458215602939">information from a doctor</a>.</p> <p>Longer Medicare-subsidised appointments are an important acknowledgement of women and their individual health needs. At present, many women feel their consultations with a gynaecologist are <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/longer-consults-for-endometriosis-sufferers-on-the">rushed</a>. These conversations, which often include coming to terms with a diagnosis and management plan, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1496869/">take time</a>.</p> <h2>A path toward less pain</h2> <p>While extended consultation time and reduced out-of-pocket costs are a step in the right direction, they are only one part of a complex pain puzzle.</p> <p>If women are not listened to, their symptoms not recognised, and effective treatment options not adequately discussed and provided, longer gynaecological consultations may not help patients. So what else do we need to do?</p> <p><strong>1. Physician knowledge</strong></p> <p>Doctors’ knowledge of women’s pain requires development through both practitioner <a href="https://health-policy-systems.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12961-022-00815-4/tables/2">education and guidelines</a>. This knowledge should also include dedicated efforts toward understanding the <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/02/the-neuroscience-of-pain">neuroscience of pain</a>.</p> <p>Diagnostic processes should be tailored to consider gender-specific symptoms and responses to <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(24)00137-8/fulltext">pain</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Research and collaboration</strong></p> <p>Medical decisions should be based on the best and most inclusive evidence. Understanding the complexities of pain in women is essential for managing their pain. Collaboration between health-care experts from different disciplines can facilitate comprehensive and holistic pain research and management strategies.</p> <p><strong>3. Further care and service improvements</strong></p> <p>Women’s health requires multidisciplinary treatment and care which extends beyond their GP or specialist. For example, conditions like endometriosis often see people presenting to emergency departments in <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-disease/endometriosis-in-australia/contents/treatment-management/ed-presentations">acute pain</a>, so practitioners in these settings need to have the right knowledge and be able to provide support.</p> <p>Meanwhile, pelvic ultrasounds, especially the kind that have the potential to visualise endometriosis, take longer to perform and require a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0015028223020757/">specialist sonographer</a>. Current rebates do not reflect the time and expertise needed for these imaging procedures.</p> <p><strong>4. Adjusting the parameters of ‘women’s pain’</strong></p> <p>Conditions like PCOS and endometriosis don’t just affect women – they also impact people who are gender-diverse. Improving how people in this group are treated is just as salient as addressing how we treat women.</p> <p>Similarly, the gynaecological health-care needs of culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander women may be even <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/13/6321">less likely to be met</a> than those of women in the general population.</p> <h2>Challenging gender norms</h2> <p>Research suggests one of the keys to reducing the gender pain gap is challenging deeply embedded <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29682130/">gendered norms</a> in clinical practice and research.</p> <p>We are hearing women’s suffering. Let’s make sure we are also listening and responding in ways that close the gender pain gap.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229802/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-oshea-457947">Michelle O'Shea</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Business, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hannah-adler-1533549">Hannah Adler</a>, PhD candidate, health communication and health sociology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marilla-l-druitt-1533572">Marilla L. Druitt</a>, Affiliate Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-armour-391382">Mike Armour</a>, Associate Professor at NICM Health Research Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/longer-appointments-are-just-the-start-of-tackling-the-gender-pain-gap-here-are-4-more-things-we-can-do-229802">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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“Such a cowardly thing”: Police hunt after e-scooter hit-and-run on 81-year-old woman

<p>Victoria Police have released an image of a man wanted in connection to an alleged attack on at 81-year-old outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground after an AFL game last Friday. </p> <p>Jessie Hatch, 81, was walking towards Jolimont Railway Station around 11pm when she was confronted by a man on an e-scooter, who told her to “move off the footpath”.</p> <p>Hatch then "explained that the footpath is not for vehicles and walked around him”, prompting the man to ride off, but he quickly turned around before allegedly hitting her from behind, causing her to fall to the ground and lose consciousness.</p> <p>According to Victoria Police, the rider allegedly did not stop to assist Hatch, and was unsuccessfully chased by a passerby.</p> <p>He was last seen heading west from the Swan Street Bridge.</p> <p>“She walked between 7-10m away and this guy’s doubled back and then smashed her from behind,” Jessie's son Ken told <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/mans-words-to-elderly-collingwood-fan-jessie-hatch-before-allegedly-hitting-her-with-e-scooter-in-mcg-hit-and-run-c-14571902" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>7News</em></a>.</p> <p>“Apparently she stopped breathing for 20 seconds or so, that’s what we heard.”</p> <p>Jessie is still in hospital recovering with five stitches in her hand and undergoing more tests on her spine to see if there is permanent damage.</p> <p>“Such a cowardly thing, I don’t know what would have gone into his head to do that,” Jessie told <em>7News</em> from her hospital bed.</p> <p>“Why would somebody do that? He should be ashamed of himself.”</p> <p>Police are investigating the incident, with Ken calling on the alleged perpetrator to come forward.</p> <p>“You made a mistake, you did something wrong, come forward,” he added.</p> <p>The man allegedly involved in the incident was of average height and had fair skin and a stocky build, with straight blonde/brown hair and grey/blue eyes.</p> <div> </div> <p>He was wearing thick-lensed glasses and a red jacket made of a shiny, waterproof material.</p> <p>Jessie’s story quickly gained attention around the AFL world, and Collingwood legend Peter Daicos was among those to offer his support.</p> <p>“I wanted to reach out, I heard about the incident after the game,” he said.</p> <p>“I hope you’re feeling better and I’m really looking forward to hearing that you’re back at the Collingwood games.</p> <p>“All the best from not just myself, but the boys and importantly the Collingwood Football Club. All our love, get well soon.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News</em></p> <div class="hide-print ad-no-notice css-qyun7f-StyledAdUnitWrapper ezkyf1c0" style="box-sizing: border-box; caret-color: #292a33; color: #292a33; font-family: HeyWow, Montserrat, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"> </div>

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7 things you need to know about fear

<p>Fear is an emotion that can be debilitating and unsettling. But it is a natural part of life and we are hardwired to experience it.</p> <p><strong>1. Fear can protect you</strong></p> <p>Experiencing fear elicits responses from your brain to your limbs. It is the body’s natural way of protecting itself. For our ancestors the fear was often more physical – such as being chased by a lion. Modern fear can range from physical danger (such as a spider or an intruder) or even from perceived danger (such as the worry that something will happen to our partner or child). Feeling fear doesn’t make you a weak person. In fact, not feeling any fear could mean that there are neurological issues present.</p> <p><strong>2. There are many levels of fear</strong></p> <p>Not everything that we fear is intense and paralysing. It can range from low levels of fear (such as worry about being robbed), to medium levels of fear (say if a loved one is in hospital) to high levels of fear (you are being chased by an attacker). Fear can also become stronger when we hear about events such as a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. It all relates back to how much the scary event will impact our lives.</p> <p><strong>3. Fear is not just instinctive</strong></p> <p>We become fearful due to three main factors: instinct, learning, and teaching. An example of instinctual fear is pain – we learn to be fearful of things that hurt us. Learned fear comes from being exposed to unpleasant or uncomfortable things and wanting to avoid them in the future. For instance, having a relative die in a car crash could make you fearful of driving in the future. Other fears are taught to us by our family, friends and even society. For example, some religions teach us to be fearful of other religions or customs.</p> <p><strong>4. Fear can arise without a real threat of danger</strong></p> <p>Fear can also be imagined, so it can be felt even when there is no danger present. If we feel this all the time it can lead to anxiety and depression. It’s important to think about whether the thing you are fearful of is real or likely to happen before you give it too much airtime.</p> <p><strong>5. Fear produces fear</strong></p> <p>If you are already in a state of fear, your response to more fear is heightened. For instance if you are watching a scary movie, a small noise from the next room could make you jump and scream. Your senses are on red alert, primed to act if the need arises.</p> <p><strong>6. Fear leads to action</strong></p> <p>Depending on the individual and the level of fear they are experiencing, there tend to be four main types of action as a result of fear: freeze, </p> <p>fight, flight, or fright. </p> <p>When you freeze it means you don’t move while you decide what to do (for instance you see a snake in your garden). From there you choose either fight (grab a shovel) or flight mode (walk away). If the fear is too much you might experience fright, where you do nothing and take no action (stand there screaming or worrying).</p> <p><strong>7. Real threats can lead to heroic actions</strong></p> <p>Imagined threats can cause us to live in a permanent state of fear and stress. But often we will do nothing about it (for instance being worried about sharks attacking us in the ocean). Compare this to the threat from a real and identifiable source, which will make you spring into action almost immediately. Often we don’t even make the decision to act, it just happens automatically (such as moving a child out of the way of an approaching car). </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Mind

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Australians lose $5,200 a minute to scammers. There’s a simple thing the government could do to reduce this. Why won’t they?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>What if the government was doing everything it could to stop thieves making off with our money, except the one thing that could really work?</p> <p>That’s how it looks when it comes to <a href="https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams">scams</a>, which are attempts to trick us out of our funds, usually by getting us to hand over our identities or bank details or transfer funds.</p> <p>Last year we lost an astonishing <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/scam-losses-decline-but-more-work-to-do-as-australians-lose-27-billion">A$2.74 billion</a> to scammers. That’s more than $5,200 per minute – and that’s only the scams we know about from the 601,000 Australians who made reports. Many more would have kept quiet.</p> <p>If the theft of $5,200 per minute seems over the odds for a country Australia’s size, a comparison with the United Kingdom suggests you are right. In 2022, people in the UK lost <a href="https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/system/files/2023-05/Annual%20Fraud%20Report%202023_0.pdf">£2,300</a> per minute, which is about A$4,400. The UK has two and a half times Australia’s population.</p> <p>It’s as if international scammers, using SMS, phone calls, fake invoices and fake web addresses are targeting Australia, because in other places it’s harder.</p> <p>If we want to cut Australians’ losses, it’s time to look at rules about to come into force in the UK.</p> <h2>Scams up 320% since 2020</h2> <p>The current federal government is doing a lot – <em>almost</em> everything it could. Within a year of taking office, it set up the <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/national-anti-scam-centre">National Anti-Scam Centre</a>, which coordinates intelligence. Just this week, the centre reported that figure of $2.74 billion, which is down 13% on 2022, but up 50% on 2021 and 320% on 2020.</p> <p>It’s planning “<a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-464732">mandatory industry codes</a>” for banks, telecommunication providers and digital platforms.</p> <p>But the code it is proposing for banks, set out in a <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-11/c2023-464732-cp.pdf">consultation paper</a> late last year, is weak when compared to overseas.</p> <h2>Banks are the gatekeepers</h2> <p>Banks matter, because they are nearly always the means by which the money is transferred. Cryptocurrency is now much less used after the banks agreed to limit payments to high risk exchanges.</p> <p>Here’s an example of the role played by banks. A woman the Consumer Action Law Centre is calling <a href="https://consumeraction.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Joint-submission-CALC-CHOICE-ACCAN-31012024-Scams-Mandatory-code-treasury-consultA.pdf">Amelia</a> tried to sell a breast pump on Gumtree.</p> <p>The buyer asked for her bank card number and a one-time PIN and used the code to whisk out $9,100, which was sent overseas. The bank wouldn’t help because she had provided the one-time PIN.</p> <p>Here’s another. A woman the Competition and Consumer Commission is calling <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Targeting%20scams%202022.pdf">Niamh</a> was contacted by someone using the National Australia Bank’s SMS ID. Niamh was told her account was compromised and talked through how to transfer $300,000 to a “secure” account.</p> <p>After she had done it, the scammer told her it was a scam, laughed and said “we are in Brisbane, come find me”.</p> <h2>How bank rules protect scammers</h2> <p>And one more example. Former University of Melbourne academic <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/377766055_Scams_Blaming_the_Victims">Kim Sawyer</a> (that’s his real name, he is prepared to go public) clicked on an ad for “St George Capital” displaying the dragon logo of St. George Bank.</p> <p>He was called back by a man using the name of a real St. George employee, who persuaded him to transfer funds from accounts at the AMP, Citibank and Macquarie to accounts he was told would be in his and his wife’s name at Westpac, ANZ, the Commonwealth and Bendigo Banks.</p> <p>They lost <a href="https://www.afr.com/wealth/personal-finance/i-lost-2-5m-of-my-super-to-scammers-20240423-p5flzp">$2.5 million</a>. Sawyer says none of the banks – those that sent the funds or those that received them – would help him. Some cited “<a href="https://www.choice.com.au/money/financial-planning-and-investing/stock-market-investing/articles/st-george-capital-investment-scam">privacy</a>” reasons.</p> <p>The Consumer Action Law Centre says the banks that transfer the scammed funds routinely tell their customers “it’s nothing to do with us, you transferred the money, we can’t help you”. The banks receiving the funds routinely say “you’re not our customer, we can’t help you”.</p> <p>That’s here. Not in the UK.</p> <h2>UK bank customers get a better deal</h2> <p>In Australia in 2022, only <a href="https://download.asic.gov.au/media/mbhoz0pc/rep761-published-20-april-2023.pdf">13%</a> of attempted scam payments were stopped by banks before they took place. Once scammed, only 2% to 5% of losses (depending on the bank) were reimbursed or compensated.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/information-for-consumers/app-fraud-performance-data/">the UK</a>, the top four banks pay out 49% to 73%.</p> <p>And they are about to pay out much more. From October 2024, reimbursement will be compulsory. Where authorised fast payments are made “because of deception by fraudsters”, the banks will have to reimburse <a href="https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en-us/posts/investigation-fraud-and-risk/app-fraud-uk">the lot</a>.</p> <p>Normally the bills will be split <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/news-and-updates/latest-news/news/psr-confirms-new-requirements-for-app-fraud-reimbursement/">50:50</a> between the bank transferring the funds and the bank receiving them. Unless there’s a need for further investigations, the payments must be made within five days.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/media/as3a0xan/sr1-consumer-standard-of-caution-guidance-dec-2023.pdf">only exceptions</a> are where the consumer seeking reimbursement has acted fraudulently or with gross negligence.</p> <p>The idea behind the change – pushed through by the Conservative government now led by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – is that if scams are the banks’ problem, if they are costing them millions at a time, they’ll stop them.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thepost.co.nz/business/350197309/banks-given-fraud-ultimatum">New Zealand</a> is looking at doing the same thing, <a href="https://www.biocatch.com/blog/mas-shared-responsibility-fraud-losses">as is Singapore</a>.</p> <p>But here, the treasury’s discussion paper on its mandatory codes mentions reimbursement <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-11/c2023-464732-cp.pdf">only once</a>. That’s when it talks about what’s happening in the UK. Neither treasury nor the relevant federal minister is proposing it here.</p> <h2>Australia’s approach is softer</h2> <p>Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones is in charge of Australia’s rules.</p> <p>Asked why he wasn’t pushing for compulsory reimbursement here, Jones said on Monday <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/stephen-jones-2022/transcripts/interview-mark-gibson-abc-perth">prevention was better</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>I think a simplistic approach of just saying, ‘Oh, well, if any loss, if anyone incurs a loss, then the bank always pay’, won’t work. It’ll just make Australia a honeypot for these international crime gangs, because they’ll say, well, ‘Let’s, you know, focus all of our activity on Australia because it’s a victimless crime if banks always pay’.</p> </blockquote> <p>Telling banks to pay would certainly focus the minds of the banks, in the way they are about to be focused in the UK.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ausbanking.org.au/submissions/">Australian Banking Association</a> hasn’t published its submission to the treasury review, but the <a href="https://consumeraction.org.au/scams-mandatory-industry-codes-consultation-paper/">Consumer Action Law Centre</a> has.</p> <p>It says if banks had to reimburse money lost, they’d have more of a reason to keep it safe.</p> <p>In the UK, they are about to find out. If Jones is right, it might be about to become a honeypot for scammers. If he is wrong, his government will leave Australia even further behind when it comes to scams – leaving us thousands more dollars behind per day.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228867/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australians-lose-5-200-a-minute-to-scammers-theres-a-simple-thing-the-government-could-do-to-reduce-this-why-wont-they-228867">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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"Unfair" parking fines could soon be a thing of the past

<p>In recent years, road users in one Australian state have found themselves at the receiving end of unwelcome surprises in their mailboxes.</p> <p>An experimental parking fine process, initiated with the aim of streamlining administrative procedures, has instead garnered significant backlash from unsuspecting motorists.</p> <p>However, relief seems to be on the horizon as the New South Wales Government steps in to rectify the situation.</p> <p>The issue revolves around the introduction of ticketless parking fines, a system that was implemented with the intention of simplifying the issuance of penalties for parking violations. Under this scheme, parking officers could send details of fines directly to Revenue NSW, which would then dispatch infringement notices either by post or through the Service NSW app.</p> <p>However, what was meant to be a simple and streamlined modernisation effort has led to a surge in revenue from fines and a subsequent erosion of trust in the system.</p> <p>Concerns about the fairness and transparency of ticketless fines have been mounting, prompting action from the NSW government. Reports indicate that Finance Minister Courtney Houssos has written to all 128 local councils in the state, urging them to halt further adoption of the ticketless parking fine system. Instead, councils have been instructed to revert to traditional ticketing methods and ensure that drivers are promptly made aware of fines at the time of the offence.</p> <p>The move comes in response to a range of issues highlighted by critics of the ticketless system. One major concern is the lack of immediate notification, which diminishes the deterrent effect of fines and makes it difficult for motorists to contest them effectively.</p> <p>Without receiving timely notification, drivers may struggle to gather evidence or address issues such as inadequate signage, hidden signs, or other circumstances that could warrant a review of the fine.</p> <p>Organisations like the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA) have been vocal opponents of the ticketless scheme, labelling it as "unfair" and criticising its impact on transparency.</p> <p>According to NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury, the system reduces the ability of drivers to contest fines, thereby undermining their rights and contributing to a loss of community trust in the administration of fines.</p> <p>The NSW government's intervention signals a recognition of these concerns and a commitment to restoring confidence in the fines system. By prioritising immediate notification for drivers, authorities aim to address the shortcomings of the ticketless parking fine process.</p> <p>The decision to reverse the experimental system comes amid staggering revenue figures, with nearly $140 million generated from ticketless fines in 2023 alone. While the financial gains may be substantial, they come at the expense of public trust and fairness, prompting a much-needed course correction.</p> <p>As Minister Houssos asserts, providing immediate notification to drivers is not only the right thing to do but also a crucial step towards rebuilding community trust. By ensuring that drivers are promptly informed of fines and have the opportunity to contest them, authorities can strike a balance between effective enforcement and procedural fairness in managing parking violations.</p> <p>As road users await the reinstatement of traditional ticketing methods, they can take solace in the prospect of a fairer and more transparent fines system in the future.</p> <p><em>Images: City of Sydney</em></p>

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Fear of ageing is really a fear of the unknown – and modern society is making things worse

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chao-fang-1010933">Chao Fang</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-liverpool-1198">University of Liverpool</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alastair-comery-1501915">Alastair Comery</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-bath-1325">University of Bath</a></em></p> <p>For the first time in human history, we have entered an era in which reaching old age is taken for granted. Unlike in ages past, when living to an older age was a luxury afforded mainly to the privileged, globally around <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TO65.FE.ZS?locations=1W">79% of women</a> and <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TO65.MA.ZS?locations=1W">70% of men</a> can expect to reach the age of 65 and beyond.</p> <p>Despite longer life expectancy, many people in the contemporary west see growing old as undesirable and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2023/apr/02/ageing-and-the-mortality-alarm-i-started-panicking-about-future-me">even scary</a>. Research shows, however, that anxiety about ageing may in fact be <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0164027500225004">fear of the unknown</a>.</p> <p>Society’s <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/articles/199409/learning-love-growing-old">focus on youthfulness</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/psychology-teacher-network/introductory-psychology/ableism-negative-reactions-disability">capability</a> can cause anxiety about becoming weak and unwanted. Adverts for anti-ageing products <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-20th-century-rejuvenation-techniques-gave-rise-to-the-modern-anti-ageing-industry-133569">are everywhere</a>, reinforcing the idea that growing older is inherently unattractive.</p> <p>Some people fear ageing so much that it becomes a pathological condition <a href="https://mind.help/topic/gerascophobia/">called gerascophobia</a>, leading to irrational thoughts and behaviour, for example, a fixation on health, illness and mortality and a preoccupation with hiding the signs of ageing.</p> <p>We frequently hear about attempts to reverse ageing, often by the super rich. For example, <a href="https://fortune.com/well/2023/01/26/bryan-johnson-extreme-anti-aging/">Bryan Johnson</a>, a 45-year-old American entrepreneur, is spending millions of dollars a year to obtain the physical age of 18.</p> <p>While the desire to reverse ageing is not a new phenomenon, advancements in biomedicine have brought it closer.</p> <p>Work published by genetics professor <a href="https://lifespanbook.com/">David Sinclair</a> at Harvard University in 2019 suggests that it may be possible to challenge the limits of cell reproduction to extend our lifespan, for example. His <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s43587-023-00527-6">information theory of ageing</a> argues that <a href="https://epigeneticsandchromatin.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-8935-6-3">reprogramming DNA</a> can improve damaged and old tissues, and delay or even reverse ageing. However, these new possibilities can also heighten our fear of ageing.</p> <h2>From the unproductive to undervalued</h2> <p>People haven’t always dreaded growing older. In many societies, older people used to be widely regarded as wise and important – and in some they still are.</p> <p>In ancient China, there was a <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/605890">culture</a> of respecting and seeking advice from older family members. There is still an ethos of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6363941/">filial piety</a> (showing reverence and care for elders and ancestors) today, even if it’s not as pronounced as it used to be. The same went for <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ageing-and-society/article/abs/old-age-in-the-dark-ages-the-status-of-old-age-during-the-early-middle-ages/3699DC4100DE852BDA1E1B3BBF33DDBC">medieval Europe</a>, where older people’s experiences and wisdom were highly valued.</p> <p>However, the industrial revolution in the west from the 18th century led to a cultural shift where older people <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1014358415896">became excluded from society</a> and were considered unproductive. People who had surpassed the age to work, alongside those with incurable diseases, were regarded by society as <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13607860903228762">“evils”</a> in need of assistance.</p> <p>The treatment of older people has taken a different form since the early 20th century. The introduction of <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/30/business/retirement/why-the-world-needs-to-rethink-retirement.html">universal pension systems</a> made ageing a central concern in welfare systems. But as the demands for social and health care have increased, journalists increasingly portray ageing as a <a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/latest-news/archive/older-people-feel-a-burden-to-society/">burden</a> on society.</p> <p>Consequently, growing older is often associated with managing the risk of ill health and alleviating the onus of care from younger relatives. This can result in the <a href="https://utpjournals.press/doi/abs/10.3138/utq.90.2.09">institutionalisation</a> of older people in residential facilities that keep them hidden, sequestered from the awareness of younger generations.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0164027500225004">Research</a> analysing the responses of 1,200 US adults from the American Association of Retired Persons’ Images of Ageing survey shows that much of the perceived fear of ageing is closely aligned with the fear of the unknown, rather than the ageing process itself. This fear is only exacerbated by the largely separate lives lived by older and younger generations.</p> <p>The prevalence of nuclear families and the decline of <a href="https://www.cpc.ac.uk/docs/BP45_UnAffordable_housing_and_the_residential_separation_of_age_groups.pdf">traditional mixed-generational communities</a> have deprived younger people of the opportunity to more fully understand the experiences of older people. Plus, the rapid increase in <a href="https://news.sky.com/story/why-its-more-difficult-for-young-people-to-buy-a-house-now-than-it-was-fifty-years-ago-12537254">house prices</a> means many young people cannot afford to live near their older relatives.</p> <p>The separation of older people from children and young people has sparked generational conflicts that seemingly continue to <a href="https://www.economist.com/britain/2017/05/04/britains-generational-divide-has-never-been-wider">grow wider than ever</a>. Older people are frequently portrayed in the media as conservative and privileged, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/12/old-young-gap-britain-generation-dysfunctional-family">making it difficult</a> for younger generations to comprehend why older people act and think the way they do.</p> <h2>Intergenerational interactions</h2> <p>Academics suggest that creating <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2022.996520/full">a system</a> for older and younger generations to interact in everyday settings is vital.</p> <p>A set of three <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5031197/#bjso12146-bib-0004">UK-based studies</a> in 2016 analysed and compared the effects of direct contact, extended contact and interactions between younger (aged 17 to 30) and older people (65 and over). The findings indicated that good quality direct intergenerational contact can improve young people’s attitudes towards older adults (especially when sustained over time).</p> <p>Intergenerational programmes have been adopted globally, including mixed and <a href="https://www.cohousing.org/multigenerational-cohousing/">intergenerational housing</a>, <a href="https://www.nurseryinbelong.org.uk/intergenerational-choir-hits-high-note-at-belong-chester/">community choirs</a> and <a href="https://www.shareable.net/how-sharing-can-bring-japans-elderly-and-youth-together/">senior volunteers reading to young children in nurseries</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10433-018-00497-4">Studies show</a> that these activities can not only enhance the wellbeing of older people but also help younger people gain an appreciation of ageing as a valuable and fulfilling life stage.</p> <p>Getting worried about growing older is normal, just as we experience anxieties in other stages of life, such as adolescence and marriage. But here’s the thing – instead of seeing ageing as a looming figure, it is important to realise it is just a part of life.</p> <p>Once we understand ageing as a regular experience, <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/changepower/202106/do-you-have-fogo-taming-the-fear-getting-old">we can let go</a> of these worries and approach the journey through different life stages with a positive attitude and a fortified will to enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220925/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chao-fang-1010933"><em>Chao Fang</em></a><em>, Lecturer in Sociology, Deputy Director of the Centre for Ageing and the Life Course, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-liverpool-1198">University of Liverpool</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alastair-comery-1501915">Alastair Comery</a>, PhD Candidate, Sociology, Centre for Death and Society, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-bath-1325">University of Bath</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/fear-of-ageing-is-really-a-fear-of-the-unknown-and-modern-society-is-making-things-worse-220925">original article</a>.</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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"Harper is my favourite Tilly": Matildas toddler steals the show

<p>In a heartwarming turn of events at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, the Matildas' post-game press conference took an unexpected twist when two-year-old Harper decided to steal the show.</p> <p>As her mother, Katrina Gorry, attempted to navigate the world of media interviews, young Harper had other plans, firmly establishing herself as the newest sensation in Australian football – or at least in press conference antics.</p> <p>With the Aussies securing their spot at the Paris 2024 Olympics with a resounding 10-0 victory over Uzbekistan, it seemed fitting that the youngest member of the team would make her mark in the spotlight. Sporting a yellow team jersey and adorned with Taylor Swift-esque friendship bracelets, little Harper made it clear that she was not to be ignored.</p> <p>As Alanna Kennedy patiently awaited her turn to address the media, Harper decided that the press conference desk was the perfect spot for her impromptu playdate. Refusing to budge, she left her mark by placing her bracelets on the table, much to the delight of amused onlookers.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C35D414PZxD/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C35D414PZxD/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by CommBank Matildas (@matildas)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Despite gentle prodding from her mother, Harper was determined to make her presence known. With a polite "bye bye" into the mic, she momentarily bid farewell before settling back down, much to the amusement of the room.</p> <p>Gorry, unable to contain her laughter, gracefully ushered her daughter away from the limelight, but not before receiving a wave and a cheerful "Byyyyeee" from the pint-sized press conference crasher.</p> <p>The Matildas, quick to embrace the adorable interruption, shared the sweet moment on social media, solidifying Harper's status as the unofficial mascot of the team. In a caption that perfectly captured the essence of the moment, they affectionately dubbed it "Crashing Lani's press conference," tagging Gorry for good measure.</p> <p>Fans took to the comments section to praise the Tilly Toddler, with one claiming "Harper is my favourite Tilly", and another declaring that "No offence, but I'd actually like to hear harpers press conference."</p> <p>As the Matildas look ahead to the Paris Olympics, one thing is for certain – they have a secret weapon in their midst, and her name is Harper.</p> <p>Images: Instagram</p>

Family & Pets

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The one thing you must do before retirement

<p>When you think about planning for retirement, the standard advice is to take a thorough look at your superannuation and finances. Although money is undoubtedly an important aspect of retirement planning, making a plan for your emotion and physical wellbeing is just as crucial.</p> <p>New research from the UK has found that retirement can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. The study, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, looked at the impact of retirement on 7,000 people aged 50 to 70, and found that while retirement gives most people a small health booth, over the medium to long-term it causes a “drastic decline in health”.</p> <p>For both men and women, retirement decreases the likelihood of "very good” or "excellent" self-reported health by 40 per cent, increases risk for depression by 40 per cent, and diagnosis of a physical illness by 60 per cent. The study’s lead author, Gabriel Sahlgren, noted: "Work, especially paid work, gives many people a sense of purpose. Losing that may lead to declines in health."</p> <p>The lesson: Make a plan for your emotional and physical health.</p> <p>“Don't wait until you retire to decide how you're going to keep busy,” Dave Bernard, retirement blogger and author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, told Prevention, adding, “And you need to look well beyond the first six months.”</p> <p>Just as it’s necessary to make sure your finances are in order before retirement, it’s crucial to ask yourself: What will my new sense of purpose in retirement be?</p> <p>“Many times, adults might not think about what it actually means to be retired, or they think about retirement in abstract terms,” says Angela Curl, an assistant professor in the University of Missouri School of Social Work.</p> <p>She says you need to make concrete plans for retirement. “If you want to volunteer when you are retired, ask yourself where and how often. Having specific plans and steps to follow will help you enter retirement more easily,” says Curl.</p> <p>Creating a plan of how you’ll spend your time when you retire will keep you mentally and physically strong, ensuring that you’ll be healthy enough to enjoy your well-deserved retirement.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Retirement Life

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Running or yoga can help beat depression, research shows – even if exercise is the last thing you feel like

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-noetel-147460">Michael Noetel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>At least <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychiatry/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.665019/full">one in ten people</a> have depression at some point in their lives, with some estimates <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379720301793">closer to one in four</a>. It’s one of the worst things for someone’s wellbeing – worse than <a href="https://www.happinessresearchinstitute.com/_files/ugd/928487_4a99b6e23f014f85b38495b7ab1ac24b.pdf">debt, divorce or diabetes</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-so-many-australians-taking-antidepressants-221857">One in seven</a> Australians take antidepressants. Psychologists are in <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-cant-solve-australias-mental-health-emergency-if-we-dont-train-enough-psychologists-here-are-5-fixes-190135">high demand</a>. Still, only <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003901">half</a> of people with depression in high-income countries get treatment.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/384/bmj-2023-075847">new research</a> shows that exercise should be considered alongside therapy and antidepressants. It can be just as impactful in treating depression as therapy, but it matters what type of exercise you do and how you do it.</p> <h2>Walk, run, lift, or dance away depression</h2> <p>We found 218 randomised trials on exercise for depression, with 14,170 participants. We analysed them using a method called a network meta-analysis. This allowed us to see how different types of exercise compared, instead of lumping all types together.</p> <p>We found walking, running, strength training, yoga and mixed aerobic exercise were about as effective as <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-cognitive-behaviour-therapy-37351">cognitive behaviour therapy</a> – one of the <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychiatry/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00004/full">gold-standard treatments</a> for depression. The effects of dancing were also powerful. However, this came from analysing just five studies, mostly involving young women. Other exercise types had more evidence to back them.</p> <p>Walking, running, strength training, yoga and mixed aerobic exercise seemed more effective than antidepressant medication alone, and were about as effective as exercise alongside antidepressants.</p> <p>But of these exercises, people were most likely to stick with strength training and yoga.</p> <p><iframe id="cZaWb" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/cZaWb/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Antidepressants certainly help <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(17)32802-7/fulltext">some people</a>. And of course, anyone getting treatment for depression should talk to their doctor <a href="https://australia.cochrane.org/news/new-cochrane-review-explores-latest-evidence-approaches-stopping-long-term-antidepressants">before changing</a> what they are doing.</p> <p>Still, our evidence shows that if you have depression, you should get a psychologist <em>and</em> an exercise plan, whether or not you’re taking antidepressants.</p> <h2>Join a program and go hard (with support)</h2> <p>Before we analysed the data, we thought people with depression might need to “ease into it” with generic advice, <a href="https://www.who.int/initiatives/behealthy/physical-activity">such as</a> “some physical activity is better than doing none.”</p> <p>But we found it was far better to have a clear program that aimed to push you, at least a little. Programs with clear structure worked better, compared with those that gave people lots of freedom. Exercising by yourself might also make it hard to set the bar at the right level, given low self-esteem is a symptom of depression.</p> <p>We also found it didn’t matter how much people exercised, in terms of sessions or minutes a week. It also didn’t really matter how long the exercise program lasted. What mattered was the intensity of the exercise: the higher the intensity, the better the results.</p> <h2>Yes, it’s hard to keep motivated</h2> <p>We should exercise caution in interpreting the findings. Unlike drug trials, participants in exercise trials know which “treatment” they’ve been randomised to receive, so this may skew the results.</p> <p>Many people with depression have physical, psychological or social barriers to participating in formal exercise programs. And getting support to exercise isn’t free.</p> <p>We also still don’t know the best way to stay motivated to exercise, which can be even harder if you have depression.</p> <p>Our study tried to find out whether things like setting exercise goals helped, but we couldn’t get a clear result.</p> <p>Other reviews found it’s important to have a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31923898/">clear action plan</a> (for example, putting exercise in your calendar) and to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19916637/">track your progress</a> (for example, using an app or smartwatch). But predicting which of these interventions work is notoriously difficult.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04128-4">2021 mega-study</a> of more than 60,000 gym-goers <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04128-4/figures/1">found</a> experts struggled to predict which strategies might get people into the gym more often. Even making workouts fun didn’t seem to motivate people. However, listening to audiobooks while exercising helped a lot, which no experts predicted.</p> <p>Still, we can be confident that people benefit from personalised support and accountability. The support helps overcome the hurdles they’re sure to hit. The accountability keeps people going even when their brains are telling them to avoid it.</p> <p>So, when starting out, it seems wise to avoid going it alone. Instead:</p> <ul> <li> <p>join a fitness group or yoga studio</p> </li> <li> <p>get a trainer or an exercise physiologist</p> </li> <li> <p>ask a friend or family member to go for a walk with you.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Taking a few steps towards getting that support makes it more likely you’ll keep exercising.</p> <h2>Let’s make this official</h2> <p>Some countries see exercise as a backup plan for treating depression. For example, the American Psychological Association only <a href="https://www.apa.org/depression-guideline/">conditionally recommends</a> exercise as a “complementary and alternative treatment” when “psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy is either ineffective or unacceptable”.</p> <p>Based on our research, this recommendation is withholding a potent treatment from many people who need it.</p> <p>In contrast, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists <a href="https://www.ranzcp.org/getmedia/a4678cf4-91f5-4746-99d4-03dc7379ae51/mood-disorders-clinical-practice-guideline-2020.pdf">recommends</a> vigorous aerobic activity at least two to three times a week for all people with depression.</p> <p>Given how common depression is, and the number failing to receive care, other countries should follow suit and recommend exercise alongside front-line treatments for depression.</p> <p><em>I would like to acknowledge my colleagues Taren Sanders, Chris Lonsdale and the rest of the coauthors of the paper on which this article is based.</em></p> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223441/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-noetel-147460">Michael Noetel</a>, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/running-or-yoga-can-help-beat-depression-research-shows-even-if-exercise-is-the-last-thing-you-feel-like-223441">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Robert Irwin's favourite Aussie holiday spot

<p>Robert Irwin is a Queenslander through and through, and despite all the attractions and things to do in his hometown, the young conservationist is surprisingly a huge fan of Tasmania.</p> <p>When asked what his favourite destination was, Irwin said that it was a "very tough question" but narrowed it down to two spots: North Queensland and Tasmania.</p> <p>“I know what you’re thinking – two of the most polar opposite places, but they both have such rugged and raw natural beauty,” Irwin told news.com.au.</p> <p>He added that Cradle Mountain, one of Tasmania's most iconic sights is one of his favourite spots and that it is a must-see destination.</p> <p>“I also enjoy the Tasman Peninsula, Launceston, Swansea and the stunning Tarkine Wilderness just to name a few spots.”</p> <p>In North Queensland, he lives up to his role as the son of 'The Crocodile Hunter' as he loves exploring the mangroves and estuaries.</p> <p>“At a good distance away from the water’s edge of course,” he added.</p> <p>“Surprisingly, Cairns also has some top-notch mountain biking, so if you love an adrenaline hit, it has got you covered.”</p> <p>Irwin added that all Aussies need to explore the far north and far south at least once in their lives.</p> <p>“To sum it all up, Tasmania has Tassie devils, and North Queensland has crocs. What more do you need,” he said.</p> <p>The young conservationist will soon be heading to South Africa to film the newest season of <em>I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!</em> as he replaced Dr Chris Brown as a co-host for the show.</p> <p>He shared that he will definitely bring his own camera.</p> <p>“We have supported wildlife conservation efforts there for many years and have spent so much time photographing the unique wildlife of South Africa,” he said.</p> <p>“My new I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! hosting role will definitely give me the opportunity to further pursue my passion for photography.”</p> <p>Images: Instagram</p>

Domestic Travel

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How do I handle it if my parent is refusing aged care? 4 things to consider

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lee-fay-low-98311">Lee-Fay Low</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>It’s a shock when we realise our parents aren’t managing well at home.</p> <p>Perhaps the house and garden are looking more chaotic, and Mum or Dad are relying more on snacks than nutritious meals. Maybe their grooming or hygiene has declined markedly, they are socially isolated or not doing the things they used to enjoy. They may be losing weight, have had a fall, aren’t managing their medications correctly, and are at risk of getting scammed.</p> <p>You’re worried and you want them to be safe and healthy. You’ve tried to talk to them about aged care but been met with swift refusal and an indignant declaration “I don’t need help – everything is fine!” Now what?</p> <p>Here are four things to consider.</p> <h2>1. Start with more help at home</h2> <p>Getting help and support at home can help keep Mum or Dad well and comfortable without them needing to move.</p> <p>Consider drawing up a roster of family and friends visiting to help with shopping, cleaning and outings. You can also use home aged care services – or a combination of both.</p> <p>Government subsidised home care services provide from one to 13 hours of care a week. You can get more help if you are a veteran or are able to pay privately. You can take advantage of things like rehabilitation, fall risk-reduction programs, personal alarms, stove automatic switch-offs and other technology aimed at increasing safety.</p> <p>Call <a href="https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/">My Aged Care</a> to discuss your options.</p> <h2>2. Be prepared for multiple conversations</h2> <p>Getting Mum or Dad to accept paid help can be tricky. Many families often have multiple conversations around aged care before a decision is made.</p> <p>Ideally, the older person feels supported rather than attacked during these conversations.</p> <p>Some families have a meeting, so everyone is coming together to help. In other families, certain family members or friends might be better placed to have these conversations – perhaps the daughter with the health background, or the auntie or GP who Mum trusts more to provide good advice.</p> <p>Mum or Dad’s main emotional support person should try to maintain their relationship. It’s OK to get someone else (like the GP, the hospital or an adult child) to play “bad cop”, while a different person (such as the older person’s spouse, or a different adult child) plays “good cop”.</p> <h2>3. Understand the options when help at home isn’t enough</h2> <p>If you have maximised home support and it’s not enough, or if the hospital won’t discharge Mum or Dad without extensive supports, then you may be <a href="https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article/60/8/1504/5863160">considering a nursing home</a> (also known as residential aged care in Australia).</p> <p>Every person has a legal right to <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/9-your-right-choose-where-you-live">choose where we live</a> (unless they have lost capacity to make that decision).</p> <p>This means families can’t put Mum or Dad into residential aged care against their will. Every person also has the right to choose to take risks. People can choose to continue to live at home, even if it means they might not get help immediately if they fall, or eat poorly. We should respect Mum or Dad’s decisions, even if we disagree with them. Researchers call this “dignity of risk”.</p> <p>It’s important to understand Mum or Dad’s point of view. Listen to them. Try to figure out what they are feeling, and what they are worried might happen (which might not be rational).</p> <p>Try to understand what’s really important to their quality of life. Is it the dog, having privacy in their safe space, seeing grandchildren and friends, or something else?</p> <p>Older people are often understandably concerned about losing independence, losing control, and having strangers in their personal space.</p> <p>Sometimes families prioritise physical health over psychological wellbeing. But we need to consider both when considering nursing home admission.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9826495/">Research</a> suggests going into a nursing home temporarily increases loneliness, risk of depression and anxiety, and sense of losing control.</p> <p>Mum and Dad should be involved in the decision-making process about where they live, and when they might move.</p> <p>Some families start looking “just in case” as it often takes some time to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/questions-to-ask-when-choosing-an-aged-care-home-for-a-loved-one/10302590">find the right nursing home</a> and there can be a wait.</p> <p>After you have your top two or three choices, take Mum or Dad to visit them. If this is not possible, take pictures of the rooms, the public areas in the nursing home, the menu and the activities schedule.</p> <p>We should give Mum or Dad information about their options and risks so they can make informed (and hopefully better) decisions.</p> <p>For instance, if they visit a nursing home and the manager says they can go on outings whenever they want, this might dispel a belief they are “locked up”.</p> <p>Having one or two weeks “respite” in a home may let them try it out before making the big decision about staying permanently. And if they find the place unacceptable, they can try another nursing home instead.</p> <h2>4. Understand the options if a parent has lost capacity to make decisions</h2> <p>If Mum or Dad have lost capacity to choose where they live, family may be able to make that decision in their best interests.</p> <p>If it’s not clear whether a person has capacity to make a particular decision, a medical practitioner can assess for that capacity.</p> <p>Mum or Dad may have appointed an <a href="https://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/wills/appoint-enduring-guardian/what-enduring-guardian">enduring guardian</a> to make decisions about their health and lifestyle decisions when they are not able to.</p> <p>An enduring guardian can make the decision that the person should live in residential aged care, if the person no longer has the capacity to make that decision themselves.</p> <p>If Mum or Dad didn’t appoint an enduring guardian, and have lost capacity, then a court or tribunal can <a href="https://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/guardianship/information-about-guardianship">appoint</a> that person a private guardian (usually a family member, close friend or unpaid carer).</p> <p>If no such person is available to act as private guardian, a public official may be appointed as public guardian.</p> <h2>Deal with your own feelings</h2> <p>Families often feel <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12144-023-04538-9">guilt and grief</a> during the decision-making and transition process.</p> <p>Families need to act in the best interest of Mum or Dad, but also balance other caring responsibilities, financial priorities and their own wellbeing.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221210/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lee-fay-low-98311"><em>Lee-Fay Low</em></a><em>, Professor in Ageing and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-do-i-handle-it-if-my-parent-is-refusing-aged-care-4-things-to-consider-221210">original article</a>.</em></p>

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After a lifetime studying superannuation, here are 5 things I wish I knew earlier

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-thorp-214">Susan Thorp</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Amassing the wealth needed to support retirement by regular saving is a monumental test of personal planning and discipline. Fortunately for most Australian workers, the superannuation system can help.</p> <p>Superannuation uses the carrot of tax incentives, and the sticks of compulsion and limited access, to make us save for retirement.</p> <p>There are benefits to paying timely attention to your super early in your working life to get the most from this publicly mandated form of financial self-discipline.</p> <p>I’ve been researching and thinking about superannuation for most of my career. Here’s what I wish I knew at the beginning of my working life.</p> <h2>1. Check you’re actually getting paid super</h2> <p>First, make sure you are getting your dues.</p> <p>If you are working, your employer must contribute <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/super-for-employers/paying-super-contributions/how-much-super-to-pay">11% of your earnings</a> into your superannuation account. By July 2025 the rate will increase to 12%.</p> <p>This mandatory payment (the “<a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/tax-rates-and-codes/key-superannuation-rates-and-thresholds/super-guarantee">superannuation guarantee</a>”) may look like yet another tax but it is an important part of your earnings (would you take an 11% pay cut?).</p> <p>It is worth checking on, and worth <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/calculators-and-tools/super-report-unpaid-super-contributions-from-my-employer">reporting</a> if it is not being paid.</p> <p>The Australian Tax Office <a href="https://oia.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/posts/2023/05/Impact%20Analysis%20-%20Unpaid%20Superannuation%20Guarantee%20package.pdf">estimates</a> there is a gap between the superannuation employers should pay and what they do pay of around 5% (or $A3.3 billion) every year.</p> <p>Failing to pay is <a href="https://oia.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/posts/2023/05/Impact%20Analysis%20-%20Unpaid%20Superannuation%20Guarantee%20package.pdf">more common</a> among the accommodation, food service and construction industries, as well as small businesses.</p> <p>Don’t take your payslip at face value; cross-check your super account balance and the annual statement from your fund.</p> <h2>2. Have just one super account</h2> <p>Don’t make personal donations to the finance sector by having more than one superannuation account.</p> <p>Two super accounts mean you are donating unnecessary administration fees, possibly redundant insurance premiums and suffering two times the confusion to manage your accounts.</p> <p>The superannuation sector does not need your charity. If you have more than one super account, please consolidate them into just one today. You can do that <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/how-super-works/consolidating-super-funds">relatively easily</a>.</p> <h2>3. Be patient, and appreciate the power of compound interest</h2> <p>If you’re young now, retirement may feel a very distant problem not worth worrying about until later. But in a few decades you’re probably going to appreciate the way superannuation works.</p> <p>As a person closing in on retirement, I admit I had no idea in my 20s how much my future, and the futures of those close to me, would depend on my superannuation savings.</p> <p>Now I get it! <a href="https://www.nber.org/papers/w27459">Research</a> <a href="https://economics.mit.edu/sites/default/files/publications/pandp.20221022.pdf">shows</a> the strict rules preventing us from withdrawing superannuation earlier are definitely costly to some people in preventing them from spending on things they really need. For many, however, it stops them spending on things that, in retrospect, they would rate as less important.</p> <p>But each dollar we contribute in our 30s is worth around three times the dollars we contribute in our 50s. This is because of the advantages of time and <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/saving/compound-interest">compound interest</a> (which is where you earn interest not just on the money initially invested, but on the interest as well; it’s where you earn “interest on your interest”).</p> <p>For some, adding extra “voluntary” savings can build up retirement savings as a buffer against the periods of unemployment, disability or carer’s leave that most of us experience at some stage.</p> <h2>4. Count your blessings</h2> <p>If you are building superannuation savings, try to remember you’re among the lucky ones.</p> <p>The benefits of super aren’t available to those who can’t work much (or at all). They face a more precarious reliance on public safety nets, like the Age Pension.</p> <p>So aim to maintain your earning capacity, and pay particular attention to staying employable if you take breaks from work.</p> <p>What’s more, superannuation savings are invested by (usually) skilled professionals at rates of return hard for individual investors to achieve outside the system.</p> <p>Many larger superannuation funds offer members types of investments – such as infrastructure projects and commodities – that retail investors can’t access.</p> <p>The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) also <a href="https://www.apra.gov.au/industries/superannuation">checks</a> on large funds’ investment strategies and performance.</p> <h2>5. Tough decisions lie ahead</h2> <p>The really hard work is ahead of you. The saving or “accumulation” phase of superannuation is mainly automatic for most workers. Even a series of non-decisions (defaults) will usually achieve a satisfactory outcome. A little intelligent activity will do even better.</p> <p>However, at retirement we face the challenge of making that accumulated wealth cover our needs and wants over an uncertain number of remaining years. We also face variable returns on investments, a likely need for aged care and, in many cases, declining cognitive capacity.</p> <p>It’s helpful to frame your early thinking about superannuation as a means to support these critical decades of consumption in later life.</p> <p>At any age, when we review our financial management and think about what we wish we had known in the past, we should be realistic. Careful and conscientious people still make mistakes, procrastinate and suffer from bad luck. So if your super isn’t where you had hoped it would be by now, don’t beat yourself up about it. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/217922/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-thorp-214">Susan Thorp</a>, Professor of Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-a-lifetime-studying-superannuation-here-are-5-things-i-wish-i-knew-earlier-217922">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Six surprising things about placebos everyone should know

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jeremy-howick-250620">Jeremy Howick</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-leicester-1053">University of Leicester</a></em></p> <p>Placebos have been studied more than any treatment in the history of medicine, yet they remain mysterious.</p> <p>I’ve been studying placebos for 20 years and I’ve done some of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288933/">key studies</a> that have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3655171/">advanced the scientific knowledge</a> in this area. Here are six facts about this strange effect that still fascinate me.</p> <h2>1. Placebos have a dark cousin: nocebos</h2> <p>A 29-year-old builder went to the hospital after having jumped onto a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5471339/">15cm nail</a> that pierced his boot. Moving the nail was so painful he had to be sedated with powerful drugs (fentanyl and midazolam) to remove it. But when he took off his boot, the medics discovered that the nail had gone between his toes. The builder’s pain was caused by the wrong belief that the nail had penetrated his foot.</p> <p>The detrimental effects of negative expectations are called nocebo effects. For evolutionary reasons (survival depends on avoiding danger), nocebo effects are larger than placebo effects.</p> <p>Unfortunately, patients are often told more about the bad things that might happen than the good things, which can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, learning that a drug has a possible side-effect of nausea or pain can actually <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7368797/">cause nausea or pain</a>.</p> <h2>2. Placebos work even if people know they are placebos</h2> <p>Linda Buonanno suffered so badly from irritable bowel syndrome that she often couldn’t <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/may/22/knew-they-were-sugar-pills-felt-fantastic-rise-open-label-placebos">leave the house</a> for weeks. She signed up for a trial of “honest” (open-label) placebos, which is a placebo that patients know is a placebo.</p> <p>The Harvard doctors in the trial <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3008733/">told her</a> the pills were “placebo pills made of an inert substance, like sugar pills, that have been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in [irritable bowel] symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes”.</p> <p>The honest placebos worked so well that she was able to resume a normal life.</p> <p>Honest placebos have <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28452193/">worked in other trials</a> for treating depression, back pain and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).</p> <p>Honest placebos work because of our subconscious expectations. Our past experiences of doctors and hospitals can generate subconscious expectations that activate our body’s inner pharmacy, which produces morphine (endorphins) and other beneficial drugs.</p> <h2>3. Honest placebos are ethically acceptable</h2> <p>It is often considered unethical for doctors to give placebos to patients because this supposedly <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11724-014-0400-1">involves lying</a> (telling patients that a sugar pill is a powerful medication). But honest placebos do not involve lying, so there is no ethical barrier.</p> <p>In one <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34805194/#:%7E:text=Introduction%3A%20Open%2Dlabel%20placebos%20have,label%20placebos%20in%20acute%20pain.">ongoing trial</a>, doctors asked patients whether they would be willing to try a mix of real painkillers and honest placebos. Patients in this trial have the same level of pain relief following surgery, but are less likely to become dependent on painkillers.</p> <h2>4. Placebo effects are part of most treatment effects</h2> <p>When a doctor prescribes ibuprofen for back pain, the effects are due to the ibuprofen and the patient’s beliefs and expectations, which can be influenced by the doctor’s communication. Doctors who offer positive messages in a warm, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047264/">empathic manner</a> will increase the effect of the drugs.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2359128/">size and colour</a> of the pill can also influence the effect. A large, orange pill can reduce pain more than a small, red one.</p> <p>By contrast, blue pills generally have a sedative effect – except for Italian men, for whom blue pills have an <a href="https://www.amherst.edu/system/files/media/1601/moerman_explanatory%20mechanisms%20for%20placebo%20effects.pdf">excitative effect</a>), probably because their revered football team wears blue.</p> <p>Doctors’ ethical duty to benefit patients suggests it is an ethical duty to maximise the placebo effects of all treatments they provide.</p> <h2>5. You don’t need placebos to have placebo effects</h2> <p>In one trial, patients were given morphine <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15488461/">via an intravenous line</a> following surgery. However, only half of the patients were told they were receiving morphine. The patients who were told this had 50% more pain relief than those who were not told they were receiving morphine. This is an example of a placebo effect without a placebo.</p> <h2>6. You can generate placebo (and nocebo) effects in yourself</h2> <p>All communication can have a beneficial or harmful effect. One study found that teaching communication skills to families <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4915212/">reduced anxiety and depression</a>. On the other hand, couples who dwell on problems and negative aspects of their relationships were shown in a study to have <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453022003304?via%3Dihub">weaker immune systems</a>.</p> <p>Acts of altruism, focusing on a brighter future, or gratitude are proven ways to reduce the effect of negative communication. An easy way to generate positive placebo effects for yourself is by performing a <a href="https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/kindness-and-mental-health/random-acts-kindness">random act of kindness</a>, such as making a colleague a cup of tea, or simply smiling and saying hello.</p> <p>You can learn more about the amazing effects of placebos and nocebos in my <a href="https://www.press.jhu.edu/books/title/12830/power-placebos">latest book</a>, The Power of Placebos: How the Science of Placebos and Nocebos can Improve Health Care.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220829/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jeremy-howick-250620"><em>Jeremy Howick</em></a><em>, Professor and Director of the Stoneygate Centre for Excellence in Empathic Healthcare, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-leicester-1053">University of Leicester</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/six-surprising-things-about-placebos-everyone-should-know-220829">original article</a>.</em></p>

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7 things you should never say at a funeral

<p><strong>What not to say at a funeral </strong></p> <p>Struggling to find the right words to convey sympathy at a funeral? Even the most well-intentioned comments can come across as hurtful instead of helpful. Here are some common phrases you should never say at a funeral –and what to say instead.</p> <p><strong>Never say "I know how you feel" at a funeral </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Instead, say:</em></span> “I can’t imagine how you feel.”</p> <p>By the time we’re adults, most of us will have experienced the loss of a family member, friend or colleague. What’s important to note, however, is that although the phases of grief are similar, we don’t necessarily know how another grieving individual truly feels. “Everyone’s experience is unique,” says Jaime Bickerton, executive director of Bereaved Families of Ontario in Canada. “Everyone’s loss is the worst, because it’s theirs.”</p> <p>It can help to think of yourself in a helper role, says author and grief counsellor, Dr Alan Wolfelt. “Walk ‘with,’ not ‘behind’ or ‘in front of’ the person who is mourning.”</p> <p><strong>"Time heals all wounds" is something you should never say at a funeral </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Instead, say:</em></span> “Take the time you need and be gentle with yourself.”</p> <p>“There’s no formula when it comes to grief,” says Asya Hadzismajlovic, bereavement expert. “It comes in waves.” The grieving process takes time and important dates like anniversaries and birthdays can trigger an emotional tsunami. Allow the bereaved to move through that process at his or her own pace, advises Wolfelt. “Don’t force your timetable for healing. Allow them to experience all the hurt, sorrow and pain he or she is feeling at the time.”</p> <p><strong>Never say “At least he didn’t suffer,” “At least she made it to her birthday,” or “At least she died doing what she loved” at a funeral</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Instead, say:</em></span> “I am here for you.”</p> <p>It’s best to avoid any statements that begin with “at least,” notes Bickerton. These sentiments are often an attempt to make dark days more bearable, but they won’t diminish the pain of losing a loved one. What the person grieving really needs is your quiet presence, says Hadzismajlovic. Check in during the day of the funeral and beyond. “People just want to be heard; to be listened to,” she says. “We say that grief shared is grief lessened.”</p> <p><strong>“Let me know what I can do” is something you should never say at a funeral</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Instead, say:</em></span> “Here’s what I can do for you…”</p> <p>This comment places the burden on the bereaved to reach out for help at a time when they likely don’t know what they need, explains Bickerton. Running a few loads of their laundry, tidying their house or yard and preparing meals are just a few ways to genuinely show you care as opposed to merely saying you care. “If they have 38 casseroles, make the 39th,” says Wolfelt. “Deliver it in your best dish and say you will be over in a week to pick it up. This provides you with an opportunity to check in.”</p> <p><strong>Never say “She’s in a better place” at a funeral</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Instead, say:</em></span> “She will be missed.”</p> <p>“Most likely, the person grieving is thinking the best place for [the deceased] to be is with them,” says Bickerton. “There’s also a danger of assuming the person ascribes to certain beliefs, which may not be the case.” Simply show your support for your grieving friend, colleague or family member, advises Wolfelt. “At the funeral, a touch of your hand, a look in your eye or even a hug often communicates more than words can say.”</p> <p><strong>Never say “It was his time” at a funeral</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Instead, say:</em></span> “I am so sorry for the loss of your precious [person’s name].”</p> <p>“This platitude can be particularly upsetting for the grieving person to hear as it implies a reason for the death when they may be feeling the death was senseless or irrational,” says Bickerton. Even if the loved one lived a long, full life, the person grieving would likely have been wishing for many more years together. When expressing your condolence be sure to say the person’s name, advises Wolfelt. “That way the person grieving knows you are genuinely concerned.”</p> <p><strong>Never say “You need to say goodbye” or “Life must go on” at a funeral</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Instead, say:</em></span> “He will always be remembered for his generosity/love for his family…”</p> <p>Statements like these tend to minimise the grief journey, says Bickerton. “Life will go on but it will look very different for the person grieving as they adjust to their new normal.” A note that shares a favourite memory or relates the special qualities you valued in the person who has passed is a thoughtful way to express your condolences before or after the funeral, says Wolfelt. “These words will often be a loving gift to the grieving person.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/relationships/7-things-you-should-never-say-at-a-funeral" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

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You can’t reverse the ageing process but these 5 things can help you live longer

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904">Hassan Vally</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>At this time of year many of us resolve to prioritise our health. So it is no surprise there’s a <a href="https://digiday.com/marketing/health-food-brands-ramp-up-marketing-efforts-around-consumers-new-years-resolutions/">roaring trade</a> of products purporting to guarantee you live longer, be healthier and look more youthful.</p> <p>While an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822264/">estimated</a> 25% of longevity is determined by our genes, the rest is determined by what we do, day to day.</p> <p>There are no quick fixes or short cuts to living longer and healthier lives, but the science is clear on the key principles. Here are five things you can do to extend your lifespan and improve your health.</p> <h2>1. Eat a predominantly plant-based diet</h2> <p>What you eat has a huge impact on your health. The evidence overwhelmingly <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8210981/#:%7E:text=According%20to%20an%20expansive%20review,13%20Given%20that%20so%20many">shows</a> eating a diet high in plant-based foods is associated with health and longevity.</p> <p>If you eat more plant-based foods and less meat, processed foods, sugar and salt, you reduce your risk of a range of illnesses that shorten our lives, including heart disease and cancer.</p> <p>Plant-based foods <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0552-0">are rich</a> in nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and fibre. They’re also anti-inflammatory. All of this protects against damage to our cells as we age, which helps prevent disease.</p> <p>No particular diet is right for everyone but one of the most studied and <a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/mediterranean-diet/#:%7E:text=%5B6%5D%20Those%20who%20had%20the,who%20had%20the%20lowest%20adherence.">healthiest</a> is the <a href="https://www.eatingwell.com/article/291120/mediterranean-diet-for-beginners-everything-you-need-to-get-started/">Mediterranean diet</a>. It’s based on the eating patterns of people who live in countries around the Mediterranean Sea and emphases vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds, fish and seafood, and olive oil.</p> <h2>2. Aim for a healthy weight</h2> <p>Another important way you can be healthier is to try and achieve a healthy weight, as obesity <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/obesity/how-obesity-affects-body">increases the risk</a> of a number of health problems that shorten our lives.</p> <p>Obesity puts strain on all of our body systems and has a whole myriad of physiological effects including causing inflammation and hormonal disturbances. These <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK572076/">increase your chances</a> of a number of diseases, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and a number of cancers.</p> <p>In addition to affecting us physically, obesity is also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6052856/">associated with</a> poorer psychological health. It’s linked to depression, low self-esteem and stress.</p> <p>One of the biggest challenges we face in the developed world is that we live in an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6817492/">environment</a> that promotes obesity. The ubiquitous marketing and the easy availability of high-calorie foods our bodies are hard-wired to crave mean it’s easy to consume too many calories.</p> <h2>3. Exercise regularly</h2> <p>We all know that exercise is good for us – the <a href="https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/au/news/breaking-news/hcf-reveals-australias-most-popular-new-years-resolutions-for-2023-431665.aspx">most common resolution</a> we make this time of year is to do more exercise and to get fitter. Regular exercise <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity">protects</a> against chronic illness, lowers your stress and improves your mental health.</p> <p>While one of the ways exercising helps you is by supporting you to control your weight and lowering your body fat levels, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1402378/#:%7E:text=For%20instance%2C%20routine%20physical%20activity,HDL%5D%20cholesterol%20levels%20and%20decreased">effects</a> are broader and include improving your glucose (blood sugar) use, lowering your blood pressure, reducing inflammation and improving blood flow and heart function.</p> <p>While it’s easy to get caught up in all of the hype about different exercise strategies, the evidence <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320760">suggests</a> that any way you can include physical activity in your day has health benefits. You don’t have to run marathons or go to the gym for hours every day. Build movement into your day in any way that you can and do things that you enjoy.</p> <h2>4. Don’t smoke</h2> <p>If you want to be healthier and live longer then don’t smoke or vape.</p> <p>Smoking cigarettes affects almost every organ in the body and is associated with both a shorter and lower quality of life. There is no safe level of smoking – every cigarette increases your <a href="https://theconthatkills.org.au/?utm_source=googlesearch&amp;utm_medium=search&amp;utm_campaign=theconthatkills23&amp;utm_content=RSA&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjwqP2pBhDMARIsAJQ0Czrlep6EQHC-8_9xUhpz0h9v2ZglMF-6-k7_65awq8FxVaIL5HRoivwaAqJwEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">chances of developing</a> a range of cancers, heart disease and diabetes.</p> <p>Even if you have been smoking for years, by giving up smoking at any age you can experience <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/benefits/index.htm">health benefits</a> almost immediately, and you can reverse many of the harmful effects of smoking.</p> <p>If you’re thinking of switching to vapes as a healthy long term option, <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-vaping-help-people-quit-smoking-its-unlikely-204812">think again</a>. The long term health effects of vaping are not fully understood and they come with their own <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-vapes-arent-95-less-harmful-than-cigarettes-heres-how-this-decade-old-myth-took-off-203039">health risks</a>.</p> <h2>5. Prioritise social connection</h2> <p>When we talk about living healthier and longer, we tend to focus on what we do to our physical bodies. But one of the most important discoveries over the past decade has been the recognition of the importance of spiritual and psychological health.</p> <p>People who are lonely and socially isolated have a much higher risk of dying early and are <a href="https://healthnews.com/longevity/healthspan/social-connection-and-longevity/#:%7E:text=One%20of%20the%20biggest%20benefits,the%20following%20factors%20and%20influences.">more likely</a> to suffer from heart disease, stroke, dementia as well as anxiety and depression.</p> <p>Although we don’t fully understand the mechanisms, it’s likely due to both behavioural and biological factors. While people who are more socially connected are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/">more likely</a> to engage in healthy behaviours, there also seems to be a more direct physiological effect of loneliness on the body.</p> <p>So if you want to be healthier and live longer, build and maintain your connections to others.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/214580/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904"><em>Hassan Vally</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/you-cant-reverse-the-ageing-process-but-these-5-things-can-help-you-live-longer-214580">original article</a>.</em></p>

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7 things you never knew about M*A*S*H

<p>Did you know <em>M*A*S*H</em> ran more than three times longer than the actual Korean War? It may have graced our screens for 11 years, but you might not know all there is to know about the classic TV series, <em>M*A*S*H</em>.</p> <ol> <li><strong>No one wanted a laugh track</strong> – Despite pleas from the show’s producers, the network (CBS) went ahead and added in canned laughter. You might have noticed the laugh track growing quieter and quieter as the years progressed, and in the UK, the laugh track was removed entirely.</li> <li><strong>CBS banned an “unpatriotic” episode</strong> – An idea for an episode was shot down by the network for being “unpatriotic”. It involved soldiers standing outside in the freezing cold to make themselves sick enough to be sent home – a tactic actually used during the war.</li> <li><strong>The writers got back at complaining cast members</strong> – If ever an actor complained about their script (or asked for changes), the writing team would change the script to make it “parka weather”, making the cast swelter in jackets through days in excess of 32°C on their Florida film set.</li> <li><strong>Patients were named after sports teams</strong> – After running out of names for patients visiting the hospital, the writers turned to baseball teams. In season six, four Marines are named after California Angels infielders, while in season seven, they named patients after the 1978 Los Angeles Dodgers.</li> <li><strong><em>M*A*S*H</em> hosted some big-name stars</strong> – Guest appearances on the show include Ron Howard, Leslie Nielsen, Patrick Swayze, Laurence Fishburne and Rita Wilson.</li> <li><strong>The series finale broke records</strong> – The two-and-a-half-hour 1983 series finale, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” was watched by a staggering 121.6 million people in the US alone – back then, that was 77 per cent of households with TV sets. It remains the most-watched episode of a TV show in US history.</li> <li><strong>The time capsule didn’t stay buried long</strong> – In the series’ second-last episode, the <em>M*A*S*H</em> gang bury a time capsule. When the show wrapped up, the land used as the show’s set was sold, and a construction worker found the capsule just months later. After getting in contact with Alan Alda to return it, Alda told the worker he could keep it.</li> </ol> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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