Brightlife Volume 1, 2021

Page 1

The power of


Kylie chooses to pursue her independence with an amazing support team page 8

The ins and outs of

at home care,

how to decide what’s right for you page 6

How spiritual care

offers more

than you might think page 12

What it takes to create a home in residential aged care page 22




Contents 03 04 06 08 12 14 16 18 22 28

Note from the CEO Brightwater CEO, Jennifer Lawrence, introduces the new look Brightlife for 2021.


The importance of meal experiences that nurture and provide nutrition Having a balanced diet that is nutritious and familiar as we age has never been more important.

Special thanks to our interviewees

Getting help to stay at home No matter how old we are, home matters - which is why staying at home within our local community for as long as possible is a priority for many Australians. The power of choice Capacity Building client Kylie Mucciarone chooses to pursue her independence with an amazing team, and have fun along the way.

Volume 1 | 2021

Kylie Mucciarone Adam Roebuck Katelyn Mewburn Keith Bocks Kimberly Carson Mark Elsing Amy Fairburn Libby Matthew

Photography Michael Bain

The new approach to spiritual care that isn’t always about faith Counsellor Keith Bocks pioneers a spiritual care program with project officer Kimberly Carson. The transition journey into residential care Making the decision to transition a loved one into residential care can be complex, luckily there’s people to turn to like Michael for advice. Defying all odds Former Oats Street resident, Mark Elsing shares his story of perseverance and determination. Lady Onslow’s Legacy: where it all began To celebrate 120 years since we laid the foundation stone for our first care home, we revisit the story of our founder, Lady Onslow. The building blocks to create a home Familiar settings that are family friendly and homelike. Adam Roebuck and Katelyn Mewburn explain the importance of person-centred design. Brightwater’s roving reporter wrap-up We share a round-up of what’s happening across Brightwater.

Follow us on social media @brightwcg @brightwatercare brightwater-care Speak to us today on 1300 223 968 or email us at Brightlife is published biannually. You are receiving this magazine as you are part of our network of clients, family, friends and industry partners. If you would prefer to be taken off our mailing list or if you have any ideas and comments about Brightlife send an email to


Dear readers, I am delighted to introduce to you a new look Brightlife for 2021. Our aim is to bring you stories about our organisation that provide you with important information about Brightwater, our services and our people. Each article in this magazine tells a story about the way we support our clients and the Brightwater community. I have the privilege of leading this incredible organisation, and looking through this magazine I am proud of the skilled and hardworking leaders we have at Brightwater. Our founder Lady Onslow advocated for the health and wellbeing of Western Australians in 1901 and Brightwater continues her legacy today. She would be proud to see where we have taken the organisation (formally known as Homes of Peace) in 2021 – not to mention navigating a once in a lifetime pandemic and two Royal Commissions. This organisation is in its 120th year of supporting the community and I am thrilled to celebrate this anniversary with our Brightwater community. Lady Onslow’s amazing work is profiled on pages 18 to 21.



This year is also the 30th anniversary of our Brain Rehabilitation Program, Brightwater Oats Street. Reading Mark Elsing’s story about his road to recovery on pages 16 to 17, gives you some idea of how this program has changed Mark’s life, giving him the skills and time to learn how to rebuild his life and become independent. Mark’s story is one that should be celebrated, and I hope you find it as inspiring as I do. Pursuing the dignity of independence is our Mission which we incorporate in everything we do to support our clients. There was never a doubt that Kylie, featured on our cover, embraces her independence. I love the way she refers to her support team as her Aloha people, named after one of her favourite holiday destinations – Hawaii, a place that fills her with joy – just as her support team does. Please read Kylie’s story of independence on pages 8 to 11.

Happy reading,


Jennifer Lawrence, Brightwater Chief Executive Officer.


meal The importance of

experiences that nurture and provide nutrition “What could be more important than a little something to eat?” - Winnie the Pooh

Like the world’s favourite bear, we know the importance of food - not just for pleasure but also for performance. Eating well helps our body manage the demands of daily life. It’s vital to help us ward off disease and to recover from illness more easily. It also helps our brain to function effectively and can be key to maintaining a positive outlook.

“If someone has lost weight, their dentures may not be fitting properly which can make eating more difficult. Or they may have problems swallowing. Sometimes constipation or feeling nauseous at mealtimes can also impact upon nutrition and may indicate a need for a dietary modification or a medication review. Low mood can be further impacted by poor nutrition and this can in turn affect someone’s motivation to eat,” said Amy.

Good nutrition is just as important in the senior years, when it can become a challenge to stay well nourished.

Addressing the medical issues for each client can be complex but the benefits can be significant.

“If you’re not eating well it can affect many bodily functions, including immunity, cognition and even your muscle strength. Loss of muscle mass means you’ve got a higher chance of having a fall and a higher chance of sustaining an injury from that fall. If you’re not eating well, you’re not going to be performing at your best cognitively either,” according to Brightwater Clinical Dietitian, Amy Fairburn. Unfortunately, many seniors do not get the nourishment they need and risk becoming malnourished. They may have increased nutritional needs that are not being met or their body can’t absorb the nutrients as well. Sometimes, they are just not eating enough. For clinical dietitians like Amy Fairburn, the first step is to investigate why.

“ Good nutrition is about keeping people strong enough that they can maintain their independence as much as possible. Being able to do things for yourself is so important for a sense of self and wellbeing.” Amy Fairburn Food Service Dietitian - Brightwater Care Group


Overseeing the meal experience To ensure all meals served at Brightwater homes meet the nutritional requirements of clients, Brightwater has a dedicated Food Services Dietitian, Libby Matthew who works closely with the catering team at Malaga. “It’s my job to assess the ingredients, recipes and portion sizes of the food to make sure it meets the nutrition standard, especially in reference to protein, carbohydrate and fat. I am also responsible for allergy and special diet requests that may arise, advising catering about what to provide as alternatives to the current menu,” said Brightwater Food Service Dietitian, Libby Matthew. While there is a focus on nutrition standards, supporting clients to eat well is approached holistically at Brightwater. Libby is the link between the catering team and the clinicians - nursing, dietitians and speech pathology. She helps to develop the recipes and to make sure the food served is the best it can be to encourage clients to eat and enjoy.

“ When we get it right, people eat more, so their nutritional intake improves and so does their overall health and wellbeing. ” Libby Matthew, Food Service Dietitian - Brightwater Care Group

This year Brightwater launched a new approach to food and nutrition ‘Reimagining the Meal Experience’. After consultation with clients, our chefs, dietitians and speech pathologists collaborated on a new menu that gives more choice at mealtimes. The menu provides a vegetarian choice for every meal and increased options for texture modified diets, which is an exciting innovation from our catering team. By reimagining the meal experience, Brightwater’s catering team has developed a separate range of texture modified meals. These look more like a regular meal, with a better taste experience for clients including how they feel in the mouth, which is an important aspect of the overall experience. “Feedback on the new menu is being received on an ongoing basis. There will be a review of the items that are not popular and parts of the menu will be changed every six months to reflect what the residents are saying,” said Libby. Through this process of review, Brightwater is honouring its overall mission of learning and growing to continually improve - and making mealtimes even brighter.

Reimagining the Meal Experience There has been a good response to - ‘Reimagining the Meal Experience’ since it was launched in February. Our clients are pleased to have the opportunity to provide us with feedback.

“Really loved the honey and orange pork.” “The best meal of the week – fish and chips. Please keep on the menu!” All feedback is welcomed and helps us decide whether to change the recipe or remove a meal from the menu. Email us at


Getting help to stay

at home No matter how old we are, home matters - which is why staying at home within our local community for as long as possible is a priority for many Australians. But as we age, we may find we need some additional support to stay safe and well in our own home, for ourselves or when we’re caring for a loved one. And while it might feel like a loss of independence to ask for help, it can actually have the opposite effect.

“ Putting services in place sooner rather than later often means you’re able to remain independent for longer - and you’re probably going to enjoy life more.” Darren Woolcott, General Manager Brightwater at Home

Brightwater at Home services for CHSP clients include: ● Allied health and nursing ● Meal preparation ● Shopping ● Transport ● Personal care ● Social support ● Respite ● Meals delivered Home Care Packages (HCP) are the next stage in support and are for those who need a little more frequent or intensive assistance. The packages range from Level 1 for basic needs to Level 4 for high level care needs. Brightwater at Home provides an extensive range of services tailored to the individual needs of HCP clients. These can include the same services as CHSP clients as well as many others including: ● Allied health such as physiotherapy, reflexology, podiatry, occupational therapy and speech pathology ● Home modifications

At home services can be both government funded and paid for privately. Government funded For people aged 65 and older, or over 50 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, there are two tiers of assistance depending on the support needed. Eligibility is determined through government assessment. The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) is for people who may only need a little assistance and may consist of one or two services per week such as some help with personal care or around the home. The services can be for the long or short term. Clients pay a nominal fee, usually about $12 an hour.

● Aids and equipment ● Respite for carers ● Pet support ● Transition care ● In home meals Privately funded Some people choose to pay privately for home help, either because they are not eligible for government funding or because they are waiting for it to come through. Whatever the reason, Brightwater at Home can provide the same services for privately funded clients as those who are government funded. “Whatever services you need, it’s worth picking up the phone and calling us. You never know what you might be eligible for and it could make all the difference to have a bit of extra help,” said Darren.

Call Brightwater at Home on 1300 223 968 to find out more.


We can help

you be you

in your home too. Klaus collects clocks. Countless clocks. He especially loves collecting cuckoo clocks. However, he couldn’t keep them if he had to downsize. That’s why he loves having home care help from Brightwater. Our close-knit team of professionals helps you keep your independence with services such as physio, nursing and help around the house and garden.

Learn more about our services and what sets us apart from others. Go to or call 1300 223 968


The power of


When faced with a challenge, Kylie Mucciarone is the kind of person who asks herself, “How do I make this happen?”


Brightwater Capacity Building client, Kylie Mucciarone.

But in 2018, making things happen seemed to be beyond even Kylie’s powers of determination. The treatment for her medical condition was no longer working and she reluctantly gave up her corporate career to focus full-time on maintaining her health. It was an enormous change for Kylie, a private person who had managed her condition without fuss most of her life. Even today, she prefers not to label herself, describing her condition only as chronic.

“I had a bit of a reality check in 2018 in terms of what I could now achieve because my disability up until then had been mainly invisible and I had enjoyed a level of control. Once my condition became more apparent to the outside world, I didn’t have that anymore. I quickly realised the power of choice. The choices I made from this moment on would impact my future journey. So I could choose to become a victim to my circumstances or I could choose to look for new opportunities,” said Kylie.


Kylie chose the latter, which led her into an NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) package and a partnership with Brightwater through the Capacity Building Program.

“ Aligning myself with people who understand the NDIS and what can and can’t be done, has been paramount for me. It has been responsible for improving my quality of life, so that I can live as safely and independently as possible. I’m so grateful for that.” Brightwater is a recognised leader in providing services through the NDIS, working with clients to maximise the benefits of their individual plan and collaborating with a range of providers to ensure clients achieve their goals. The Capacity Building Program provides services to people with a disability who are either living in their own home or in supported living. The program is tailored to each person and flexible to meet changing needs. Thanks to the program, Kylie has been able to find her new normal, a term she is not a huge fan of. Not including her family, whom she would be lost without, Kylie has a team of around 15 people supporting her. “They say it takes a village and really does. At the moment through Brightwater, I work with a support coordinator as well as a physiotherapist and two occupational therapists. My team also includes a counsellor, nurse, dietitian, speech therapist, social support and domestic services, who are sourced through various providers.”


Not to mention she always makes you feel welcomed and at home - as she says we are her extended family, which always makes the job that much better!” Chelsea exclaimed. “My team are my extended family; we celebrate special occasions together and are constantly in touch. I affectionately refer to them as my ‘Aloha’ family - a term I learned to appreciate during my traveling days to Hawaii. My team don’t only support me, they lift me up and we always have a good laugh,” said Kylie. The level of support that Kylie receives now means she can also focus on one of her NDIS goals of participating in the community through volunteering opportunities and other programs. This provides her with a sense of purpose, elevating her happiness and fulfillment.

Kylie and Brightwater Physiotherapist Chelsea Parnell.

Brightwater Physiotherapist Chelsea Parnell is part of the team. “I’ve been working with Kylie for little under a year now and she continues to surprise me with her determination and desire to always strive for improvements in her function and mobility. Kylie is the dream physiotherapy client as she is always willing to give an exercise a go and do what is required in order to achieve her personal goals.

“I’m quite excited because I’ve recently been afforded a role with the National Disability Services Ready to Go Home project. I’m on a panel with other ‘frequent fliers’ in the health care system with the goal of improving the ‘hospital to home’ transition for others based on our experiences, both good and bad.” There are still days when Kylie admits that she “feels a little broken” but she’s getting better at using the tools, techniques and support available to her so she can still make positive things happen, however big or small.

“ Having a chronic condition makes my life very unpredictable and challenging, however it also inspires me to be the best that I can be in those moments of uncertainty. I’m so grateful to be working closely with my Aloha family to maintain my health and finding the fun in the things we need to do along the way. ”


The new approach to

spiritual care

that isn’t always about faith There is a growing recognition that our spiritual needs are just as important as our physical and emotional needs, even for those who do not have a particular religious belief. In 2016, Australia became the first country in the world to adopt the National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care. The guidelines suggest that while spiritual care means different things to different people, ultimately it is not just about faith, but about life purpose, experience and connections. They also outline practical ways that aged care providers can support their residents’ spiritual needs. At Brightwater, Keith Bocks has been working on a project to do just that.

(FSH) to learn how their pastoral care model works, and they heard that many FSH residents who benefit from spiritual care do not identify as religious.

“ This has allowed the spiritual care team to adopt programs to aid spiritual health that are not specifically religious in nature, such as music lessons. It also prevents the team from overlooking non-religious residents who may nevertheless benefit from spiritual care. ”

“Spiritual care is being there to provide support, giving time to listen to people and having conversations about their emotions and their spiritual concerns. It’s also about helping them cope with their struggles and find purpose in life,” said Brightwater Oats Street Counsellor, Keith Bocks.

Excerpt from Keith Bock’s Quarterly Report, ‘Develop a Best Practice Model for a Pastoral Care Service’

As a counsellor at Brightwater Oats Street, Keith has been working for several years providing pastoral and spiritual care for residents with Acquired Brain Injury. Last year, he was awarded the 2020 Peter Lane Scholarship to develop a best practice model for pastoral care that could be implemented across other Brightwater homes including aged care residences.

In developing the Brightwater model for pastoral and spiritual care, Keith is also conscious of the importance of addressing the needs of staff and families as well. At Oats Street he invites families to a monthly group where they have the chance to ask questions about their loved ones’ experiences and voice any concerns. The meetings are about supporting families who are also going through a major life change and can be at risk of feeling isolated as a result.

Together with project officer Kimberly Carson, Keith has been examining what works in his current approach to pastoral and spiritual care as well as what could be improved. They have visited Fiona Stanley Hospital

“We invite the families to find out how they are managing, how they are coping and what help they need. It helps to give them a picture of what happens


Brightwater's Spiritual Care project team, Kimberly Carson and Keith Bocks.

during the week when their family members are engaged in their rehabilitation work. So we try to explain this during a session, just over a cup of tea in a really casual setting,” said Keith. Project Officer Kimberly Carson says misconceptions about spiritual and pastoral care can be one of the biggest hurdles in reaching those people who might benefit. “I came in not really knowing what to expect, and with a lot of misconceptions about pastoral care being very religious. I’ve learned that a lot of it is emotionally focused and even the definition of spirituality exists outside religion. So we’ve been discussing how connection to community and to body can be spiritual experiences that can be of value to people at Oats Street. We want to understand how we can expand the program to incorporate what might be really valuable spiritual practises for people that I wouldn’t have defined as spiritual before doing this work,” said Project Officer Kimberley Carson.

“I would look more at the life of the person rather than lead them down a religious path. My goal is to help people understand, your life matters, you are valuable - how can I encourage you and help you on this journey of life? If you are interested in the spiritual, I’ll help you there but if you are not, it doesn’t matter - your life matters. Because I’m passionate about people, I’m concerned about you,” Keith explained. Keith says he and Kimberly will complete their report on the best practice model for a pastoral care service later this year. But he knows already what’s most important in the work he does. “It’s the love for people - you can’t do it if you don’t love people. My belief is to love one another. I just love seeing the joy that I can bring in whatever way I help people. It’s just wonderful to see the inner joy and peace people find when they know that they are loved and valued, and this helps them to find purpose in life and the will to go on. This is my goal and desire for those I serve.”


The transition journey into residential

care “It was so very hard letting go and trusting anyone else to look after them.” The writer had recently helped their loved one move into one of Brightwater’s aged care homes. They were having feelings that were very new to them but not to our team.

“ You manage a lot of emotion about the whole decision to place somebody in care. For me it’s just about being there, listening to what their fears are. It’s about acknowledging that it’s all very real because life as you knew it today is not going to be the same as tomorrow.” Michael Bowran, Team Leader - Client Engagement Services Brightwater Care Group

Michael Bowran hears a range of emotions in his role with Brightwater’s Client Engagement Services. His team manages the application process for Brightwater’s residential aged care homes and they know how critical it is to build trust. “The person you talk to is struggling with the whole idea of their loved one going into residential care - they never thought they’d get to that point. And so for us it’s just acknowledging that, supporting that and just helping them along our process,” said Michael. For some, the process of transition begins long before the move itself, with plenty of time to prepare. For others, a health crisis or sudden change in living arrangements can mean there is pressure to make a decision quickly. Michael says there are things that can be done in advance to make the process easier when the time comes. The first two steps are the most important and working through them early will reduce the stress of transition.


do, is another way to help families begin adjusting to a new future. “I always encourage people to start looking around and think about what are the things you want to bring to make that room homely for that person. And that helps a little bit. If the new resident is able to, encourage them to be part of that process. Then you’re making it about them.” A visit to the chosen residential care home is also a good way to begin picturing what this new stage will look like. These tours are a chance to view the sites and speak to staff, as well as to see how the new room might be made more homely with personal effects and small items of furniture. Closer to the move, focusing on short-term tasks can help distract from the enormity of the change. Michael recommends, where possible, that carers and family members reach out for support through this process.

First, Michael suggests applying for approval to be admitted to residential aged care. This is a free assessment done through the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). It can be undertaken before a move is necessary. There is no need for a referral - simply contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to begin the process. Once the assessment has been done, ACAT can provide an approval letter and support plan. Next, it helps to have a good understanding of the costs involved in residential aged care and how much could be covered by government funding. This will depend on the financial circumstances of each individual. Start by assembling details of all assets and income, then contact My Aged Care for assistance in working out the fees and charges. Once these two steps are completed and an application for a place has been made, Brightwater’s Client Engagement Coordinators arrange to visit the prospective client - either at their home, in hospital or in transitional care. Michael Bowran says Brightwater’s process of client visits, not something all providers

“ Identify a support network, from a local support network – this could be somebody else living at home (apart from the person requiring care) or a close friend.” And when the day of the move comes, it’s important to remember that this is a new chapter for everyone. “The staff are very good at helping the family to transition as well, particularly when we are assisting couples and one is left at home and one is coming into care. I tell people, this is about you as well and you need to be part of that that transition,” Michael says.

Email if you need advice on your transition journey


Defying all odds This year, Brightwater Oats Street celebrates 30 years of assisting people with Acquired Brain Injury through their rehabilitation. One of those people is former Oat Street resident, Mark Elsing, who shares his story of perseverance and determination. It was a rainy Father’s Day in 2014. Mark Elsing had just enjoyed a roast chicken lunch at home with his family and he was bouncing around to music with his delighted eight year old daughter. His wife was out with their son, doing a final lesson before his driving test the next day. “Suddenly I looked in the mirror and I saw my face droop. I felt strange and I knew something was not not right,” Mark Elsing said. Something was very much not right. Mark was having a severe stroke. His young daughter called the ambulance and within minutes he was on his way to hospital. He learned later that doctors only gave him a two percent chance of surviving the first 24 hours. That was the first but not the last time Mark Elsing would prove the doctors wrong. After three months in a coma, Mark woke to find he could not walk or talk. Little would change in the year he spent in hospital before transferring to Brightwater’s Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, Oats Street, in East Victoria Park.

He looked and felt very different to the man who had danced around with his eight year old daughter twelve months earlier. But there was something about Mark that was very much the same. Where once he had given himself wholeheartedly to his work and his family, now he made a similar commitment to his own rehabilitation. “I recognised that I had been given another chance - I embraced it and tried to make the most of a bad situation.” Over three years, through Brightwater’s intensive rehabilitation program, Mark gradually learned to do things for himself - to shower and shave, to cook and make his bed. He was still partially paralysed but there were many things he could do for himself.


Yet one thing eluded him; he still couldn’t walk. It was a goal he had pretty much abandoned after being told by many people that he was unlikely to ever walk again. Then in late 2020, Mark began working with a new physiotherapist who gave him hope that, maybe, it could be done.

“ Zac believed in me and I believed in him. He knows what type of person I am - if I set my mind on something, I will do it.” After two months of intensive work with his physiotherapist Mark had the breakthrough he needed. One day - slowly and with great effort - he managed to pull himself up and stand independently for three whole seconds. It was all he needed: now there could be new goals in Mark Elsing’s future. “I’m more focused now than ever.” Mark’s focus now involves a walking stick, a motorhome and long walks on sandy beaches. He plans - not hopes, but plans - to be walking with a stick by the end of the year, and in 2022 to take off on a camping adventure around Australia.

He admits that there’s a financial incentive to make sure he is able to walk independently, to do with the cost of the motorhome he plans to use. “They make a wheelchair friendly model with a wheelchair lift but it’s $60,000 more. So I said to Zac, well I could do with that money so if I could walk up the stairs it would be good. The other thing is that I love the outdoors - camping, fishing, boating. And what good is a camping trip if you can’t walk on the beach?” exclaimed Mark. The goal is realistic according to Mark’s physiotherapist Zac, who believes he could be walking with a stick within 8-12 months. Once more, Mark Elsing will have proven the doctors wrong. He is quick to credit the world class rehabilitation program at Brightwater Oats Street for his many achievements.

“ The people that work here, they really care and they know what they’re doing. The message is that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and don’t give up. ” Mark never gave up and he doesn’t believe he ever will.

Mark Elsing with Brightwater Oats Street Program Manager, Sally Willmott

“My job is never done. My rehab never stops. Ever. Until the day I die, I will try to improve my standard of living. What that will look like I don’t know. But one thing is for sure, I’ve defied the odds because I don’t take no for an answer and I believe in myself.”


Lady Onslow’s Legacy:

where it all began

In 2021, Brightwater Care Group proudly celebrates 120 years since the foundation stone was laid for our first care home. The Brightwater story has many heroes but none more courageous than Lady Madeleine Onslow who had the foresight to imagine a better future for Perth’s needy and the drive to make it happen.


In 1880, Sir Alexander Onslow, accompanied by his wife Lady Madeleine Onslow, arrived in Western Australia to become the Swan River Colony’s eleventh Attorney General. But while Sir Alexander occupied the official role, it would be his wife who would have the most significant and enduring impact on our society.

“ Lady Onslow was a courageous and determined social reformer and as a State, we owe her a debt of gratitude for her tireless efforts to address the inadequacies she observed within the existing health system.” Jennifer Lawrence, Brightwater Care Group CEO

Lord and Lady Onslow arrived on the eve of great change in Western Australia. The small colony was to experience a population boom due to the gold rush years, beginning in 1885. While the advent of gold meant great fortune for some and overall affluence to the colony, not everyone benefited. Poor sanitation and dreadful living conditions at prospectors’ camps brought outbreaks of diseases including typhoid and smallpox. These epidemics threatened to overwhelm the health system, which was barely adequate for the small population even before the gold rush. The increased demands on health services meant there was little capacity to meet the needs of those with ongoing conditions such as paralysis and tuberculosis. With no Government welfare, the long term care of the chronically ill and disadvantaged was left to a few charitable organisations. When this critical issue came to the attention of Lady Onslow late in the 1880s, she announced that she would work towards establishing a home for the incurably ill. It came as no surprise to those who knew her that she would take on such a demanding, yet deserving, mission.


Lady Onslow had become known for her leadership on social reform issues in the colony. She was a leading proponent of women’s suffrage, advocating for the rights and status of women. She helped found what is now Australia’s oldest club for women, the Karrakatta Club, and served as its first President from 1894 to 1901. Indeed, on women’s suffrage and in her work for the chronically ill, Lady Onslow was the embodiment of the Club’s motto, Spectemur Agendo - Let us be judged by our actions.

“ Lady Onslow is a shining example of the pioneering spirit exhibited by many women of her time. Her compassion and resolve continues to inspire us all at Brightwater Care Group. ” Despite Lady Onslow’s connections, establishing a home would not prove easy. The first home, The Anglican Home of the Good Shepherd, opened in 1896 but was forced to close two years later because of insufficient funds. Although initially supportive, the State Government had refused to provide any more public monies for a single-denomination institution. Undeterred, within a month of the closure Lady Onslow and leading Perth surgeon Dr Athelstan Saw brought together a more diverse committee to oversee the development and management of a new home. The Forrest Government provided a parcel of land in Subiaco and committed to ongoing funding for this new non-denominational venture. Public support was also high and donations flowed from Perth businesses as well as from ordinary people. In fact, more than £3,000 came from ‘widow’s mite’ donations - so named because they were small sums of money from the very poorest sectors. Just three years after the new committee was formed, on 18 December 1901, the foundation stone for The Home of Peace was laid on the Subiaco site. This site is what we know as Brightwater, Onslow Gardens today. Sadly, Lady Madeleine Onslow was not there to witness the momentous occasion. She and her husband, Sir Alexander, had returned to England earlier that year. There were fears that momentum would be lost with the departure of the driving force for the new home but Lady Onslow’s legacy was about more than establishing a home for the sick and the poor.


Lady Onslow’s legacy was about bringing together a community around a common cause, uniting Perth society, from its most privileged and influential to its least advantaged members.

Brightwater Today With 27 locations between Joondalup and Mandurah, Brightwater supports people of all ages and abilities, including clients living with dementia, Huntington’s disease and acquired brain injury.

That committed and compassionate community still exists.

To support the growing population of older people who want to remain independent for longer in the community, Brightwater at Home provides services and expert care to people still living in their own homes.

“ Lady Onslow began the journey that unites us in our Mission at Brightwater Care Group to this day: to provide outstanding support to people through their health and wellbeing challenges, while maintaining their dignity and providing an environment that offers them independence. ” In 1997, the Home of Peace became Brightwater Care Group, reflecting the new and dynamic nature of the organisation. Today Brightwater is one of Western Australia’s most respected not for profit supporters of people with neurological disability, injury or illness, and people who are ageing.

The Brightwater Research Centre furthers scientific knowledge, evaluating the brain injury rehabilitation program at Oats Street, researching neurological conditions, dementia care and living environments to benefit individuals and the wider community.

“It may be presumptuous to imagine how Lady Onslow would feel about what has been achieved in the past 120 years. However, I feel safe in assuming that she was driven by the same values that drive us today at Brightwater - to be authentic, caring, progressive, courageous. For all the changes, one thing remains the same: the client is at the heart of everything we do.” No words can express my appreciation of the loving care of the attendants who night and day endeavoured to alleviate the suffering of those entrusted to their care. Letter from a grieving husband to the Home of Peace, from Lady Onslow’s Legacy by Deborah Gare


The building blocks to create a home When Adam Roebuck was researching the design of Brightwater’s new aged care development in Inglewood, one thing was made very clear to him: he had to get the kitchens right. “Everyone I spoke to said, Adam, we want the staff to be able to make pancakes and muffins for the residents if they feel like it. Or if the family comes in, they can sit at the kitchen table and have a cup of tea together,” said Project Director, Adam Roebuck. It may seem surprising that in a multi-million dollar project, the design of the kitchen carries such weight. Yet this is exactly what the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety noted in its investigation into innovative models of care, reporting that there were benefits in providing small scale care in a more familiar setting.

“ Person-centred care that maximises the independence of the residents and participation in routine, domestic activities in a homelike setting for smaller groups of residents. ” An excerpt from the Royal Commission Report: Review of Innovative Models of Aged Care, page 42

Person-centred design is at the core of Brightwater’s three storey Inglewood centre, currently under construction. Once complete, it will be home to 128 aged care clients, living in one of the 16-person small-house communities within the building. They will have their own team of care-givers, and greater opportunity for the sort of everyday routines that clients would have followed in their own homes. The building will also house Brightwater’s corporate head office and a world-class research facility. There will be sensory landscaping and a ‘garden in the sky’ for residents, as well as physiotherapy services, gym and clinical hub.


“Combining a corporate office with an aged care home is a first for a WA provider. The design features shared community engagement spaces, for staff, clients, family and visitors to interact and socialise, and is an inclusive space for all abilities. It firmly puts our clients at the heart of everything we do,” said Brightwater CEO, Jennifer Lawrence. Getting the design just right took Project Director Adam Roebuck many months of research, travelling extensively in Western Australia and interstate. He says other not for profit aged care providers were generous and collaborative.

“ I pinch myself every day that I get to lead large teams and significant organisations into what a sustainable future of aged care, clinical care, and care for humans can be. ” Adam Roebuck, Project Director

Among the team tasked with translating this vision is interior designer Katelyn Mewburn from MKDC, who

says one of the priorities in shaping the internal and external spaces of the Inglewood development was to improve the experience for family members and other visitors.

“ Giving residents beautiful spaces, opportunities to walk in the garden with their family member or make a cup of tea and sit somewhere intimate and engaging for a quiet conversation is so important.” Katelyn Mewburn, Interior Designer - MKDC

Katelyn is enthusiastic about the proximity of the new building to the Inglewood triangle, a small but significant pocket of bushland that’s home to much of the area’s natural flora and fauna. This natural bushland will inspire the interior design of the new building, including ensuring there are plenty of ways to look out onto the treetops from the upper floor.


“It’s for people who don’t have much mobility so they are still able to engage with the outdoors, looking onto landscape and feeling like they’re a part of something bigger,” Katelyn said. The person-centred approach is not confined to Brightwater’s aged care homes. It is a key component in disability care as well. Adam Roebuck is managing one of Brightwater’s next projects - to expand the rehabilitation services provided through the Oats Street facility in East Victoria Park. The first step towards expansion has been progressed, with the purchase of three properties adjoining the site. This will see more clients able to receive services at different stages of their rehabilitation. Adam says the challenge of incorporating person-centred design is in trying to create something that’s all about the person while still ensuring it has the appropriate layers of clinical care and mental health care, including the care and good mental health of staff.

“ Look around your own home - my job is to replicate that in a safe, managed, clinical environment. In a nutshell, it has to be homelike.” Adam Roebuck, Project Director


Adam and Katelyn have also been involved in Brightwater’s Light Touch Refurbishment project, which has spanned three years. The goal has been to update all the aged care and disability facilities in a way that, once more, puts client needs front and centre. “Light plays such a big part in enabling independence. On one of our first sites, there was a client who was having trouble reading his newspaper at the dining table. After the refurbishment he was pleased to let us know that he could now read the paper. Brightwater is definitely far ahead of other providers in terms of taking responsibility for having an impact environmentally on their clients and I think they should be so proud of that,” said Katelyn. In addition, the External Areas Project has seen upgrades to the outdoors at the residential homes. The focus is on improving the experience on arrival at each home, as well as improving access to outdoor spaces and increased enjoyment once out there. For the clients in supported independent living homes, this means a focus on veggie gardens. “The residents love the ability to garden, to get outside and make a difference, having something to own and throw themselves into is something they really value,” said Katelyn. Whether it’s digging up veggie gardens, sitting at the kitchen table to read the newspaper, or just gazing out at the treetops over Inglewood, Brightwater residents - today and in the future - can be assured that their experience remains at the centre of Brightwater’s vision. For Adam Roebuck, doing his best work means imagining what it would be like if he were the person living there.

“ I put me at the centre of living in this facility because unless you know what it’s like to be in aged care, you have no idea of some of the challenges staff have or the challenges residents have. Being in and out of hundreds of aged care facilities for the last ten years, I have to put me at the centre of it so when I’m heading into my later days I think - will this be familiar to me? ” Adam Roebuck, Project Director

us Support

As a not for profit, Brightwater provides care to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people. Due to the effects of ageing, Huntington’s disease and acquired brain injury, enjoying life’s simple pleasures is no longer possible for many of our clients.

Corporate partnerships As a not for profit organisation, Brightwater relies in part on community and corporate generosity to enable us to deliver extras in many different ways to the people we support. We continue to be inspired by the willingness of individuals and businesses in WA. Funds raised and corporate support is and always will be directed to the extra things that an organisation like ours would not normally be able to fund, such as life experiences for our clients, special equipment and programs or vital research. Our corporate partners can and will make a difference, by providing their time, their talent, their resources/and or in-kind support.

With over 2,000 clients in Brightwater’s care, we have the opportunity to bring a little joy to each and every one of them. We are committed to supporting the community through their health and wellbeing challenges, while maintaining their dignity and providing an environment that offers them independence. Our vision for the future is to ensure everyone in our care is able to pursue independence and to constantly improve and enhance our clients’ experience.

Volunteering A wise man once said that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. We are welcoming volunteers back into our homes, to provide good old companionship to our residents. Each and every volunteer makes a difference. With volunteering opportunities from Mandurah to Joondalup, we welcome people of all ages and backgrounds.

Apart from making our aged care and disability residents smile, our volunteers are rewarded in so many other ways. As a Brightwater volunteer, you will: • Improve wellbeing, especially for those at risk of social isolation Fundraising events To celebrate and recognise our wonderful clients across Brightwater, we host a variety of fundraising events, such as our Seeing the Ability Day Appeal on International Day of People with Disability last year. These events bring our clients, staff and the community together and raise awareness to the broader public about how they can support our clients throughout their care journey with us.

• Develop your skills, gain experience and explore new opportunities • Meet people from all walks of life, from younger people with a brain injury to older people living with dementia

To find out how you can get involved visit the ‘Support Us’ page on our website at


Brightwater’s roving reporter wrap-up Here’s a roundup of just some of the activities that have taken place recently across Brightwater.

We have launched our new set of values and the Brightwater Spirit across our organisation. What is the Brightwater Spirit? You can’t touch it, but you can feel it everywhere. It captures who we are and how it feels to be part of the Brightwater community. It identifies how we behave with each other and our clients. It is the way we connect with and recognise each other. At Brightwater, we are connected by one spirit. Our spirit is authentic. We are honest, accountable, inclusive and understanding.


Dinner for 700 guests? No problem! Our catering team, including Robert and George (pictured), have been cooking meals from our recently launched new menu for our aged care residents.

Residents across Brightwater have been receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations, including Virginia Harrison, who was the first ever Brightwater resident to receive the vaccine. “I felt it was important to make sure I had it, not so much for my own health, but to make sure I couldn’t pass it onto others, getting the vaccine is a way we can make sure we protect each other,” she said.

Resident at Brightwater Marangaroo, Des, had a wish, to meet his beloved football team, the West Coast Eagles; we are pleased to say we granted Des his wish, thanks to the generous donations from our community and our corporate partners. Des had exclusive sideline access to see the West Coast Eagles train in preparation for the upcoming footy season, and you can see by his smile just how much it made his day! Thank you West Coast Eagles for making this possible.

Brightwater is participating in a trial, on behalf of the WA Department of Health, for rapid point of care testing for COVID-19 (Antigen Point-of-Care Testing (Ag PoCT). We are the first aged care provider to be part of this trial in WA, which will determine if this testing can be used in the future.


The Easter Bunny hopped in to visit our residents across a number of Brightwater homes, along with Class Act Performers performing a special Easter song and dance.

We have launched our Getaway for a Day program, giving our clients the opportunity to enjoy excursions, funded by generous donations from our community. Sculpture by the Sea was the first outing, with clients enjoying a guided tour through the exhibition, followed by fish and chips at the beach.

There’s a group of very talented artists at Brightwater’s Kingsway Court Retirement Village. The Art Group recently held an art exhibition in their club house area, showcasing some of the great pieces created by the residents.

Rayma, who is one of our Brightwater at Home clients, has a strong connection with Perth Zoo. Her father lived in a house there when he was a child in the early 1900s, and he would often tell Rayma stories of waking up to the sound of the big cats. Rayma was treated to a day out, with the fantastic Perth Zoo team bringing many of the animals to her for a close encounter. She said a highlight was feeding Tricia the elephant a loaf of raisin bread, and feeding the Galapagos tortoises. Thank you to the team at Perth Zoo for making this special day possible.


We celebrated the commencement of construction of our new intergenerational campus incorporating a contemporary 128 bed residential aged care community, a dedicated research centre and a new corporate office, located in Inglewood.

Brightwater The Oaks would like to say a big thank you for the kind donations they have received from families and friends. Joseph Kelly‐Seymour, who was awarded a certificate of appreciation for his recent contribution, made bird boxes that have a swinging frog underneath to bring some fun to The Oak’s garden areas.

Brightwater Joondalup resident, Shirley, has six children, 17 grand-children and 31 great grand-children. She has always been supporting, loving and caring for her family throughout their lives; and that's how she is with everyone she meets. All 54 family members are very proud of everything she has achieved and passed on to the family. We surprised Shirley with a very special family reunion spanning four generations.

Residents from our supported independent living homes were up bright and early, to sell succulents that they had creatively potted at the Sunday Community Markets in Canning Vale. This group are part of our Weekend Entrepreneurs program, which engages residents on weekends to pot and decorate succulents, to get them ready for sale. The money raised will be put back into the program, enabling The Weekend Entrepreneurs to continue their love of creatively potting succulents.


Brightwater Care Group Ltd Brightwater House, Level 3 355 Scarborough Beach Road Osborne Park WA 6017

T 1300 223 968 E W ABN 23 445 460 050 ACN 612 921 632