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Celebrating Spring Racing at Embracia Moonee Valley

October 30, 2018

Another Cox plate, another Winx win…..and another jam packed Spring Racing Carnival for our residents!

At Embracia we are always looking for ways to help add meaning to our resident’s lives and bring both fun and relevant entertainment into our homes. We keep our lifestyle program varied and interesting, and most importantly try to keep our residents connected with everything that is happening in our local community. It’s not only about helping residents reminisce about their past, it’s also about connecting with the present. Being only a stone’s throw away from Moonee Valley Racecourse, our home is always abuzz during Spring Racing Carnival, and this year has been no exception.

Embracia Moonee Valley has embraced the rich history of horse racing in the area and has had a strong connection with the Cox Plate in particular. In fact, being a local facility, all our households have been named after Cox Plate champions from both today and yesteryear.  Our households include Phar Lap, Manikato, Young Idea, Chatham, Kingston Town, Tulloch, Northerly and after the present champion racehorse Winx. Even our cafes are named after champions Black Caviar and Carbine, and we have Makybe Diva and a So You Think hair salons to pamper our residents. Needless to say, we have embraced the history of Moonee Valley and our residents and staff always love this time of year.

Our Spring Carnival celebrations have been extra special this year with a visit from part Winx owner Debbie Kepitis in the lead up to the Cox Plate last week.

Debbie shared her story with residents, family members and staff about Winx’s humble beginnings. She knew that Winx was a special horse, “the first Cox plate was the thrill of being in it…and to win an unbeatable record was amazing…(Winx) won against top class horses”.  That still gives Debbie “goosebumps”.  She continued to state “Winx has won 3 of the biggest races in Australia year after year…and …all of the races are (her) favourite”.  She cannot pick one.

Winx is a special horse because “she loves to race…she has the fire in her”.

Debbie gifted Embracia a copy of the book written by Andrew Rules  “Winx: The Authorised Biography” for residents to enjoy.

A big thank you to Mark Dodemarde who made Debbie’s impromptu visit possible and to Helen Dodemarde for orchestrating it all.

It has been a jam packed Spring Carnival for our residents as we now head into the Melbourne Cup next week.

Earlier in the month some of our residents went on an outing to the Moonee Valley Racecourse and enjoyed a beautiful lunch at the Legends’ restaurant. Residents were able to enjoy not only a great meal, but the history and ambiance of the racing environment.

Then it was a fascinator workshop where ladies and gents had fun designing and creating their own fascinators to be worn throughout the carnival at the various events being hosted by Embracia.

On October 25th we held the Cox Plate Social. Residents dressed up in their best outfits and wore their hand made fascinators. They reminisced about such events, sharing stories, singing and dancing as they would have done during socials in their heyday. Laughter and joy filled the room for residents and staff alike.  Many of our residents met their partners at such events so it’s a wonderful time of year for all involved.

On October 29th we were lucky enough to have yet another guest speaker visit us, Colleen Bamford, part owner of champion racehorse Americain. Americain won the Melbourne Cup in 2010 and the Cox plate in 2011 and Colleen shared with our residents her story of purchasing Americain in France and his journey to winning the Cup. Our residents were further delighted that Colleen brought in the Melbourne Cup, many having their photo taken with it for good luck. Colleen was extremely generous with her time and our residents really enjoyed hearing her story.

Coming up later this week we have the Melbourne Cup Social and a Cup sweep to conclude our Spring racing festivities for 2018.

Follow our Facebook  page to join in on the fun and stay up to date with what is happening in our homes.

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Exercise with Karina

October 3, 2018

At Embracia we host a diverse range of activities designed to create a sense of purpose and joy in the lives of our residents. The most popular activity in our program is 'Exercise with Karina'. This class is a gentle daily movement class that helps residents to get the blood flowing, ease aches and pains, have a little fun and feel more connected to others in their community.

The class started as a weekly event at our Moonee Valley home in February this year, but has since become so popular that Karina now hosts it at our Reservoir home as well. It is attended by between 15 to 20 residents each day and is particularly suited to those who want to nurture their physical, mental and emotional well being.

Karina Sproal is our in house physiotherapist at Embracia, she works between our two homes in Moonee Valley and Reservoir. We have recently recruited Yongmin as part of her physio team to meet the growing demand from our eager residents. The exercise class can be combined with our physio or massage services, but the residents who do participate are finding that “Exercise with Karina” relieves the need for extra bodywork.


Karina is a gentle but enthusiastic teacher. She is passionate about keeping residents as independent as possible and has built a devoted following. Residents that take her class have reported back a wide range of physical and emotional benefits which is so pleasing to see.

Everyone in the class is treated individually, Karina adapts the movement patterns for attendees with any physical disabilities and encourages extra stretching for others. The goal is restoring independence without pushing too hard, so residents get to feel that they are still able to do things for themselves.


Encouraging physical well being was the original intent of the class, but Karina’s students have found the benefits go far beyond this. Easing physical discomfort is her specialty and she has seen her students gaining strength each week. Building strength enables residents to walk independently and reduces the likelihood of falls.

The social and emotional aspects of Karina’s classes are what really warm our hearts. We’ve seen isolated residents come out of their shells to have a laugh and connect with a sense of freedom and happiness again. The simple regular practice of movement has an incredible effect on the brain, and over time, the physical side of it becomes a secondary benefit.


For Karina, the joy of teaching is more than just seeing the benefits of the physical therapy. She loves talking to the residents and being able to make their day special. She understands that they get more out of this simple connection than they do from having a massage or one on one physio. She says that just being there with the residents and watching them have fun is a terrific experience.

Families often request that we make sure their loved ones come to the class, and our staff are happy to help. We’ve had residents with dementia not only share that they remember the class, but that it makes them feel happy. This is what gives Karina the most satisfaction, and it has inspired her to offer walking groups and Pilates classes for the residents of Embracia in the future.

If you would like to hear more about what we offer our residents at Embracia, feel free to contact us or book a tour of one of our homes today.

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