Monday, April 06, 2020

e-newsletter April 2020

e-newsletter April 2020

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ― Dalai Lama

How are you? These last few weeks have been a tremoundous time of upheaval as we deal with COVID-19 and move into lock down. Very unsettling time for all. I hope you are keeping safe and well.

Our Prime Minister reminds us daily to be kind, stay home and wash our hands. All three are parmount. I want to focus on kindness. Now more than ever we need to look after our wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us. We need kindness to get through this stressful time. I have been fortunate to have received so much kindness, and to witness kindness being spread through communities throughout our beautiful city. It’s a wonderful reminder that people are indeed good.

While physical contact is limited to contain the spread of COVID-19, there are still lots of ways we can connect. Thank goodness for technology to allow us to keep connected. Our very popular support groups, hydro classes, exercise class and workshops are all on hold during the shut down period, as are home visits by our Community Advisors. We are still all working though and are still contactable by phone or e-mail.

This newsletter has links with some of the other services that you may need to reach out to and outlines some of the new things we are exploring over the next few weeks or months to continue to provide you with connection, information, support and kindness.

In this issue:

1. Connecting with zoom
2. Exercise options
3. Keeping our minds healthy
4. From the MS Nurses
5. Food
6. Work and Income
7. MS Auckland AGM
8. World MS Day


1. Connecting with Zoom

The MS Auckland team is using Zoom to connect with each other every morning. Zoom technology is taking off with so many people using it now to keep connected with family, friends and colleagues.

MS Auckland will be looking at moving their support groups to Zoom. All you need is a mobile phone, computer, laptop, or iPad to connect. The rest is simple. Group members will be given an invite to join the support group meeting. When the time comes you simple press‘join’, making sure your audio and visual connections are turned on, and you will be able to see and talk to your friends that you normally see each month.

You don’t need a Community Advisor to set this up. If you are already all connected by e-mail, then you may want to ask your group members if they would like to be part of a zoom support group. You can then also invite your Community Advisor or other people in.

Here is the link to sign up to zoom. If you need help just send us an e-mail at info@msakl.org.nz and we can help you through it.https://zoom.us/signup

2. Exercise options

Keeping up with exercise is as important as ever while we are on lockdown. There are so many great options for accessing free or affordable home exercise instruction. Here are a few that we know of.If you come across other good ones please send them through and we’ll share them with our community.


  • Gilly Davy, who was looking forward to running a Hydro class for us on the North Shore sent me this video for all people in NZ living with MS. https://www.ms-ghs.com/news/what-to-do-during-covid-19-isolation/ (We will hopefully be able to start the Hydro class as soon as the lock down is lifted and the pools are open again).
  • My Active Attitude – these videos were sent to us by one of our Hydro class participants with the following information -I received these 2 videos from the Selwyn Heights Gym that I had been going to. I thought other clients might be interested in. They are the sort of exercises we've been doing at hydrotherapy.” The videos are short and are led by an exercise physiologist named Richelle. https://youtu.be/nvmug4tZCRUand https://youtu.be/-ImGYvCy16A
  • Qigong – This is an ancient Chinese exercise and healing technique that involves easy movement with meditation and controlled breathing. It is similar to Tai Chi. These YouTube videos provide a variety of easy Qigong practices to try - https://www.qigongforvitality.com/blog/

3. Keeping our Minds Healthy

All the stress and uncertainty can play havoc on our mind and mood. Check out these websites if you are struggling with your mental health: www.depression.org.nz and https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/covid-19/

Practising mindfulness is also a powerful tool in keeping calm and collected during this crazy time. This website is worth exploring - https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/mindfully/finding-calm-in-the-midst-of-coronavirus/12071728

Laughter can sometimes be the best medicine. Check out this link from the International Comedy Festival -



4. From the MS Nurses

If you are an essential worker but are taking an MS medication (Tysabri, Gilenya, Tecfidera, Ocrevus or beta-interferon ) please contact the MS nurses 021 1959 719 or (09) 307 4949 extn 25885 or msnurse@adhb.govt.nz as your neurologist would advise you to work from home and not attend work.

PwMS should get the flu jab if its available to you via your GP.

If people have blood tests needing to be done that cannot wait until after lockdown here is the list of Labtests open over the lockdown.

If you are feeling unwell, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice and information. The diagram below will help you to understand if your symptoms are COVID-19, flu, or a cold.


5. Food

New Government Food Distribution programme - As of 1 April, if you live in Auckland and are unable to afford groceries or are in self-isolation with no access to other support networks, you can phone Auckland Emergency Management on 0800 22 22 96 between 7 am and 7 pm, every day. Click here for more details.

Online shopping – Did you know that anyone on MS DMD’s (drug therapies) can email Countdown and mention they are immunosuppressed and qualify for home delivery of groceries.

Student Volunteer Army delivering groceries nationwide for those who can’t get to the supermarket – check out this COVID inspired initiative here https://sva.org.nz/



6. Work and Income

Work and Income have updated information on COVID-19 Employer Wage Subsidy and COVID-19 Help. You can find out about it here - www.workandincome.govt.nz.

We encourage people to open up their own MyMSD online account for a clear picture of individual financial entitlements. Information on this is available in the link or contact one of our Community Advisors if you would like some assistance.


7. MS Auckland AGM

We have now had advice from our lawyer that the AGM cannot go ahead as planned this month. This is despite a requirement in our Rules that we hold one within 120 days of the end of our financial year. The view from our lawyer is holding any meeting within the lockdown period would be unlawful.

The Board has agreed to postpone the AGM until meetings can once again be safely held. We will give all our members 14 days notice of the new date. In the meantime the current Board members will remain in place and the Board will continue to meet electronically.


8. World MS Day

Saturday the 30th of May is World MS Day. The theme they have chosen for the next few years is MS Connections – so very appropriate during this pandemic!

I would love to hear your story on the things you do to keep connected during lockdown. If you would like to share tips and stories with the community please send them to me at Ingrid@msakl.org.nz.

Have a lovely, peaceful Easter.

With love, light and blessings

Ingrid Minett
General Manager