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.