Understanding anxiety and personal resilience during COVID-19

agedcare anxiety blog Aug 19, 2021

COVID times have been challenging for all of us and particularly for the elderly and those them. We may experience strong emotional and physical reactions to the current outbreak such as anger, sorrow, confusion or even fear.

Watching the news, hearing government and health updates on the endless changes to restrictions and advice can make the process more difficult and stressful. You may feel overwhelmed through the entire process and experience a range of emotions. That is common.  

It is important to acknowledge these emotions as they may feel sudden and intense. 

What is going on?

When our bodies perceive a threat, we enter a state of ‘fight or flight’, which is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening. During this state we operate in automatic process, our thoughts can be racing, we may feel dizzy or lightheaded, our breathing can become faster and our heart beats faster. We may feel...

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10 Lessons from the Last Decade: What I Wish I Knew When I Started Wise Care

agedcare ageing blog Aug 18, 2021

It feels like yesterday, but in fact it was a decade ago that I started Wise Care. I was about to turn 30 when I quit a full-time management role to follow my passion in improving mental wellbeing of the elderly. Establishing a health service was a major assessment task for my Masters’ degree, MBA Health Service Management and Corporate Governance, and I invented a care model for frail elderly Australians to access psychological support through home visits. I did well in the assignment and the feedback from my lecturer motivated me to turn the assignment into reality. This is the back story of how Wise Care was established and today I am one of Australia’s most experienced aged care psychology consultants, a published author, multi-award winner and sought-after presenter. 

‘I thought I had it all figured out – but in fact, looking back I took a huge risk.’

I left the financial security of a stable job, with no clear pathway to securing work and not...

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How to Recognise Depression in Older People?

Have you ever wondered how depression in older people is diagnosed?

 Is it diagnosis the same as for younger people? Or, how is it different?

Are most older people depressed and is it a normal part of ageing?

Is everyone who sells their property and moves into a nursing home depressed?


Over the years I have delivered extensive training on recognising mental health symptoms in the elderly, particularly those who live in aged care facilities. I wanted to tap into this topic a bit more, as depression with the elderly can often be overlooked and masked by their other health conditions. Further, knowing that someone is depressed does not fix the problem – we need to implement strategies to help them with their emotions and offer the right type of support. In this article I will offer further background on depression in old age and offer some practical strategies to addressing it.


Depression is the most common mental health condition in late life. Older adults...

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Accessing Psychological Services in Nursing Homes

Hello Julie, I am a psychologist and I want to know how to work in a nursing home

Hi Julie, how do we get a psychologist to visit our facility? 

Hi Julie, my mum is in a nursing home and I need a psychologist to see her. She is so depressed. 


If I got a dollar for every time I was asked how to get a psychologist to visit an aged care facility I would be a rich woman! 


Although it is so pleasing to hear awareness about mental health in older people it is so disheartening having to answer that there is limited funding to mental health services for older people in nursing homes. Why is that? 


Few issues come up

1. Older Australians in aged care are not entitled to Better Access to Mental Health, a scheme through Medicare which allows substantial rebates for accessing mental health treatment. This is something I have strongly advocated for over the last eight years and there has been no change in government ruling. There are other ways to obtain...

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Disentangling Stress in Aged Care


When you tell someone that you work in aged care the common response is “that must be so tough” or “good on you, it is not easy”. But, what exactly makes it “tough” or “not easy”? Dealing with clients, families or colleagues? Or, is it the combination of all those individuals and their unique personalities? Where do the problems stem and why do certain situations become stressful? Is it due to different personalities, varying skill set or the lack of information?   

Stress is common and unpredictable. We can all find ourselves unexpectedly in a stressful situation at work. One minute everything is fine and the next BAM. But how we deal with the situation can determine the outcome. There are two possible outcomes. First, the stress can accumulate over a period of time and increase the risk of developing burnout, or even anxiety or depression. Second, with the right support and training we can learn how to deal with...

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