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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Spring 2019

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MEMBER & CLIENT SERVICES

MEMBER & CLIENT SERVICES NICOLA WASHINGTON GENERAL MANAGER MEMBER & CLIENT SERVICES Welcome to the spring edition of our Member magazine, Bulletin. So here we are, it is now spring and we are already starting to plan for Christmas! I am sure we will soon begin to see Christmas decorations on sale in the shops, just to keep reminding us. As we move into the final roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) across WA, we are finding the wait times for plans to be approved is still the main concern, so we welcomed the announcement by the NDIS Minister Stuart Robert. The Minister has appointed former Finance Department Secretary David Tune, to conduct a review of NDIS legislation and rules, which in turn will inform the development of the Morrison Government’s promised NDIS ‘Participant Service Guarantee’ to be introduced by mid- 2020. The laws and rules guiding the NDIS will be reviewed to reduce the wait times for participants. This is good news and we hope we will start to see an improvement going forward; however, we understand there are many people who are still waiting to receive their plan. Our customer relationship coordinators will continue to keep you informed on the progress through the planning, but if you have any concerns or queries, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team at ndisenquiries@mswa.org.au. Andrea Taylor, Senior Manager Admin, IT & Property, and I visited our Busselton Services Centre at the end of July, where we had a wonderful morning tea with our Members and Clients. Thank you all for the wonderful welcome. It was great to catch up with you, hear your feedback and answer some of your questions. Thank you to the team for putting on the amazing spread – it was fabulous. I attended my first MSWA Annual Dinner Auction in August. It was a fantastic night and a great success. It was wonderful to see so many people supporting MSWA and donating so generously to help people living with neurological conditions; you can read more about the night on page 26. Once again, we have had a very successful year and continue to increase the hours of service delivered to our customers. Our dedicated team is working hard to ensure you receive all the support and services you require to meet your goals, whether that be clinical services or in-home support. So, talking about Christmas! The Members’ Christmas party will be held on Thursday, 5 December so please save the date in your calendar and be ready to enjoy another funfilled day of celebrations. Your feedback is important to enable us to continuously improve our services, so if you would like to provide any feedback please email enquiries@mswa.org.au. 6

RESEARCH LIFESPAN PERSPECTIVE ON MENTAL HEALTH BY OLDER ADULTS WITH MS – A WA STUDY ASTRID PLUMB-PARLEVLIET MASTERS OF PSYCHOLOGY STUDENT, EDITH COWAN UNIVERSITY Older adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) have been found to have a reduced prevalence and likelihood of depression. This is perplexing, due to the association between physical health and mental health and greater physical impairment for older adults with MS. Furthermore, older adults with MS were reported to have higher feelings of helplessness than younger people with MS, including many concerns regarding their future, as they fear mobility losses, becoming a burden on family members and friends, and requiring care in a nursing home. Therefore, it was suggested that older adults with MS most likely undergo a psychological adaption process. This study looked at the experiences of older adults with MS, who have the benefit and ability of reflection, with a particular focus on their lifespan perspective on mental health and their observations of others with MS. Twelve older adults participated in this qualitative study. During this study four major themes were uncovered, telling the overall story of the lived experiences of older adults with MS and their lifespan perspective on mental health. The findings showed that people with MS adjust to living with the illness over time. The findings showed that people with MS adjust to living with the illness over time. Whilst getting diagnosed with MS was occasionally difficult and time consuming, it was considered to be a shock. The diagnosis was also met with relief, as puzzling symptoms could be explained and addressed. At first, there was a period of denial, yet eventually after acceptance of MS, a ‘get-on-with-it’ approach was adopted. Social comparison had both a negative and a positive influence on the psychological wellbeing of the older adults with MS. They avoided negative downward social comparison by not going to places where they would meet people with more severe cases of MS, yet engaged positive horizontal and downward social comparison by thinking of people who were more severely affected by MS or similar age peers considered to be worse-off. Older adults with MS contributed the differences in depression prevalence and likelihood with younger generations to the presence of more responsibilities and less life experience for younger generations. Barriers to seeking mental health support were indicated to be a lack of awareness of mental health issues and support, and the fear of being a burden on their support system and formal support providers, like psychologists. I would like to thank all the older adults who participated in this study. I am honoured that you were willing to share your experiences with me. Thank you for your time. It was incredible to hear your stories. Your experiences encouraged me. I would also like to thank Sue Shapland from MSWA. Thank you for assisting me with participant recruitment. Without your support I would not have been able to conduct this study. People with MS in Western Australia are fortunate to have you on their side. This study was undertaken as a requirement for a Master of Psychology at Edith Cowan University. 7

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