Simmering summer — balance your festive feasting with some outdoor pursuits!
I suspect this may find you getting your home renovated for a Christmas family get together, planning a trip to your favourite camp site or thinking about a nice quiet festive day.
Here are some non-Christmas related activities (bah humbug!) just to remind you that there are lots of things you can do all through summer and you never have to suffer from post-Christmas blues. I wish all of you are happy and safe season, whatever you get up to.

Council on the Ageing (COTA) NSW resources

In the spring issue of Sydney Hills Living we mentioned a My Aged Care initiative, Consumer Directed Care (CDC), which allows the elderly more control over the services they need to maintain independence in their own home.
Council of the Ageing (COTA) NSW has developed an educational program called “Controlling my own life: making the most of Consumer Directed Care”, which explains and guides you through the packages and the changes to homecare — an invaluable resource for you or your family if you want to know more about CDC.
COTA NSW is also partnering with Legal Aid NSW to provide assistance to people who may need advice about wills, enduring powers of attorney and guardianship. COTA NSW is based in the city, and solicitors visit their offices once a month and offer half-hour consultations at no charge. If you do end up needing a legal document the charge is $50, which acts as a donation back to COTA NSW.
If you are currently dealing with a legal issue and don’t know which way to turn, a free 30-minute consultation may put your mind at rest and save you a lot of time and money. Contact COTA NSW on 9286 3860 for more information or to make an appointment.

Travel concessions and Opal cards

Seniors and pensioners will need a Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card to get the pensioner excursion rate of $2.50 per day. The card allows travel on all Sydney trains, buses in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter and Illawarra, light rail, and Sydney Ferries and the Stockton Ferry
in Newcastle.
Application is easy and you only have to apply for the card once and then top it up as the credit is used. Call 13 67 25 (13 OPAL) or apply online. You might want to apply now so you don’t get caught out paying extra fares in January when you are having a day out.
Over 55's and brain power
Young entrepreneurs make way, because Australian seniors are an entrepreneurial bunch! A new Swinburne University of Technology and Queensland University of Technology study of Australian “seniorpreneurs” shows about one-third of all new companies in Australia are led by seniors, and that figure could grow if more targeted supports were put in place.
About 590,000 start-up business owners in Australia are over 50, and seniors are the fastest growing entrepreneurial group. (
The Senior Online, September 2015.)

Free guided walks, the Hills and Sydney

Give your brain a rest and treat yourself to some downtime. If you a Hills Shire resident you can explore this magnificent area for free. Bookings, Boronia Tours, 9634 3163, Mobile: 0407 456 577, Email: jennifer@boroniatours.com.
Bookings are essential as numbers are limited. If you are heading into the city for a change of scene you can take advantage of free walking tours there as well (free for any age group). I’m Free Tours employ friendly and knowledgeable guides who give you great insights into spectacular Sydney. No bookings required, tours leave daily at 10:30am and 2:30pm from Town Hall Square and last around two-and-a-half to three hours. Just turn up and look for your guide who will be wearing a bright green t-shirt — and don’t forget your comfiest shoes and a hat.

New memorial in Newcastle

If you happen to be travelling up to the north coast over the break, why not stop off in Newcastle this time instead of bypassing it? Have lunch and stretch your legs and visit the city’s latest impressive clifftop memorial, Newcastle’s Anzac Memorial Walk.
This spectacular engineering feat was completed for this year’s Anzac celebrations. The cost of the memorial was $4.5 million, with BHP Billiton committing $3 million and Newcastle Council $1.5 million.
The walk features a clifftop bridge with steel silhouettes of soldiers inscribed with around 4,000 family names of nearly 11,000 known men and women from the Hunter Valley area who enlisted during World War I.
The walk is open in the evening and the night view of the coastline is magnificent. There is some wheelchair access but not for the whole walk.
For details of parking and wheelchair access points, www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/about_newcastle/newcastle_memorial_walk. ☐