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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Seniors can get a kick out of social media

Latest News

Shenhua gone and Breeza breathes again

In a much-hoped-for move, the NSW Government and the China Shenhua Energy Company Limited have reached a $100 million agreement in which Shenhua will withdraw its mining lease application and surrender its development consent for the Shenhua Watermark Coal project at Breeza on the Liverpool Plains.

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An action-packed program has been planned for the 2021 Byron Shire Seniors Festival with drumming, dancing, walking, yoga and laughing on the program.

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Cr Keith Williams calls for consultation on South Ballina Beach access

At today's Ballina Council meeting, Cr Keith Williams is going to urge council to write to the NSW Minister for Crown Lands about South Ballina beach, which has recently been closed to public 4WD access.

A coast in need of management

It appears that the long-suffering management of perhaps the region’s most precious resource and attraction, Byron Shire’s beaches and estuaries, are not a high priority for Sydney-based bureaucrats and the Liberal-Nationals government.

It might seem frivolous, but at 89, taking a coffee photo on her smartphone with the hashtag #YumYum, is a way for Carmel to have fun and keep in touch with her grand children on social media. Photo Tree Faerie.

As COVID-19 continues to cause physical and psychological distress for many Australians, a CQUniversity researcher said there could be a silver lining in the crisis as many of the nation’s seniors are forced to learn how to socially connect over the Internet.

Adjunct Professorial Research Fellow Dr Lynne Parkinson said social isolation is not a new problem for many older Australians although the current situation may escalate the challenges they face.

She said the need to use technology to connect with family and friends during this period will become vital and a welcome new skill for many – and they are up for the challenge.

‘Older people are just as competent with technology as younger people when that technology is introduced in a patient and staged way,’ says Dr Parkinson.

‘For example, starting with smartphone call capability, then looking at apps, voice only, then onto video.

‘Our research has shown that older people can not only learn new technologies, but they can enjoy them and generalise their use to other parts of their life and interests.

‘There is a great opportunity now for older people to not just connect with family and friends, but to find like-minded people all over the world who share their hobbies and interests, to get fully connected to the outside world.’

Necessary change for our elders

Dr Parkinson believes this crisis is fast-tracking a necessary change for this demographic.

The perception that older people cannot understand or use technology is more about ageism than reality, according to Dr Parkinson.

‘According to Deloitte’s, 91 per cent of people aged 55 or over own a smartphone, and we know from our work with people over the age of 75, they can also get their heads around videoconferencing and find it a very useful tool for social connection.

‘In our experience, the main barriers to using these types of more innovative technologies are fear of getting it wrong and lack of Internet access. 

‘A staged approach to introducing apps like Zoom, Skype, and Facebook Messenger seems to work best.’

She said if older people are supported to develop confidence in the use of these tools, they will be quick to adopt the technologies.

‘Where there is strong motivation, such as wanting to attend online religious services, older people would feel more encouraged to try, but may need support to achieve connection.’

A bigger barrier for some older Australians, which is more difficult to overcome, is the lack of Internet access in some areas.  

‘Rural areas especially still lag behind in access to stable Internet access and a remedy for this is urgent.

‘Free Internet for people over 65 would be excellent.’

Dr Lynne Parkinson is an Adjunct Professorial Research Fellow undertaking gerontology research at Central Queensland University, with a special interest in reducing social isolation for vulnerable groups, including older carers.


Recent stories, information and updates regarding COVID-19

Vehicle sanitisation stations roll out

Enhanced safety measures for point to point transport such as taxis, hire and rideshare vehicles are being rolled out in Byron Bay, Ballina and Lismore with the opening of three free temporary vehicle sanitisation stations.

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Dili facing double disaster

The capital of East Timor, Dili, is reeling after flood waters swept through the city on the weekend, leaving at least 27 dead. The President of East Timor, Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, described the floods as a 'great calamity'.

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Northern Rivers COVID restrictions lifting at midnight

NSW Health has confirmed that COVID-related restrictions for the Northern Rivers will be lifted at midnight tonight (Monday 5 April).

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COVID testing encouraged in the NNSWLHD

On Easter Sunday afternoon the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) has thanked the community for coming forward in large numbers for COVID-19 testing, with more than 10,000 tests conducted in the region in the past week.

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Face masks for Ballina and Byron businesses

As masks become harder to find across the Northern Rivers following the latest COVID-19 health alert, NSW Health has provided masks for business operators in Ballina and Byron Shires.

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UPDATE: Thousands of COVID tests conducted across northern rivers

The Byron Shire community and visitors have come forward in large numbers for testing following the alert of two COVID positive visitors coming to Byron Bay last weekend.

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Two new COVID testing clinics for Byron

If you are not feeling well or have flu lime symptoms, even if they are mild, the Northern NSW Local Health District is asking that you get tested following two positive COVID cases that travelled to Byron Bay last weekend.

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COVID: infectious sisters visit Byron Bay

As Brisbane prepares to go into another three-day lockdown Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says it is a necessary measure to stop the UK variant of COVID which is highly infectious.

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