Christmas arrived a little early for elderly residents living at Braemar Presbyterian Care’s Cooinda home in Willagee last week, as volunteers at the not-for-profit facility took time to spread some festive cheer.

One group of well-wishers included long-term volunteers Deirdre Nicholson, Sharon Ockwell, Alida McCormick and Diann Smith who coordinated and donated Christmas gifts for the residents, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s.

“When we handed our gifts to the residents, their faces lit up and they were just so delighted,” says Deirdre Nicholson, who together with her fellow volunteers has been organising the Christmas gifts throughout the year.

“It’s wonderful to just give to see the pleasure on their faces, and with no expectation of receiving anything in return; to us that’s what’s really important at this time of year.”

Other donated gifts passed on to Braemar residents this year include beautifully hand-crafted blankets and painted murals, while some members of the community kindly donate their time, helping with a range of activities from cooking BBQ’s to playing piano to helping with resident outings.

Braemar Presbyterian Care Chief Executive, Wayne Belcher (OAM), says residents consistently benefit from the kindness of volunteers, especially at Christmas time.

“Some of our residents may not have the opportunity to spend the festive season with family or friends, so we’re really grateful to our wonderful community of volunteers who take the time to bring them some early festive cheer,” says Mr Belcher.

“We are so fortunate to have many dozens of active volunteers who contribute to the lives of our residents throughout the year, whether that is via organising activities, knitting blankets or simply spending time with residents to reduce loneliness,” he said.

“Bringing happiness to others at this special time is the real spirit of Christmas, although Braemar is fortunate that we have volunteers helping to light up the lives of our residents throughout the year.”

Since 1952, Braemar Presbyterian Care has been offering care and friendship to the elderly in Perth, Western Australia. Braemar currently operates three residential care facilities, providing care and support to over 200 people. Braemar’s care philosophy is one of Relationship Centred Care, which supports the relationships that exist and develop between staff, volunteers, residents and their families.


Residents meet residents at Braemar House.Braemar House in East Fremantle has a specialist care service (called Lee House) for residents with high level dementia care needs. A team of residents and staff at Lee House have recently undertaken a project aimed at building stronger relationships throughout the facility.

The project is called the Lee House Family Tree, and saw residents put up photos with a brief story about who they are, to share with fellow residents from Braemar House. This was a timely opportunity to introduce Lee House residents to the broader community and build inclusiveness regardless of each person’s condition.

As part of the same initiative, residents from the rest of Braemar House were encouraged to choose a pen pal from the Lee House Family Tree -  a resident whom they can write letters to.

The residents can write to their ‘new friends’ and establish informal meet and greet sessions, such as morning tea, where they will be able to mingle and interact with their new pen-friends.

Wayne Belcher (OAM), Chief Executive Officer of Braemar, said these projects aim to encourage inclusion and are the result of resident feedback.

“We want to help create bonds and relationships between those in the more secure part of the facility and those who are not affected by dementia; resulting in a better environment for everyone and reducing the stigma associated with dementia,” Mr Belcher said.

All our residents are valued people and this is a step towards acknowledging that.

“Our focus at Braemar is to provide relationship centred care. This philosophy ensures that resident’s needs and wants are at the forefront of each activity undertaken across our facilities.

“When residents said they wanted to better understand and interact with their neighbours at Braemar House, our team worked closely with the residents to establish an engaging program to facilitate this request.”

Mr Belcher said awareness of dementia, and a move to reduce the stigma often associated with dementia is very important for aged care providers.

“It is something we must focus on each day of the year. I am grateful that last month, the national spotlight was focused on dementia, allowing for a better understanding that people with dementia are valuable members of our community, but for aged care providers such as Braemar, this focus continues each and every day.”



New Braemar WebsiteOne of WA’s longest established aged care providers, Braemar, has launched a new client-centric website designed to translate their relationship-centered care approach to the digital world.

The new website, located at has been launched via social media across twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube @braemarcare.

Braemar Chief Executive Officer Wayne Belcher said the website features a fully responsive design, allowing it to be used on devices that have a high uptake with older people, such as tablet deceives.

“The site relies on video and imagery to tell the story and this is important for sharing the Braemar experience.  It is easy for the elderly to access, and includes large buttons for touch-screen use and is mobile friendly so it can be read by smart devices such as SIRI and integrates social media,” Mr Belcher said.

The new website includes a Glossary of aged care terms to help the public understand aged care acronyms that are often very confusing, and is based on best practice design traits and tailored to the needs and browsing habits of the over 55’s.

Mr Belcher said “Braemar has a solid reputation of supporting residents to make their own life choices through a philosophy of relationship centered care.

“This decision-making process starts with the discovery of information about Braemar. Because of this, it was important for us to ensure that our online experience met the needs and wants of our current and future residents. By listening to customer feedback and adding in simple features such as a responsive design and a text-resize tool, we can ensure that our caring approach is evident from the beginning of the Braemar experience.”

Of the insight into the website design, Braemar Brand and Marketing Consultant Chris Frame said, “As part of Braemar’s ongoing commitment to relationship centered care, we wanted to create an online environment that reflected the physical Braemar experience.

“In aged care, you often hear the saying “the elderly don’t use technology,” but in our experience, this just isn’t the case.  At Braemar’s facilities we see a desire for digital every day.

“To meet these needs our team offer one on one and group lessons for iPad and tablets as well as computer classes as part of resident enrichment. Our new website was designed with this changing need in mind and aims to bring Braemar to the forefront of aged care digital design.”



Braemar StaffBraemar Presbyterian Care celebrates the cultural diversity of residents living at each of its three Aged Care facilities on a daily basis.

This celebration was front and centre of the Braemar Cooinda events calendar in the past month; with a series of international events and activities hosted at the Willagee facility.
Celebrations included an international gathering, which saw residents and staff embrace the various nationalities present within the facility.

Staff wore national garments, representing various countries, including traditional dress from the Philippines, Korea, China and India, while Q&A and quiz sessions were conducted with residents to educate them on various national cultures.

The 108 bed facility also hosted an ‘Around the World’ theme day with a Dutch Choir performing for residents. Dutch food as well as meals from various international countries were served thanks to Braemar’s food services provider, Cater Care.

Braemar CEO Wayne Belcher said that recognition of cultural and linguistic diversity played a key role in resident wellbeing.

“It’s well known that as people age, memories from their country of birth can get stronger and more important to them. Some residents, such as those with dementia, will find talking in their first language easier than English, while others will want to reminisce and recall their youth,” Mr. Belcher commented.

“As part of our relationship centred approach, we take these needs very seriously. While cultural and linguistic diversity is an important part of everyday life at Braemar, I am proud of the team at Cooinda for including these special events into the facility’s calendar, as it brings the residents together as a group and allows them to share in an enriching and educational activity that gives back to both the individual and the group as a whole.”

Other events recently hosted at Braemar Cooinda include NAIDOC week celebration, a Chinese day and a meals and food education day.


From left to right:
· Nicola Proud (Lifestyle Coordinator) – Philippines
· Pil Ja Han (Volunteer) – Korea
· Mary Bacla-an (Lifestyle Coordinator) – China
· Simi George (Therapy Assistant) – India


Music is good for the brain.They say music is good for the soul, but it is also proving good for the Brain. Already well documented by various studies, music has been proven to assist with memory, cognition and wellbeing of elderly residents across a range of conditions including dementia. With this in mind, Braemar Village in Willagee has been undertaking a series of music workshops that are showing real results for those in Braemar’s care, helping unlock memories and improve communication.

The workshops see a mixture of residents, with different levels of cognitive conditions, unlocking their musical talents in a safe and inviting environment. Established by Braemar Activities Co-ordinator Chris Thomas, the workshops have proven to be a simple yet effective way to help residents live a full and engaged life.

“This type of music workshop is showing good results, and it seems to be working across a wide range of residents with varying conditions. I’ve been able to set this up quickly and in an affordable manner using my phone and a Bluetooth speaker,” comments Thomas.

“Residents have been guessing their favourite songs, helping unlock memories and improve memory retention. I do not have a singing voice but we all sing along to their favourite artists which makes for a fun and engaging environment. We have brought in the musical instruments which brings angle into the interaction to create an engaging environment.”

Braemar CEO Wayne Belcher says that Braemar’s relationship-centred approach is a fundamental element that allows the Braemar staff to think outside the box to assist residents.

“For 65 years, Braemar has been creating a relationship-centred approach to resident’s wellbeing. This approach is based on our core values of Care and Friendship. It allows our staff to think broadly about how they can best service the needs and wants of our clients,” comments Belcher.

“Everyone loves music. Just because someone is diagnosed with dementia or another cognitive condition, doesn’t mean they lose their love of music. This kind of activity allows us to help unlock memories in a fun and enjoyable way, making a real improvement to quality of life.”


Residents at Braemar Presbyterian Care aged care homes will cast off on a nostalgic journey next month, when a local maritime historian and internationally published author presents the first in a series of talks on ocean liners of yesteryear.

Chris Frame, who has co-authored close to a dozen books about maritime history and modern cruise ships, will focus on the world famous ocean liner QE2 and coincides with celebrations for the ship’s 50th anniversary this year.

Mr Frame said he was delighted to be asked to talk to residents, as part of the not-for-profit aged care organisation’s extensive enrichment program, particularly as several ex-seafarers call Braemar home.

“Braemar’s three facilities are located in the East-Fremantle and Melville areas which are obviously in close proximity to Fremantle Port, and because of this many residents remember seeing the QE2 when it docked during its long and illustrious 40 year career,” Mr Frame says.

“Attendance at the talks is already well booked and, as well as residents, family members have also shown a keen interest which we also think is fantastic.”

Chief Executive of Braemar Presbyterian Care, Wayne Belcher, said Braemar was committed to providing residents with access to an engaging activity program throughout the year, to support a full and enriched lifestyle.

“Braemar’s focus is to provide our residents with an engaging enrichment program year round,” he says.

“Since 1952, Braemar has facilitated this relationship-centred approach to care, in support of the elderly in Perth, and when our residents told us they were keen to access guest speakers, we got to work securing experts that range from well-known chefs to maritime historians.

“I’m excited to see this program being well received by those in our care.”

Mr Frame will speak at Braemar Village in East Fremantle at 1:45pm on 15 August and at Braemar’s Cooinda facility in Willagee at 2pm on 17 August.

Some of Mr Frame’s lecture highlights include speaking aboard Queen Victoria during the Lusitania 100th Anniversary commemorations, speaking at the Australian National Maritime Museum and Sea City Museum in Southampton, as well as being the first guest lecturer aboard P&O’s Pacific Eden during her maiden voyage.

Braemar Presbyterian Care is a community ministry of the Presbyterian Church in WA. Braemar operates three residential care facilities providing 220 residential places.


Braemar’s CEO Wayne Belcher has launched a blog concentrating on Aged Care news, thoughts and opinion. Located at, the blog takes advantage of Mr. Belcher’s decades long experience in Aged Care.

Mr. Belcher is an experienced Chief Executive in the aged care sector. Having entered aged care early in his career, he has held roles including Chief Executive of Bethanie as well as Director and Interim Chief Executive of Baptistcare WA.

Wayne was awarded a Medallion of the Order of Australia in 2007, in recognition of his significant contribution to community services.

This in part acknowledged his dedication to aged care as well as assistance he gave to the Howard Government in an advisory capacity. Wayne holds postgraduate qualifications in health administration, divinity and ministry. Until recently Mr Belcher was a Pastor at Lake Joondalup Baptist Church.

In 2017 he joined Braemar as Chief Executive. He will lead Braemar’s service delivery, growth and development into the future.

Visit the blog: > 


Mark Pownall interviews Braemar Presbyterian Care Chief Executive Wayne Belcher.


Perth-based residential aged care provider Braemar has made its television debut on Channel 7’s Home in WA.
Airing on Saturday 8 July, the episode features the range of Braemar services and explores how the organisation, that has been serving the community since 1952, can help the elderly to live well.


The temperature may have dropped in WA, but a Winter Waltz warmed the hearts of residents at Braemar Village in Willagee last week.

A Winter Waltz held at the 52-room facility brought residents to their feet to celebrate a shared love of music, dancing and life. Volunteers were on hand to teach the residents the steps, while the event created a great opportunity for reminiscing on past dance experiences. Music played, drinks flowed and freshly baked scones were served, topped with jam and cream thanks to Braemar’s in-house caterer, Cater Care.

Braemar CEO Wayne Belcher said that dance is a great way to encourage memories of the past while facilitating new experiences for residents.

“So many of our great memories involve dance. From memories of your high school ball to wedding dances, dancing parties or just dancing because you’re happy; dance forms part of the human experience”, comments Belcher.

“At Braemar, we are always looking for ways to create activities that are meaningful for residents which is why the Winter Waltz was both a great way to share memories from the past but also learn something new. And the residents were able to teach the care staff and volunteers a move or two. It was a fun and engaging experience for everyone.”

Braemar operate three aged care facilities in the City of Melville and East Fremantle area, including Braemar Village renowned for its friendly atmosphere and village-like atmosphere, 24 room Braemar House set among the leafy coastal suburb of East Fremantle and Braemar Cooinda, a 108 room hotel-like facility that opened in 2016.