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What happens if you want access to voluntary assisted dying but your nursing home won’t let you?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/neera-bhatia-15189">Neera Bhatia</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/charles-corke-167297">Charles Corke</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>Voluntary assisted dying is now lawful in <a href="https://theconversation.com/voluntary-assisted-dying-will-soon-be-legal-in-all-states-heres-whats-just-happened-in-nsw-and-what-it-means-for-you-183355">all Australian states</a>. There is also <a href="https://nationalseniors.com.au/uploads/VAD-Report-correct-month-12.8.21.pdf">widespread community support</a> for it.</p> <p>Yet some residential institutions, such as hospices and aged-care facilities, are obstructing access despite the law not specifying whether they have the legal right to do so.</p> <p>As voluntary assisted dying is implemented across the country, institutions blocking access to it will likely become more of an issue.</p> <p>So addressing this will help everyone – institutions, staff, families and, most importantly, people dying in institutions who wish to have control of their end.</p> <h2>The many ways to block access</h2> <p>While voluntary assisted dying legislation recognises the right of doctors to <a href="https://theconversation.com/was-take-on-assisted-dying-has-many-similarities-with-the-victorian-law-and-some-important-differences-121554">conscientiously object</a> to it, the law is generally silent on the rights of institutions to do so.</p> <p>While the institution where someone lives has no legislated role in voluntary assisted dying, it can refuse access in various ways, including:</p> <ul> <li> <p>restricting staff responding to a discussion a resident initiates about voluntary assisted dying</p> </li> <li> <p>refusing access to health professionals to facilitate it, and</p> </li> <li> <p>requiring people who wish to pursue the option to leave the facility.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Here’s what happened to ‘Mary’</h2> <p>Here is a hypothetical example based on cases one of us (Charles Corke) has learned of via his role at Victoria’s <a href="https://www.safercare.vic.gov.au/about/vadrb">Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board</a>.</p> <p>We have chosen to combine several different cases into one, to respect the confidentiality of the individuals and organisations involved.</p> <p>“Mary” was a 72-year-old widow who moved into a private aged-care facility when she could no longer manage independently in her own home due to advanced lung disease.</p> <p>While her intellect remained intact, she accepted she had reached a stage at which she needed significant assistance. She appreciated the help she received. She liked the staff and they liked her.</p> <p>After a year in the facility, during which time her lung disease got much worse, Mary decided she wanted access to voluntary assisted dying. Her children were supportive, particularly as this desire was consistent with Mary’s longstanding views.</p> <p>Mary was open about her wish with the nursing home staff she felt were her friends.</p> <p>The executive management of the nursing home heard of her intentions. This resulted in a visit at which Mary was told, in no uncertain terms, her wish to access voluntary assisted dying would not be allowed. She would be required to move out, unless she agreed to change her mind.</p> <p>Mary was upset. Her family was furious. She really didn’t want to move, but really wanted to continue with voluntary assisted dying “in her current home” (as she saw it).</p> <p>Mary decided to continue with her wish. Her family took her to see two doctors registered to provide assessments for voluntary assisted dying, who didn’t work at the facility. Mary was deemed eligible and the permit was granted. Two pharmacists visited Mary at the nursing home, gave her the medication and instructed her how to mix it and take it.</p> <p>These actions required no active participation from the nursing home or its staff.</p> <p>Family and friends arranged to visit at the time Mary indicated she planned to take the medication. She died peacefully, on her own terms, as she wished. The family informed the nursing home staff their mother had died. Neither family nor staff mentioned voluntary assisted dying.</p> <h2>Staff are in a difficult position too</h2> <p>There is widespread community support for voluntary assisted dying. In a 2021 survey by National Seniors Australia, <a href="https://nationalseniors.com.au/uploads/VAD-Report-correct-month-12.8.21.pdf">more than 85%</a> of seniors agreed it should be available.</p> <p>So it’s likely there will be staff who are supportive in most institutions. For instance, in a survey of attitudes to voluntary assisted dying in a large public tertiary hospital, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/imj.15285">88% of staff</a> supported it becoming lawful.</p> <p>So a blanket policy to refuse dying patients access to voluntary assisted dying is likely to place staff in a difficult position. An institution risks creating a toxic workplace culture, in which clandestine communication and fear become entrenched.</p> <h2>What could we do better?</h2> <p><strong>1. Institutions need to be up-front about their policies</strong></p> <p>Institutions need to be completely open about their policies on voluntary assisted dying and whether they would obstruct any such request in the future. This is so patients and families can factor this into deciding on an institution in the first place.</p> <p><strong>2. Institutions need to consult their stakeholders</strong></p> <p>Institutions should consult their stakeholders about their policy with a view to creating a “<a href="https://bmcpalliatcare.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12904-021-00891-3">safe</a>” environment for residents and staff – for those who want access to voluntary assisted dying or who wish to support it, and for those who don’t want it and find it confronting.</p> <p><strong>3. Laws need to change</strong></p> <p>Future legislation should define the extent of an institution’s right to obstruct a resident’s right to access voluntary assisted dying.</p> <p>There should be safeguards in all states (as is already legislated <a href="https://documents.parliament.qld.gov.au/tp/2021/5721T707.pdf">in Queensland</a>), including the ability for individuals to be referred in sufficient time to another institution, should they wish to access voluntary assisted dying.</p> <p>Other states should consider whether it is reasonable to permit a resident, who does not wish to move, to be able to stay and proceed with their wish, without direct involvement of the institution.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board.</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/183364/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/neera-bhatia-15189">Neera Bhatia</a>, Associate Professor in Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/charles-corke-167297">Charles Corke</a>, Associate Professor of Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin 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/what-happens-if-you-want-access-to-voluntary-assisted-dying-but-your-nursing-home-wont-let-you-183364">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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Yoko Ono selling John Lennon's New York home for first time in 50 years

<p>For the first time in 50 years, the house where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived in New York City has hit the market.</p> <p>The brick, bluestone and terra cotta structure at 496 Broome St. was the first home the pair bought together in New York City before they moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. </p> <p>Yoko Ono has held onto the property since she first bought it with the late Beatles member, and has now listed it with her son with JLL Real Estate, for an asking price of $US5.5 million ($8.23m AUD).</p> <p>“The building on Broome St. was sort of like a base for their artistic ventures,” Philip Norman, author of “John Lennon: The Life,” told the <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/21/real-estate/yoko-ono-lists-former-nyc-home-for-5-5m/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Post</a></em>. “Bank Street was their salon, where people could just walk in.”</p> <p>First built in 1885, the two-storey building has an open-plan format, with a gallery-like ground floor space with 14.4-foot-high ceilings, an open kitchen and a lofted bedroom.</p> <p>On the second floor, there’s a live-work space and a recording studio.</p> <p>“496 Broome St. is both a unique piece of New York history and popular culture and a prime investment opportunity for the right buyer,” said Paul Smadbeck, who holds the listing.</p> <p>“Versatile zoning and its location in one of the city’s most desirable and trendsetting neighbourhoods offers an exciting opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind property.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Mediapunch / JLL Real Estate </em></p>

Real Estate

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"Can't WAIT to try this": Tradie's simple bin night hack

<p>Taking the wheelie bins out and having to drag them back in is a chore that many dread, but one Aussie tradie has made life so much easier with his simple hack. </p> <p>Kyle Hume took to TikTok to share his simple yet effective trick to bring in two bins back from the curb at the same time, without having to wrangle two bins with both hands or make multiple trips. </p> <p>"I've been wheeling two bins my whole life until I noticed this," he shared. </p> <p>Hume's trick is to line up two bins in front of each other, resting the lid of the bin at the front on top of the bin at the back, and then closing the lid so it creates a makeshift hook that allows you to tip both bins back and wheel them in unison. </p> <p> </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important; width: 573px; max-width: 100%;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7360205539604696336&display_name=tiktok&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40kylehume7%2Fvideo%2F7360205539604696336%3Flang%3Den&image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-sg.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-alisg-p-0037%2FoYPnEqGncBAAtH22Eli4AIzBQC4wEANEIsf1ki%3Fx-expires%3D1715479200%26x-signature%3Di%252BOzi1g942kcQ1F0%252FqQuNd7eiho%253D&key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>Many Aussies were "flabbergasted" by the trick, taking to the comments to express their shock at the simple method. </p> <p>"I've learned more on TikTok about adulting than I ever did in school," one joked. </p> <p>"I have four bins - this is going to save my life," another added. </p> <p>"What? Are you kidding me?" a third exclaimed. </p> <p>However, not everyone was impressed with his method, with some saying that it wouldn't work and there is a risk of damaging the bins. </p> <p>"Guessing that green bin slipped over and split using this hack, lol," one wrote. </p> <p>"This seems awkward and clunky," another added. </p> <p>"Don't you have two arms?" a third wrote. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Home and Away star's secret split

<p>Ada Nicodemou has reportedly split from her partner Sydney businessman Adam Rigby, after eight years of dating. </p> <p>According to <em>The Daily Telegraph</em>, the actress quietly parted ways with her partner at the end of last year. </p> <p>“Everything is amicable,” a close friend of the couple told the publication. </p> <p>“They remain friends but decided to go their separate ways.”</p> <p>Nicodemou, known for her role as Leah on <em>Home and Away</em>, first met Rigby at a work event in 2016, who had no idea who she was as he never watched the iconic soap. </p> <p>The two then debuted their relationship at the Logie Awards in 2018.</p> <p>Although the actress has been protective and private about her personal life, she had previously gushed about Rigby and how he was a great stepdad to her son Johnas, who she shares with her ex-husband Chrys Xipolitas.</p> <p>“Adam and Johnas adore each other; he’s such a great stepdad and has really stepped up,” she told <em>TV Week</em> at the time. </p> <p>“For a man to come into my world and love a child as if he were his own – and love me like I’ve never been loved before – is incredibly special.”</p> <p>She had also featured Rigby on her Instagram a few times. </p> <p>News of the split comes weeks after Nicodemou's co-star and onscreen husband James Stewart split from his wife former <em>Home and Away </em>actress<em> </em>Sarah Roberts. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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REVIEW: Portable laptop monitor

<p>In an era where mobility is paramount, the evolution of technology continues to shape the way we work, play and even travel. Among the many innovations out there aimed at enhancing our digital nomadic lifestyle, the Mobile Pixels DUEX range of portable laptop monitors stands out as a true game-changer.</p> <p>Gone are the days of being tethered to a single screen. With Mobile Pixels' DUEX Series, you can extend your workspace effortlessly, transforming your laptop into a dual-screen powerhouse anywhere, any time. It's such an easy way to seamlessly blend convenience with functionality, redefining the possibilities of productivity while you travel. </p> <p>Travelling for work is one thing, but as often as not it's all about embracing new experiences and enjoying moments of leisure. With a DUEX, your entertainment options are no longer confined to a small laptop screen; you can immerse yourself in your favourite movies, play games, or catch up on the latest episodes of your favourite TV shows in stunning clarity and detail. The vivid display and immersive audio of the DUEX screens also ensure that every moment of downtime is a delight.</p> <p>Designed with the modern traveller in mind, a DUEX laptop screen strikes the perfect balance between portability and functionality. Its sleek, lightweight design makes it the ideal companion for any journey, fitting seamlessly into your backpack or carry-on luggage. It unfolds effortlessly, instantly expanding your workspace wherever you go. Whether you're working from a bustling cafe, a tranquil park or a cramped airplane seat, a DUEX portable laptop screen adapts to your environment with ease.</p> <p>So whether you're a digital nomad, a frequent traveller, or simply seeking to optimise your productivity, the Mobile Pixels DUEX range of portable laptop monitors are a must-have companion for the modern adventurer. Embrace the freedom to work, play and explore on your own terms, wherever your journey may take you.</p> <p>The range comes in the DUEX Lite, Plus or Max varieties. The DUEX Lite is the most affordable option, weighing in at under 600g and boasting a 12.5” screen for $499. The DUEX Plus has a 13.3” screen and retails for $549. The DUEX Max is the premium option with a 14” screen, retailing for $599. All versions are available in Grey and Navy, and can be found at <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks, Harvey Norman, Amazon, Mwave and Rosman Computers.</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">For more information, check out the full <a href="https://www.mobilepixels.com.au/duex" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mobile Pixels DUEX range here</a>.</span></p> <p><em>Image: Mobile Pixels</em>   </p>

Travel Tips

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Stamp duty is holding us back from moving homes – we’ve worked out how much

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-garvin-1453835">Nick Garvin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>If just one state of Australia, New South Wales, scrapped its stamp duty on real-estate transactions, about 100,000 more Australians would move homes each year, according to our <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stamp-duty-effects-on-purchases-and-moves.pdf">best estimates</a>.</p> <p>Stamp duty is an unquestioned part of buying a home in Australia – you put your details in an online mortgage calculator, and stamp duty is automatically deducted from the amount you have to contribute.</p> <p>It’s easy to overlook how much more affordable a home would be without it.</p> <p>That means it’s also easy to overlook how much more Australians would buy and move if stamp duty wasn’t there.</p> <p>The 2010 Henry Tax Review found stamp duty was <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-10/afts_final_report_part_2_vol_1_consolidated.pdf">inequitable</a>. It taxes most the people who most need to or want to move.</p> <p>The review reported: "Ideally, there would be no role for any stamp duties, including conveyancing stamp duties, in a modern Australian tax system. Recognising the revenue needs of the States, the removal of stamp duty should be achieved through a switch to more efficient taxes, such as those levied on broad consumption or land bases."</p> <p>But does stamp duty actually stop anyone moving? It’s a claim more often made than assessed, which is what our team at the <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stamp-duty-effects-on-purchases-and-moves.pdf">e61 Institute</a> set out to do.</p> <p>We used real-estate transaction data and a natural experiment.</p> <h2>What happened when Queensland hiked stamp duty</h2> <p>In 2011, Queensland hiked stamp duty for most buyers by removing some concessions for owner-occupiers at short notice.</p> <p>For owner-occupiers it increased stamp duty by about one percentage point, lifting the average rate from 1.26% of the purchase price to 2.27%.</p> <p>What we found gives us the best estimate to date of what stamp duty does to home purchases.</p> <p>A one percentage point increase in stamp duty causes the number of home purchases to decline by 7.2%.</p> <p>The number of moves (changes of address) falls by about as much.</p> <p>The effect appears to be indiscriminate. Purchases of houses fell about as much as purchases of apartments, and purchases in cities fell about as much as purchases in regions.</p> <p>Moves between suburbs and moves interstate dropped by similar rates.</p> <p>With NSW stamp duty currently averaging about <a href="https://conveyancing.com.au/need-to-know/stamp-duty-nsw">3.5%</a> of the purchase price, our estimates suggest there would be about 25% more purchases and moves by home owners if it were scrapped completely. That’s 100,000 moves.</p> <p>Victoria’s higher rate of stamp duty, about <a href="https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/rates-taxes-duties-and-levies/general-land-transfer-duty-property-current-rates">4.2%</a>, means if it was scrapped there would be about 30% more purchases. That’s another 90,000 moves.</p> <h2>Even low headline rates have big effects</h2> <p>The big effect from small-looking headline rates ought not to be surprising.</p> <p>When someone buys a home, they typically front up much less cash than the purchase price. While stamp duty seems low as a percentage of the purchase price, it is high as a percentage of the cash the buyer needs to find.</p> <p>Here’s an example. If stamp duty is 4% of the purchase price, and a purchaser pays $800,000 for a property with a mortgage deposit of $160,000, the $32,000 stamp duty adds 20%, not 4%, to what’s needed.</p> <p>If the deposit takes five years to save, stamp duty makes it six.</p> <p>A similar thing happens when an owner-occupier changes address. If the buyer sells a fully owned home for $700,000 and buys a new home for $800,000, the upgrade ought to cost them $100,000. A 4% stamp duty lifts that to $132,000.</p> <p>Averaged across all Australian cities, stamp duty costs about <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stepped-on-by-Stamp-Duty.pdf">five months</a> of after-tax earnings. In Sydney and Melbourne, it’s six.</p> <h2>Stamp duty has bracket creep</h2> <p>This cost has steadily climbed from around <a href="https://e61.in/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Stepped-on-by-Stamp-Duty.pdf">six weeks</a> of total earnings in the 1990s. It has happened because home prices have climbed faster than incomes and because stamp duty has brackets, meaning more buyers have been pushed into higher ones.</p> <p>Replacing the stamp duty revenue that states have come to rely on would not be easy, but a switch would almost certainly help the economy function better.</p> <p>The more that people are able to move, the more they will move to jobs to which they are better suited, boosting productivity.</p> <p>The more that people downsize when they want to, the more housing will be made available for others.</p> <p>Our findings suggest the costs are far from trivial, making a switch away from stamp duty worthwhile, even if it is disruptive and takes time.<!-- 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/225773/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/nick-garvin-1453835">Nick Garvin</a>, Adjunct Fellow, Department of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie 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/stamp-duty-is-holding-us-back-from-moving-homes-weve-worked-out-how-much-225773">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Home and Away star accused of "stomping" on woman's head

<p>A former <em>Home and Away</em> star, who has been accused of "stomping" on a woman's head during a violent altercation, was cast to appear on Seven's reality show <em>SAS</em> while battling “declining mental health and escalating drug use” according to court documents. </p> <p>Orpheus Pledger has been accused of the violent alleged assault that took place on March 25th, and was arrested on Thursday following a three-day manhunt by police after he absconded from a Melbourne hospital on Tuesday while on remand.</p> <p>At a bail application that lasted two days, the court heard details of Pledger's years-long deterioration of his mental health, in addition to his alleged prolonged and increasing drug use.</p> <p>A police statement submitted to the court alleged that Pledger was dealing with “declining mental health and escalating drug use” between February 2021 and his alleged attack in March this year. </p> <p>Court documents also alleged that Pledger has been “refusing to engage with mental health services and appears to spend his Centrelink payments on drugs” and had been known to police for many years. </p> <p>During a difficult period with his mental health and drug use, Pledger was cast on Seven's reality show <em>SAS</em>, before he abruptly quit after just two episodes over concerns of his "erratic behaviour". </p> <p>At the bail application, documents alleged the accused is at an “extreme risk of further assaulting” the alleged victim, although Pledger’s lawyer Jasper MacCuspie argued his client’s mental health would deteriorate if he were to remain in custody.</p> <p>Pledger’s matter will be heard again by the Melbourne Magistrates Court in May, where he will face the charges of assault. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Seven </em></p>

Legal

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6 kitchen mistakes you don’t know you're making

<p>The kitchen is the heart of the home, but it can also be an area where we make the most mistakes in the way we use it. Check out our top tips to help keep your kitchen ship-shape.</p> <p><strong>Clean the inside of the dishwasher</strong></p> <p>You may not realise that the appliance that keeps everything clean can in fact be quite dirty. The inside of the dishwasher can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Run a hot cycle with nothing but a cup of white vinegar in the top and bottom shelves. Then simply wipe clean the sides and seams of the dishwasher.</p> <p><strong>Don’t wash your chicken</strong></p> <p>You may think this is necessary, but in fact washing your chicken can spread bacteria across your work surface, towels, cloths, and your hands. You can avoid it altogether as cooking will get rid of anything harmful on your meat.</p> <p><strong>Change your kitchen towel</strong></p> <p>The towel can be harbouring many kinds of bacteria, so it’s best to change them daily. Don’t rely on the sniff test to see if it needs a wash. A dirty towel used to dry your clean dishes can quickly spread germs that can make you sick.</p> <p><strong>Avoid putting wooden items in the dishwasher</strong></p> <p>The heat from the appliance can cause wooden items to warp and crack. That means wooden chopping boards, salad servers, or pots and pans with wooden handles need to be hand washed.</p> <p><strong>Never wipe up floor spills with the dishcloth or tea towel</strong></p> <p>If you wipe up some spilled milk off the floor and then use that same cloth to wipe your bench, germs can quickly spread. Same goes with a tea towel. Always use paper towel for cleaning mess from the floor.</p> <p><strong>Fix leaking taps</strong></p> <p>It’s too easy to ignore the drip drip of a leaky tap. But did you know a leaking tap could use over 6,000L of water in a month? Save the Earth (and reduce your water bill) by staying on top of any leaks around the home.</p> <p><strong>Have a separate chopping board for meat</strong></p> <p>Cross contamination can occur if you chop raw meat on a chopping board and then use it later (even after cleaning) for chopping fruit or vegetables. It’s best to have a board designated just for meat – it’s great if it’s a different colour to your everyday boards. Wash in hot soapy water after each use.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Home & Garden

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Outrage after grandma beaten at home by fake officers

<p>The quiet neighbourhood of Girrawheen, Perth, has been rocked by a vicious assault perpetrated by three assailants disguised as police officers. The aftermath of this cowardly act has left an older couple traumatised and the community reeling with shock and outrage, with police releasing a graphic image of one of the victims in an attempt to help bring the perpetrators to justice.</p> <p>The victim of this brutal attack, 73-year-old Nannette, bore the brunt of the assailants' aggression, enduring a savage beating while her husband, Phillip, was bound and left traumatised inside their own home. The assailants, described as having olive complexions, fled the scene after ransacking the house and stealing jewellery of significant value.</p> <p>The image released by Western Australia Police, with Nannette's approval, was a stark portrayal of the brutality inflicted upon her. Police Commissioner Col Blanch condemned the attack in the strongest terms, expressing his disgust at the violence perpetrated against innocent civilians in their own home. “I saw the photo of the victim this morning, and it made me sick to my stomach,” Blanch said. “To have people at home suffer that type of attack is a disgrace.”</p> <p>Detective Inspector Gary Butler, visibly disturbed by the severity of the incident, highlighted the need for the community to come together to support the investigation and ensure that justice is served. "Violence of this nature is unacceptable, and it will not be tolerated," he said.</p> <p>The daughter of the victims also spoke out, shedding light on the harrowing ordeal her parents endured. She described her mother as a resilient individual who had recently battled cancer and was in the process of recovering. The attack has not only left physical scars but has also shattered their sense of security in their own home. “They tied my dad up, in their own home," she said. "So it’s not safe to come back.”</p> <p>Nannette, reportedly traumatised and in pain, requires medical treatment for her injuries. The psychological toll of such a traumatic experience is immeasurable, not only for the victims but also for their loved ones and the wider community.</p> <p>In the wake of this despicable act, Inspector Butler issued a plea for information, urging anyone with knowledge of the incident to come forward. "We will not stop until these offenders are apprehended and placed before the courts," he said.</p> <p>Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.</p> <p><em>Images: WA Police | Nine News</em></p>

Caring

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“Kick in the face”: Why not everyone's happy that Molly’s going home

<p>The recent decision to <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/molly-the-magpie-is-going-home" target="_blank" rel="noopener">return Molly the magpie</a> to a Gold Coast couple and their two dogs Ruby and Peggy has sparked a contentious debate, which one wildlife advocate <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/molly-the-magpie-decision-labelled-a-kick-in-the-face-for-wildlife-carers-040736042.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">described to Yahoo News</a> as "a kick in the face". Queensland Premier Steven Miles' announcement has divided opinions, stirring anger among wildlife volunteers while receiving overwhelming praise from a vast portion of the public, particularly followers of the popular social media pages featuring Molly.</p> <p>Molly, the magpie turned social media sensation, has captured the hearts of over two million followers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. However, her rise to fame was marred by allegations of being taken from the wild without proper authorisation. The decision to return Molly to Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, the couple behind the Peggy and Molly pages, has left wildlife advocates concerned about the message it sends regarding the treatment of wildlife and the enforcement of regulations.</p> <p>Despite the concerns raised by wildlife advocates, the decision to return Molly appears to have widespread public support. Premier Miles' Facebook post announcing Molly's return garnered significant positive feedback, with many expressing joy at the news. However, some questioned the delay in the decision-making process and criticised the handling of the situation by the Department of Environment and Science and its staff.</p> <p>The saga surrounding Molly's return unfolded amid public pressure, fuelled by social media campaigns and posts from Wells herself, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/i-miss-my-bestie-new-appeal-after-molly-s-family-left-in-the-dark" target="_blank" rel="noopener">expressing frustration at the lack of response</a> from government officials.</p> <p>The controversy surrounding Molly's return raises broader questions about wildlife rehabilitation, human-animal interactions, and the role of social media in shaping public perception. While Wells maintained that Molly was cared for in a manner consistent with fostering her natural instincts, authorities expressed concerns about the potential negative impact of human habituation on the bird's ability to thrive in the wild.</p> <p>Critics argue that Molly's return sets a dangerous precedent, potentially encouraging others to take wild animals into captivity for social media fame. The financial gains associated with Molly's social media presence certainly raise ethical questions about the commodification of wildlife for entertainment purposes.</p> <p>Amid escalating tensions surrounding the case, calls for civility and respect have been made, urging individuals to engage in constructive dialogue rather than resorting to hostility and abuse. None more powerful than the message coming directly from Molly's adoptive carers:</p> <p>"NO AGGRESSION," Juliette Wells repeatedly said to her followers on Instagram. "Be kind - remember what these 3 best friends have shown the world: Love & acceptance in differences. We all have differences in opinions let’s just voice them in a positive way for this Famous Magpie Molly."</p> <p>While Molly's return may be celebrated by some, it reignites discussions about the ethical treatment of wildlife and the responsibilities of both individuals and authorities in safeguarding native species. </p> <p>But the last word again goes to Wells, who has clearly endured a great deal throughout this entire ordeal – including being "harassed, defamed & bullied"<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">:</span></p> <p>"What a journey to get here," wrote Wells, following the news of Molly's impending return. "Having a hole in our hearts that we never thought would heal. Constantly thinking about this little magpie who was full of life and personality sitting in a cage lost and alone. Our hearts breaking Watching our girls looking around for Molly or out the window for hours waiting to see their best friend again.</p> <p>"Being forced by a certain media outlet to make the announcement before we were ready to deliver it in a mindful way to our millions of supporters.</p> <p>"We have become a meme, an interview question & the topic of conversation around the world.</p> <p>"We have be Harassed, defamed & bullied by a small minority of people.</p> <p>"Suddenly being plunged onto the world stage after the QLD premier stepped in. Constantly Hitting brick walls trying to get answers from the dept about Molly & his whereabouts.</p> <p>"We want to thankyou you the people for your voices , for standing by us & making this happen . The messages , emails , phone calls & thousands of signatures on petitions . The love , support and sheer determination for a cause is what you have done & is what has kept us going . We have shown the world what can be achieved when we work together . We have shown the world this can be achieved with persistence without aggression."</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/p/C5mEBBbSY2g/?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/p/C5mEBBbSY2g/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Molly the Magpie is going home!

<p>Molly the magpie, who captured the hearts of thousands with her unlikely friendship with Peggy the English Staffy, is set to be reunited with her former carers. The saga that ensued following Molly's removal from her home on the Gold Coast <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sparked outrage and activism</a>, ultimately leading to this joyous moment.</p> <p>The story began when wildlife officials removed Molly from the residence of Reece Mortensen and Juliette Wells on March 1, citing complaints of illegal possession. This decision triggered a wave of support from the community, who were moved by the bond shared between Molly, Peggy, and another dog, Ruby. Videos and photos showcasing the trio's companionship had gained significant attention on social media platforms, turning Molly into an online sensation.</p> <p>Premier Steven Miles initially voiced his support for Molly's return, acknowledging the unique circumstances and the strong emotional bond between the animals. However, as Mortensen and Wells struggled to navigate bureaucratic hurdles in their quest to bring Molly home, frustration mounted. Despite assurances from the Premier, their attempts to seek further assistance <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/i-miss-my-bestie-new-appeal-after-molly-s-family-left-in-the-dark" target="_blank" rel="noopener">seemed to fall on deaf ears</a>, leaving them feeling abandoned.</p> <p>But just when hope seemed to be dwindling, a surprise announcement came from Premier Miles on Wednesday morning. He revealed that Molly would indeed be returning to her former carers, citing advice from the Department of Environment and Science and Innovation. The necessary arrangements for securing the appropriate license were underway, ensuring that Molly could come home "very soon".</p> <p>“This morning the Department has advised me that the couple can secure the appropriate licence. The team will work with them now to do that,” Miles said in a statement. “It’s good news and means Molly can come home very soon. I’d like to thank everyone who has written to me to share their concerns and advocate for Molly’s return.”</p> <p>This development marks a victory for animal advocacy and grassroots activism. Over 154,000 Australians had signed an online petition calling for Molly's reunion with Peggy, reflecting widespread concern for the emotional wellbeing of both the dog and the magpie. Many saw the situation as an example of "bureaucracy gone mad".</p> <p>As Molly prepares to spread her wings once more in the familiar company of Peggy and Ruby, we cannot wait to see and hear the footage of their upcoming reunion!</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram | Wiki Commons</em></p>

Family & Pets

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"Welcome home, Harold": Iconic Neighbours actor returns to Ramsay Street

<p>More than 15 years after his departure, Harold Bishop is returning to Ramsay Street. </p> <p>Ian Smith's character has long been a fan favourite on <em>Neighbours</em>, after originally starring on the soap between 1987 and 1991, before he returned in 1996 until his departure in 2009. </p> <p>Since then, Harold has made multiple guest appearances, including in the 2022 finale.</p> <p>When Amazon picked up the Aussie show, Smith rejoined the cast for a short time but quickly left after a health scare.</p> <p>But now, Harold is making another comeback. </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/p/C5fVoAlvJEJ/?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/p/C5fVoAlvJEJ/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Neighbours (@neighbours)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The official <em>Neighbours</em> Instagram shared the exciting news of his return, writing, “After 15 years of living away, the legendary Harold Bishop is returning to Erinsborough."</p> <p>“We are thrilled to welcome Ian Smith back to the show and the opening titles, where he belongs.”</p> <p>Fan were quick to flood the comment section with excitable messages, rejoicing in the fact that a fan favourite character was returning. </p> <p>“The best news. The show misses an elder character like Harold,” one person wrote.</p> <p>Another commented, “Absolutely amazing news to wake up too. Welcome home, Harold.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / YouTube </em></p>

TV

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Husband and wife with dementia reunite after 30 years apart

<p>A former husband and wife with dementia have been reunited after 30 years apart when they moved into the same care home. </p> <p>Nancy, 86, and Stan, 91, were first married in 1957 in Edinburgh, despite their parents "forbidding" their romance and not approving of their union. </p> <p>The couple went on to have three children and lived happily, until Nancy was nearly killed by a brain haemorrhage when she was in her mid-50s. </p> <p>Nancy had to undergo life-altering surgery and a lengthy recovery time, which ultimately led to the downfall of her relationship with Stan and they filed for divorce. </p> <p>After their split, Stan met another woman when he was in his 70s, while Nancy never had another romance. </p> <p>When Nancy and Stan entered their 80s, they both began to show signs of dementia and could no longer care for themselves. </p> <p>Around Christmas time last year, their daughter Karen made the decision to put her father Stan, who suffered a fall while being cared for in Scotland, in the same home as Nancy, which is where she captured the heartwarming footage of them being reunited.</p> <p>In the clip, Nancy tells Stan he is "not bad looking for his age", while her ex-husband replies, "I recognise your face but I couldn't place who it was".</p> <p>The couple then agree to go on a date together and have a cup of tea, before having a kiss for "old time's sake."</p> <p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #323338; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; outline: currentcolor !important;">The video was posted to TikTok by Karen's daughter Sarah-Ashleigh, who spoke to the <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13196325/Heartwarming-moment-former-husband-wife-dementia-reunited-care-home-30-years-apart.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daily Mail</a></em> about the family's decision to put both Nancy and Stan in the same care home. </p> <div class="embed" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: currentcolor !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: none; vertical-align: baseline; width: 600px; max-width: 100%; outline: currentcolor !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7341697620181519648&display_name=tiktok&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40sarahashleighflorals%2Fvideo%2F7341697620181519648&image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-useast2a.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-useast2a-p-0037-euttp%2F4189e3105ed04778a3de6a83a40077b6_1709372224%3Fx-expires%3D1712448000%26x-signature%3DcpIHZABQ%252FDnAqGU7bJYeryVnJlU%253D&key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>"We were so worried how this would go. It's so good to see them be friends again," she said.</p> <p>"Dementia is a horrible disease, but it's moments like this which we really just hold on to."</p> <p>"Granny struggles a bit more in general and gets anxious and confused but I think having someone there who she knows has done wonders for her."</p> <p>"She's always looking for him (even when he's right next to her) and they sit together a lot and bicker like the married couple they used to be."</p> <p>"Love might not be the same kind of love forever, it is a shape shifter, but it never leaves."</p> <p>"Their marriage didn't last forever but just seeing them have a friendship again just shows that love never dies."</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Caring

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How to look after your mental health while packing up Mum or Dad’s home

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erika-penney-1416241">Erika Penney</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alice-norton-1516505">Alice Norton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/avalon-tissue-1515840">Avalon Tissue</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>So Mum or Dad has died, or moved to aged care, and now you’ve got to pack up their house. It’s a huge job and you’re dreading it.</p> <p>It’s normal to feel grief, loss, guilt, exhaustion or even resentment at being left with this job.</p> <p>So how can you look after your mental health while tackling the task?</p> <h2>It’s OK to feel a lot of feelings</h2> <p>Research has documented how this task can exert an intense <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15267431.2021.1943399">physical and emotional toll</a>.</p> <p>This can be more intense for those who had strained – or even <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epub/10.1177/0030222819868107">traumatic</a> – relationships with the person whose house they’re packing up.</p> <p>Decisions around distributing or discarding items can, in some families, bring up painful reminders of the past or end up <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1074840711428451">replaying strained dynamics</a>.</p> <p>Family members who were carers for the deceased may feel exhaustion, overwhelm, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hec.1512?sid=vendor%3Adatabase">burnout</a> or a sense of injustice they must now continue to be responsible for their loved one’s affairs. Grief can be compounded by the practical challenges of deciding how to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/0148-2963(94)00054-I">store or discard belongings</a>, <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/30000385">arrange the funeral</a>, execute the will, deal with the aged care place or, in some cases, navigate legal disputes.</p> <p>But packing up the house may also be cathartic or helpful. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15267431.2021.1943399">Research</a> has shown how the task of cleaning out a loved one’s belongings can provide an opportunity for family and friends to talk, share memories, and make sense of what has just happened.</p> <p>It’s also normal to grieve before someone dies. What psychologists call “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29206700/">anticipatory</a> grief” can happen to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1615888/">relatives packing up the house</a> of a parent who has moved to aged care or palliative care.</p> <h2>What to do with all this stuff?</h2> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/0148-2963(94)00054-I">Some</a> treat their loved one’s items with sanctity, holding onto as many of their belongings as possible and creating “shrines” in their honour.</p> <p>Others alleviate the weight of grief by clearing out a loved one’s house as soon as possible, giving away, selling or discarding as much as they can.</p> <p>But if you experience a mix of these – enthusiastically getting rid of some stuff, while desperately wanting to hold onto other things – that’s OK too.</p> <p>One <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10253866.2017.1367677">study</a> identified a process punctuated by four key periods:</p> <ol> <li> <p>numbness and overwhelm at the task of packing the house</p> </li> <li> <p>yearning to maintain a link to the loved through their belongings</p> </li> <li> <p>working through grief, anger and guilt regarding the loved one and the task of managing their belongings, and</p> </li> <li> <p>healing and making sense of the relationship with the deceased and their belongings.</p> </li> </ol> <p>However, it is important to note everyone’s approach is different and there is no “right” way to do the clean out, or “right” way to feel.</p> <h2>Caring for your mental health during the clean out</h2> <p>To care for your mental health during these difficult times, you might try to:</p> <ul> <li> <p>make space for your feelings, whether it’s sadness, loss, resentment, anger, relief or all the above. There is no right or wrong way to feel. <a href="https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/jscp.2011.30.2.163">Accepting</a> your emotions is healthier than suppressing them</p> </li> <li> <p>share the load. <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2648.1999.01220.x">Research</a> has shown practical support from close friends and family can help a lot with grief. Accept help with packing, planning, dealing with removalists, selling or donating items and cleaning. Don’t be afraid to reduce your mental load by delegating tasks to friends, who are likely wondering how they can help</p> </li> <li> <p>take a systematic approach. Break tasks into their smallest component. For example, aim to clean out a drawer instead of an entire bedroom. This can help the mental and physical task feel more manageable</p> </li> <li> <p>reflect on what’s meaningful to you. Some belongings will have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/0148-2963(94)00054-I">meaning</a>, while others will not. What was valuable to the deceased may not be valuable to you. Things they probably saw as pretty worthless (a handwritten shopping list, an old sewing kit) may be very meaningful to you. Ask yourself whether retaining a small number of meaningful possessions would allow you to maintain a connection with your loved one, or if clearing out the space and discarding the items is what you need</p> </li> <li> <p>share your story. When you feel ready, share your “<a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15267431.2021.1943399">cleaning out the closet</a>” story with trusted friends and family. Storytelling allows the deceased to live on in memory. <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2648.1999.01220.x">Research</a> also suggests we cope better with bereavement when friends and relatives make time to hear our feelings</p> </li> <li> <p>remember that professional help is available. Just as a solicitor can help with legal disputes, a mental health professional can help you process your feelings.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The home of your loved one is not merely a place where they lived, but a space filled with meaning and stories.</p> <p>Packing up the house of a loved one can be incredibly daunting and challenging, but it can also be an important part of your grieving process.</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/223956/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/erika-penney-1416241">E<em>rika Penney</em></a><em>, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alice-norton-1516505">Alice Norton</a>, Lecturer in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/avalon-tissue-1515840">Avalon Tissue</a>, Associate Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, <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-to-look-after-your-mental-health-while-packing-up-mum-or-dads-home-223956">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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"There's no place like home": Marcia Hines and her amazing cat share sweet message

<p>Australian music icon and <em>Australian Idol</em> judge Marcia Hines recently took to social media to express her heartfelt gratitude to those who supported her during a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/marcia-hines-rushed-to-hospital" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recent medical incident</a>. The beloved singer and performer shared a touching message on Instagram, reflecting on the challenges she faced and the overwhelming support she received from healthcare professionals, family, friends and fans – but mostly from her amazing-looking cat, Sistah!</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/p/C5AeYisL9Pu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;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/p/C5AeYisL9Pu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Marcia Hines (@themarciahines)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The incident unfolded backstage at Sydney’s Coliseum Theatre just before last Sunday night’s <em>Australian Idol</em> finale. Hines, known for her vibrant presence and insightful critiques on the talent show, collapsed, prompting concerns among the show's crew and audience. As a result, she had to miss the episode, with fellow musician Guy Sebastian stepping in as a guest judge.</p> <p>Following her collapse, Hines was swiftly taken to the hospital, where she received treatment for head injuries, including stitches. Despite the setback, she was able to make a remarkable recovery <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/marcia-hines-returns-as-australian-idol-fans-cry-foul-over-upset-win" target="_blank" rel="noopener">in time to return</a> for the Grand Finale show on Monday night.</p> <p>In her Instagram post, Hines expressed profound gratitude for the exceptional care she received during her hospital stay, particularly praising Brad Ceely and the entire team at Blacktown Hospital.</p> <p>"There’s no place like home….." Hines wrote. "Especially when Sistah is here to greet me 🐾 What an action-packed week ❤️ I’ve experienced so much care and love, and none moreso than the exceptional treatment that Brad Ceely and his entire team at Blacktown Hospital gave me during my stay with them.</p> <p>"We are so fortunate to live in a country with such incredible healthcare, and the amazing facilities we have in our Western Sydney suburbs - wow! I’m so grateful to all of the hospital staff - from the tireless nurses to the wonderful administration staff. A special thanks to all of the staff at Mount Druitt Emergency Department, all of the Ambulance teams who got me safely to-and-from hospitals this weekend, and of course Dr Kit Rowe for stitching me up so nicely after my fall. Ouch lol 🤕Thank you for being you and keeping us all safe 🫶🏾</p> <p>"Thank you also to Kyle, Amy and all the team at @australianidol for your love, and also to my @greaseoztour family who I’ll be seeing soon. Thank you also to my family and friends - you’re always there when I need you most 💝"</p> <p>The response to Hines' message was overwhelmingly positive, with fans and well-wishers flooding the comments section with messages of support, encouragement and excitement for her upcoming projects. Many expressed relief at her recovery and eagerly anticipated her return to the stage, particularly in her role in <em>Grease the Musical</em>. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Vinegar and baking soda: a cleaning hack or just a bunch of fizz?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-kilah-599082">Nathan Kilah</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p>Vinegar and baking soda are staples in the kitchen. Many of us have combined them in childhood scientific experiments: think fizzy volcanoes and geysers.</p> <p>But people also frequently mix vinegar and baking soda to produce a reportedly effective household cleaner. Unfortunately, the chemistry behind the bubbly reaction doesn’t support the cleaning hype. The fizzy action is essentially <a href="https://theconversation.com/six-surprising-things-about-placebos-everyone-should-know-220829">a visual “placebo</a>”, formed by the combination of an acid and a base.</p> <p>So, how does it work, and is it worth using these chemicals for cleaning? To understand all this, it helps to know a little more about chemistry.</p> <h2>What’s an acid?</h2> <p>Foods with a sour taste typically contain acids. These include citric acid in lemon juice, malic acid in apples, lactic acid in yoghurt and <a href="https://theconversation.com/kitchen-science-everything-you-eat-is-made-of-chemicals-56583">phosphoric acids in soft drinks</a>. Most vinegars contain around 4–10% acetic acid, the rest is water and small amounts of flavour chemicals.</p> <p>There are other naturally occurring acids, such as formic acid in ant bites and hydrochloric acid in our stomachs. Industrially, sulfuric acid is used in mineral processing, nitric acid for <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-ammonium-nitrate-the-chemical-that-exploded-in-beirut-143979">fertiliser manufacturing</a> and the highly potent hydrofluoric acid is used to etch glass.</p> <p>All of these acids share similar properties. They can all release hydrogen ions (positively charged atoms) into water. Depending on their potency, acids can also dissolve minerals and metals through various chemical reactions.</p> <p>This is why vinegar is an excellent cleaner for showers or kettles – it can react with and dissolve mineral deposits like limescale.</p> <p>Other common acidic cleaning ingredients are oxalic acid, used for revitalising timber decks, hydrochloric acid in concrete and masonry cleaners, and sulfamic acid in potent toilet cleaners.</p> <h2>What’s a base?</h2> <p>In chemistry, bases – the opposite of acids in many ways – can bind, rather than release hydrogen ions. This can help lift and dissolve insoluble grime into water. Bases can also break apart fat molecules.</p> <p>Baking soda (also known as sodium hydrogen carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, or bicarb) is a relatively weak base. Stronger common bases include sodium carbonate (washing soda), sodium hydroxide (lye) and ammonia.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/spill-at-a-nuclear-facility-shows-potential-burn-risks-from-a-household-chemical-112763">Sodium hydroxide</a> is a potent drain cleaner – its strong base properties can dissolve fats and hair. This allows blockages to be broken down and easily flushed away.</p> <h2>Mixing a base and an acid</h2> <p>Mixing vinegar and baking soda causes an immediate chemical reaction. This reaction forms water, sodium acetate (a salt) and carbon dioxide – the fizzy part.</p> <p>The amount of carbon dioxide gas that is produced from baking soda is remarkable – one tablespoon (around 18 grams) can release over <a href="https://www.chemedx.org/JCESoft/jcesoftSubscriber/CCA/CCA8/MAIN/8/06/2/4/movie.html">five litres of gas</a>! But only if you add enough acid.</p> <p>Reactions in chemistry often use equal quantities of chemical reagents. A perfect balance of acetic acid and baking soda would give you just water, carbon dioxide and sodium acetate.</p> <p>But the majority of vinegar and bicarb cleaner recipes use a large excess of one or the other components. An example from TikTok for a DIY oven cleaner calls for one and a half cups of baking soda and one quarter cup of vinegar.</p> <p>Crunching the numbers behind the chemical reaction shows that after the fizz subsides, over 99% of the added baking soda remains. So the active cleaning agent here is actually the baking soda (and the “elbow grease” of scrubbing).</p> <p>Ovens can be cleaned much more rigorously with stronger, sodium hydroxide based cleaners (although these are also more caustic). Many modern ovens also have a self-cleaning feature, so read your product manual before reaching for a chemical cleaner of any sort.</p> <h2>What about the sodium acetate?</h2> <p>Devotees of vinegar and baking soda mixtures might be wondering if the product of the fizzy reaction, sodium acetate, is the undercover cleaning agent.</p> <p>Unfortunately, sodium acetate is an even weaker base than baking soda, so it doesn’t do much to clean the surface you’re trying to scrub.</p> <p>Sodium acetate is used in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vABpel-11Nc">crystallisation-based heating packs</a> and as a concrete sealant, but not typically as a cleaner.</p> <p>Fun fact: sodium acetate can be combined with acetic acid to make a crystalline <a href="https://theconversation.com/busting-the-myth-that-all-food-additives-are-bad-a-quick-guide-for-label-readers-82883">food additive</a> called sodium diacetate. These crystals give the vinegar flavour to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0hEutu_goY">salt and vinegar chips</a> without making them soggy.</p> <h2>Sorry to burst your bubbles</h2> <p>There are a few rare cases where mixing vinegar and baking soda may be useful for cleaning. This is where the bubbling has a mechanical effect, such as in a blocked drain.</p> <p>But in most cases you’ll want to use either vinegar or baking soda by itself, depending on what you’re trying to clean. It will be less <a href="https://theconversation.com/visually-striking-science-experiments-at-school-can-be-fun-inspiring-and-safe-banning-is-not-the-answer-195362">visually exciting</a>, but it should get the job done.</p> <p>Lastly, remember that mixing cleaning chemicals at home can be risky. Always carefully read the product label and directions before engaging in DIY concoctions. And, to be extra sure, you can find out more safety information by reading the product’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-new-tiktok-trend-has-people-drinking-toxic-borax-an-expert-explains-the-risks-and-how-to-read-product-labels-210278">safety data sheet</a>.<!-- 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/225177/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/nathan-kilah-599082"><em>Nathan Kilah</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</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/vinegar-and-baking-soda-a-cleaning-hack-or-just-a-bunch-of-fizz-225177">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Home & Away star gives birth to third son at 47

<p>Melissa George has welcomed her third son! </p> <p>The former <em>Home & Away</em> actress, 47, announced the news on Instagram, with a sweet black and white photo of her baby boy's feet. </p> <p>"Welcome to the world my little man. Love knows no end. A mother of 3 sons. Cannot believe it. My heart is so full," George captioned her post.</p> <p>Fans were quick to congratulate the actress in the comments. </p> <p>"How beautiful - congratulations and sending love 🤍" wrote one fan. </p> <p>"I am so thrilled for you my love, sending all of my love to you and your three magnificent boys," added another. </p> <p>"Congratulations Melissa!!! Sending you all so much love!" wrote a fourth. </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/p/C4tNiLjq6PC/?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/p/C4tNiLjq6PC/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Melissa George (@melissageorgeofficial)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>News of the star's birth comes just weeks after she <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/inside-home-and-away-star-s-joyous-baby-shower" target="_blank" rel="noopener">confirmed her pregnancy </a>with a series of photos from her lavish baby shower in France, after she sparked pregnancy rumours earlier this year. </p> <p>In one of the photos shared at the time, George showed off her growing baby bump in a white shirt and cardigan, making silly faces as she posed with heart-shaped cookies with "Melissa's baby boy" written with frosting. </p> <p>She had a bunch of blue and white balloons set up, with friends sharing photos from the event with the caption: "Celebrating this beautiful lady... what a magical afternoon." </p> <p>George shares sons, Raphaël, nine, and Solal, seven, with her French ex-partner Jean-David Blanc.</p> <p>She has previously reflected on motherhood in an interview with <em>The Sydney Morning Herald</em>. </p> <p>"Having children, for me, will go down in my life as the greatest, most victorious, thing I've ever done," she said at the time. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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How 8-year-old Ruby McLellan became Australia's youngest home owner

<p>Move over, monopoly tycoons and pretend princes of pretend kingdoms – meet Ruby McLellan, the pint-sized powerhouse who's rewriting the rules of real estate and giving the term "property ladder" a literal twist.</p> <p>That's right: Ruby is just eight years old and already owns a four-bedroom house. Meanwhile, most of us can barely find matching socks in the morning.</p> <p>Now, before you start picturing a tiny landlord with a playhouse adorned with "No Girls Allowed" signs, let's delve into Ruby's remarkable tale of fiscal responsibility and pocket money prowess.</p> <p>While most kids her age were still trying to figure out if they preferred chocolate or strawberry milk, Ruby was busy checking out property market trends and crunching numbers like a seasoned Wall Street mogul. With the help of her siblings, Angus (14) and Lucy (13), Ruby pooled their collective pocket money - a grand total of $6000 - to secure a deposit for their first property. Their weapon of choice? Not lemonade stands or tooth fairy funds, but good old-fashioned hard work and frugality. The result? A four-bedroom home in Clyde, southeast of Melbourne, bought by the McLellan kids for $671,000.</p> <p>Their dad, Cam McLellan, CEO of a property investment company, guided them through the labyrinth of real estate jargon, teaching them about positive gearing and growth corridors. While other kids were learning their times tables, Ruby was calculating potential rental yields. Talk about a head start in life!</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">And while their friends were blowing their allowances on the latest toys and gadgets, these pint-sized property moguls were saying no to impulse buys and yes to long-term investments. It's like they were born with calculators instead of rattles.</span></p> <p>Now, you might be wondering, what's next for these mini-magnates? Well, they plan to hold onto their property until Lucy and Angus hit their early 20s, ensuring they've waited through one full "growth property cycle". After that, it's off to the races, with hopes that their humble abode will fetch a cool million bucks.</p> <p>But Ruby's not stopping there. She's already asking about tax implications and property sales, proving that she's got the brains to match her business acumen. Who needs a lemonade stand when you can have a diversified investment portfolio?</p> <p>So, while most kids are busy mastering Fortnite dances or perfecting their TikTok routines, Ruby McLellan is out here making moves in the property market. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll all be renting from her property empire.</p> <p>But just remember, when you're paying rent to an eight-year-old landlord, be sure to pay on time. Late fees might include extra homework assignments or a mandatory bedtime story session. Hey, it's all in the lease agreement...</p> <p><em>Image: The Today Show</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Home and Away star calls for more diversity

<p><em>Home and Away </em>star Ray Meagher has spoken out about the iconic soap changing direction from its original premise and how he wants better LGBTQ+ representation on the show. </p> <p>Meagher, who has played Alf Stewart on the show since 1988 and is signed on until at least 2027, shared his thoughts on the show's creative direction. </p> <p>The soap, which has explored every possible plot line with cults, abductions, car and motorcycle accidents, health scares, and more, started to go on a different journey following the introduction of the River boys in 2011, with the storyline now focusing more on crimes. </p> <p>Meagher criticised network execs for letting the soap stray from its premise of a seaside community and its original Fletcher family taking in foster children.</p> <p>“There is still penchant for a River Boy,”  he said in an interview with <em>TV Tonight</em>. </p> <p>“I mean, that was just a great period. But was it Summer Bay? Hmmm…. in my humble opinion, not to that extent,” Meagher added. </p> <p>He also said that there was nothing wrong with the storylines or the focus on "sex, drugs and rock and roll" but believes that the change of pace "came in too big of a dose," and made the show completely different from its original plot. </p> <p>Meagher also said that it's about time the show had better LGBTQ+ representation, after the show was previously criticised for lack of sustained LGBTQIA+ characters</p> <p>“It’d be nice to have a nice gay character come into the Bay. That would be good,” he said.</p> <p>“However, how many of them do we have in Summer Bay? There would definitely be a percentage, whether they’re above the ground or underground still in a town like the Bay."</p> <p>“The one thing that I have a bit of a problem with is sometimes when you realise there’s a representative hole when people tend to think, ‘Oh, jeez, we’ve ignored that area,’ and then there’s a wash of it. And you think ‘No community looks like that," he added.</p> <p><em>Image: Seven</em></p>

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