The smartphone revolution has made the word ‘selfie’ part of the urban dictionary. However it is usually more associated with Millennials or Gen Z’s than the Silent Generation or Baby Boomers.

Not so at Braemar Presbyterian Care’s East Fremantle facility, where an embrace of technology has led to senior residents learning the ins-and-outs of smartphone technology; with selfies being one of the favorite new tricks.

Resident Joy Hickson has a great enthusiasm for learning new skills. This includes using a phone to take photographs. Joy is pictured in this ‘selfie’ with volunteer Vydia and Braemar House manager Bernadette Samura, who has led a digital development charge that aims to challenge the stereotypes associated with aged care.

“We don’t think of our residents as ‘old people with a geriatric diagnosis’. Rather, we look at each person as an individual and work with them to build their confidence and quality of life,” comments Bernadette.

“Some of our residents want to learn how to engage with technology. Through apps like messenger and Skype they can connect with family and friends around the world which greatly adds to their quality of life.”

Bernadette is quick to point out that while technology can be daunting, a relationship centred approach is key to building confidence and achieving real lifestyle goals.

“The elderly generation is often stereotyped as being ‘unable to use technology’ but this isn’t the case. With a bit of support from our team, the already user-friendly interfaces of smartphones mean people of all ages can pick up on how to use modern technology quickly. It’s educational, insightful and a lot of fun – with taking selfies being just one step towards being confident with the device.”

Braemar Presbyterian Care provides accredited aged care and retirement accommodation to over 200 residents in Perth’s southern suburbs. It has a strong focus on relationship centred care which embraces the relationships that exist between residents, staff, volunteers and family.


Twenty of Braemar Presbyterian Care’s longest serving volunteers were recognised for their dedication and commitment during a volunteer function aboard the cruise ship Astor at the weekend.

The volunteers - who range in age from millennials to seniors in their 80s - were treated to a four course luncheon in addition to a comprehensive tour of the ship, before being presented with a commemorative pin to acknowledge their significant contribution to the not-for-profit aged care organisation over their many years of volunteering.

Braemar’s General Manager Workforce Renee Reid, who heads up the organisation’s growing volunteer program, said that people who give their time to aged care providers were critical to support the ongoing care and friendship of senior residents.

“In many ways Braemar’s volunteers are the unsung heroes of our community and we’re very fortunate to have passionate individuals that are willing to go the extra mile for our residents,” she says.

“As a result, we wanted to thank them in a memorable way with a special event outside of their everyday lives, and everyone at The Astor team was wonderful in terms of making them feel special and very welcome.

“Volunteers make an invaluable contribution to Braemar and this event was intended to publicly recognise both their generosity of time and their big hearts,” Ms Reid added.

Braemar’s volunteers range from young people in their 20s, to retired locals in their 60s and beyond, all of whom contribute to the organisation by, for example, providing companionship, cooking meals, accompanying seniors on outings, presenting musical recitals and even hosting sporting activities.

Braemar Presbyterian Care is currently calling for locals in the Fremantle and City of Melville area who may have a few hours to spare each week, and who would like to explore volunteering opportunities, to get in touch by contacting 08 6279 3600.


Above: Employee of the year Jennifer Rosso with CEO Wayne Belcher

Six team members from the Braemar Presbyterian Care workforce have been acknowledged in the organisation’s annual Care and Friendship awards, which were hosted this week at the Raffles Hotel.

The awards, which are based on nominations from residents throughout Braemar’s three facilities in Fremantle and the surrounding area, together with their families, acknowledge the dedication shown by the individual staff members concerned.

The award winners were chosen from a pool of over 80 nominated staff and include:

  • Susan Bradley from Braemar House who was awarded the Commitment Award, which acknowledges an employee who has consistently acted with pride and passion in their work. Susan was recognised by residents for her hard work, professionalism and care to residents.
  • Deborah Zygadlo from support services who was awarded the Accountability Award, which acknowledges an employee who demonstrates accountability and ownership of their actions in their work. Deb was recognised for her excellent work ethic, her timely follow ups and dedication to Braemar.
  • Gagandeep Kang from Braemar Village who was awarded the Respect Award which recognises an employee who has consistently demonstrated that they listen to, acknowledge and include their residents and colleagues in decision making at Braemar. Gagan was recognised for her diplomatic nature, positive influence on other staff and also for treating her colleagues and residents with respect.
  • Demi Wilson from Braemar Cooinda, who was awarded the Empathy Award that recognises an employee who demonstrates an understanding and willingness to share the feelings and wishes of their residents and colleagues. Demi was recognised for her kindness to both residents and staff, in addition to her excellent communication.
  • Andrea Grandon Gonzalez from Braemar House, who was awarded the Friendship Award that recognises an employee who consistently demonstrates that while they may not agree, they value and acknowledge the ideas, wishes and beliefs of their colleagues and residents. Andrea was recognised for being both a hard worker and having a genuine interest and positive energy towards others.

The overall employee of the year was Jennifer Russo from Braemar Cooinda, who was recognised for her outstanding and consistent contribution to Braemar residents over the year.

Wayne Belcher (OAM), Chief Executive of Braemar, said the annual Care and Friendship awards were an important opportunity to recognise employees who demonstrate excellence in their work in aged care.

“Staff at Braemar strive for excellence in every area and it gives us great pleasure to acknowledge a number of team members in particular who consistently go above and beyond what is expected,” Mr Belcher says.

“Aged care is a difficult and dynamic industry to work in, however it is also very rewarding and makes a real difference to the lives of those in our care. Susan, Deborah, Gagandeep, Demi, Andrea and Jennifer embody the Braemar care and friendship values, and we’re very proud to acknowledge their achievements in this way.”

Sponsored by HESTA, the awards honour Braemar staff who display the values of Care and Friendship that are characterised as Commitment, Accountability, Respect, Empathy and Friendship.

Braemar has lived by these values since 1952 – hence Care and Friendship since 1952, and they represent the tagline of the organisation.

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


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Braemar Presbyterian Care is celebrating its 65th anniversary of caring in the community.

Braemar Presbyterian Care Chief Executive, Wayne Belcher (OAM), says the milestone provides an important opportunity to recognise the exceptional commitment made by many West Australians who have contributed to the lives of older people as a result of their involvement with the aged care provider.

“Our 65th anniversary gives us the opportunity to reflect on the care Braemar has provided the community, and also thank our staff members past and present who have spent many years of their life making a real and very positive difference to the lives of older people of Perth, thanks to their involvement with Braemar,” Mr Belcher says.

“Throughout our long history we have embraced relationship-centred care, which embraces the relationships that exist and develop between our residents, their families, our staff and volunteers.”

Braemar was established in 1952 thanks to the kindness and vision of Elizabeth Tarrant who gifted her possessions to the Presbyterian Church in order to create a home for the aged in Western Australia.

“It is thanks to this caring and compassionate heritage that Braemar has been able to provide high quality care and accommodation over more than six decades,” Mr. Belcher comments. “Our team of dedicated individuals are completely focused on caring for not only the physical needs of our residents, but their emotional, spiritual and enrichment desires as well.”

Today Braemar Presbyterian Care provides fully accredited aged care and retirement accommodation to over 200 residents in Perth’s southern suburbs, and has plans for future growth. The organisation currently operates facilities in the City of Melville and East Fremantle areas, which provide residents with a relationship-centred care approach that respects their individual wishes.

Braemar offers a dedicated chaplaincy service and a robust programme of resident enrichment that includes insight lectures, workshops and meaningful activities such as iPad lessons, or handy craft activities in relationship with the local Bunnings.

A fourth location in Bicton – which operated as Braemar Lodge and Braemar Gardens for many years - is currently closed and awaiting redevelopment.

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.


Residents are learning to surf - so to speak - at Braemar Presbyterian Care’s aged care facilities, thanks to an Australian government initiative.

The broadband for seniors program - Be Connected - is being launched at the not-for-profit aged care provider this week, thanks to a government grant aimed at building seniors’ confidence with new technology and assisting them to keep up-to-date with online news.

Residents involved in the program will trial iPads to check weather updates, view online news, access video content from popular sites such as YouTube and even facetime family and friends. This adds a real benefit to the quality of life of aged care residents and forms part of Braemar’s commitment to relationship centred care; where resident requests are included in the services offered..

Braemar Presbyterian Care Chief Executive, Wayne Belcher (OAM), says residents are set to gain an enormous amount from the new technology, both in learning and social connectedness.

“We are in the age of the internet, and it can be dis-empowering for older people in the community when they don’t know how to use new technologies. My first witness of online banking was from visiting residents in a nursing home in the Netherlands in 2006.  Technology has come a long way since then, but we should never think that our elders are beyond grasping even the newest of technologies. We are pleased to be able to offer education sessions to our residents as both a learning tool and also a valuable social outlet,” Mr Belcher says.

“Social connectedness and maintaining relationships is an important part of the human experience. While nothing can fully replace face to face contact, digital tools such as these iPads allow our residents to connect to family and friends on the other side of the globe, something they were unable to easily do in the past.”

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.


Volunteers make a big difference to the lives of residents in aged care facilities across Australia, something which is being recognized by Braemar Presbyterian Care on International Volunteer Day next month.

Hamilton Hill resident Vic Leonard admits he loves to volunteer in the community and it’s fair to say he’s a West Australian who has made a huge difference to local seniors. Mr Leonard volunteers each week at Braemar Cooinda in Willagee, where he worked as a carer starting in 2001.

He may have retired, but 17 years later says his time with Braemar gave him the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and, more importantly, allowed him to make a difference and bring happiness to people’s lives, which is why he continues to volunteer.

“I love being with people and caring for them and just love my voluntary work at Braemar where I cook a barbeque for the men’s group every Wednesday,” he says.

“Spending time with residents is something that I can do lots of given I’m retired and every other week I have one-on-one sessions with the residents who don’t have many visitors. It’s a wonderful thing just to have a cup of tea or spin a yarn and I genuinely enjoy their company.”

Braemar Presbyterian Care Chief Executive, Wayne Belcher (OAM), says Vic’s dedication to residents and families is exceptional and makes a real difference to the lives of Braemar’s residents.

“Friendship and strong relationships are so important to people’s lives. We know that having volunteers in Aged Care facilities makes a significant contribution to the quality of life of those in our care,” says Mr Belcher.

“Volunteers like Vic are so very important, as they can offer support and friendship to the elderly over long periods of time and really build meaningful connections. Vic is great role model for people volunteering in aged care, he is one of society’s unsung heroes and we thank him for his invaluable contribution.”

To acknowledge all of the Braemar volunteers, the provider is hosting a thank you luncheon aboard the cruise ship Astor on 15 December. The event will include a guided tour of the ship and a luxury lunch in the ship’s Waldorf dining room.

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.


This is a brief report with some recommendations. Established in 1952, Braemar Presbyterian Care (“Braemar”) has been offering aged care in Western Australia for 65 years. As a values based organisation, and a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Western Australia, Braemar focuses on relationship centred care; empowering residents to live meaningful lives.

Wayne L Belcher OAM has been working back in the aged care sector since August 2016, and employed as Chief Executive Officer of Braemar since March 2017.  We believe that Wayne’s carefully crafted recommendations will have at least some support from both people of faith or no faith background.

To read the full recommendation  letter, please download it here. 


Braemar in Bicton Community Open Day

The decommissioned Braemar Lodge at Bicton

Braemar Presbyterian Care is hosting a community open day at its property in Bicton on Saturday 4 November.

Planned Regeneration

The open day will inform the community of the planned revitalisation of the Bicton site, as well as offer an opportunity for residents in the local community to ask questions about the plans currently being crafted.

Wayne Belcher (OAM), Chief Executive of Braemar, said the proposed revitalisation of the Bicton facility will deliver a high quality aged care and retirement living campus that will meet community needs for decades to come.

“Our plans at our Bicton facility demonstrate our strong commitment to provide high-quality aged care and retirement living for the local community,” Mr Belcher said.

“The community open day will allow people from Bicton and surrounding suburbs to have a look at our early concept plans and let us know what they think. I welcome local residents to drop in and meet me and our team, who will be on hand to discuss the proposed redevelopment of Braemar at Bicton.”

Location and Times

The site is located at 51 Point Water Road, Bicton and will be open to the public from 10 AM until 2 PM on Saturday 4 November, with tours of the existing decommissioned building taking place between 10:30am and 1pm.

Information Booklet (PDF)
51 Point Walter Road, Bicton Western Australia


There’s a new look at Braemar Cooinda thanks to a partnership between the Melville based facility and the local high school.

Residents of the multi-storey Braemar facility joined forces with six school students to design and paint colourful murals on the entrances of each floor; with the aim of making it easy for residents to identify which level they were on when exiting the lifts.

The work was done in partnership with Melville Senior High school, and is a visual example of the relationship-centred approach that Braemar adheres to.

“When residents told us that they sometimes found it confusing to navigate the building, we asked them what they thought would help. It was actually a resident idea to paint the pillars different colours to improve wayfinding when exiting the lifts,” explains Carol Dickson, Cooinda’s Facility Manager.

Rather than just calling in a painter, the Braemar team worked out a way to engage residents in the process, while providing them with a social and engaging activity at the same time.

“Our team thought, ‘why not take it a step further and involve the local school’… The residents and students came together to work out a design for each level over the course of several days the space was transformed. Residents love the new designs and have made some great new friends in the process.”

The work sees a yellow colour scheme with sunflowers introduced on level 1, while blue and purple hues dominate the murals on level 2. The resulting effect is a vibrant, pleasant perspective in the lounges that make it easier for residents quickly identify where they are.

Braemar CEO Wayne Belcher said that the work was something the residents could take personal pride in.

“For everyone, decorating your home is an essential part of expressing your personality. To enable our residents to decorate their living space at Braemar Cooinda is a wonderful reflection of the creativity that people have; regardless of their age. It is a great example of how a practical solution can be achieved in a fun and engaging way.”

Braemar Cooinda was opened in 2016 and offers 108 beds including a specialist care service for people with advanced care needs. A team of aged care professionals offer care and support around the clock while meals are prepared fresh on site.