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How Embracia nurtures the next generation of care providers

September 11, 2019

Australia is getting older and wiser – 1 in 7 Aussies, or 15% of the population, were aged 65 and over in 2017. Those figures are projected to increase over the next few decades. As our population continues to age, empathetic and competent care providers are needed more than ever.

Embracia believes in the transfer of valuable skills and knowledge to aspiring care providers through its prestigious student program. These students are an integral part of the community, cultivating friendships with residents and staff. The most promising candidates go on to become Embracia employees and leaders in the aged care industry.

More on our student program

This year, we have close to 300 students from up to 10 registered training organisations (RTOs) studying certificates in individual support and ageing support services. These students are poised for personal care assistant positions upon completion of their studies.

Embracia understands the need for more suitably qualified workers to be able to provide quality, person centred care to its residents.

Our approach to hands-on learning

Our students typically receive 120 to 160 hours of placement with our nursing home, as well as a comprehensive induction. To help them settle into this new environment, the students are assigned to certain lifestyle areas and sections of our aged care facility, giving them the opportunity to get to know the residents, who love seeing new faces in the home.

The benefit of this arrangement is two-fold: first, it gives the students an authentic experience of what it would be like to work in a care facility. Second, residents thrive on the attention, care, and engagement they receive, enabling them to create new friendships, if only for a short period of time.

Students wear colour coded name tags indicating to staff and residents that they are still in training so residents are aware that they are working in a limited capacity and can’t help with absolutely everything just yet. Our colour coded system works as follows

Blue- Student is new and only able to work in lifestyle.

Red- The student’s first few days in a household, they must have constant supervision from staff and are observing only.

Orange- As the student’s confidence and skills develop they are able to interact with residents more independently.

Green- Towards the end of the student program, it is all systems go and the student is able to work as they would as a Personal Care Worker.

Residents’ involvement in the student program

Our residents are usually the best opinions on how well the students have done during their work experience. Having a great relationship with the residents is often one of the best indicators that the student could be a good choice for a future role.

For their part, students have reported gaining fulfillment from the program as they get to experience the environment first hand, helping them see what it’s like to look after the residents and help them with day-to-day activities

They learn the importance of building relationships and friendships with residents and staff to make caring for residents a more enjoyable experience. This reduces any stress or discomfort for everyone in the community and helps students fulfill their duties to the highest levels.

How to join

Embracia has facilities in Reservoir and Moonee Valley. Dianna Chapman is in charge of Education, Learning and Development.

Get in touch with us  to find out how you can join our student program and start a career in the aged care industry.

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A Trip Down Memory Lane- the benefits of reminiscing in aged care

July 24, 2019

Reminiscence can be a powerful tool when working in aged care.
There are many positive benefits to reminiscence and various activities that can be utilised to recall memories. By reminiscing, it can help the elderly to find meaning, form friendships and in some instances can help to gain closure.

What is reminiscence?

Reminiscence, sometimes described as “random remembering”, is the joyful recollection of people, experiences, and relationships from the past. This is often done through storytelling, daydreaming, and nostalgia.

Anyone who has lived to a certain age will indulge in reminiscence at one point, like remembering the movie you watched on your 10th birthday, getting your first car, or the dress your wife wore the day you proposed.

As we advance into old age, reminiscence takes on more significance. Experts who have studied aging and memory believe that seniors who were able to look back on life events in all their highs and lows enjoyed a greater deal of satisfaction.

For the American Psychological Association (APA), reminiscence in the form of oral and/or written histories is used in therapy to improve psychological well-being.  Psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers have used it to help the elderly cope with some of the challenges that come with old age.

Although it is often used interchangeably with “life review”, some practitioners differentiate between the two.

While reminiscence is the spontaneous, passive, and simple recollection of memories, life review is a more structured process that revolves around certain life themes relating to the participant’s childhood, family life, and career, just to name a few.

Why revisit the past?

There are many benefits to reminiscing, including:

  •  Closure – Reminiscence allows individuals in aged care to look back on past conflicts with the benefit of hindsight, maturity, forgiveness, and understanding, allowing them to move forward and live in the present.
  • Meaning – People tell stories to create meaning. Reminiscence helps the elderly recreate their lives’ meaning by connecting the past with the present. It’s also a way for them to reflect on their accomplishments so that they develop a deeper appreciation for what they have done in their lives.
  • Quality of life – Those who reminisce have been shown to have a better outlook on life. Remembering and sharing positive memories not only lifts their mood and self-esteem, it also eases depression. It offers relief to seniors who are less mobile, as it helps them go back to a time when they were more physically active.
  • Communication – As residents engage in animated conversations about the past, memories and emotions are ignited, increasing their ability to communicate. It also allows them to communicate in ways that are meaningful and more personal to them.
  • Connection – Reminiscing can be done in groups, helping residents find common interests and experiences, and gives them opportunities to connect meaningfully with new people.
  • Family history – It helps preserve memories that can be passed down from one generation to another, forging family histories.

Reminiscing activity ideas

Reminiscing can be done one-on-one, within groups, or within families. Having a reminiscence group in a nursing home enables the elderly to start friendships with those in their group and gives them other people to confide in. The spontaneous and unstructured quality of reminiscence also puts them at ease, encouraging them to share more of their recollections in a warm and lively setting.

These ideas can help you get started:

  • Guessing games – Let participants guess the name of an object, place, or famous personality by giving them clues.
  • Famous faces – Show them photos of famous people from past decades to jog their memory and spark conversation.
  • Songs from the past – Bring in an old turntable, play popular songs from their era, and have them guess the title and the artist.
  • Famous movie quotes – Read out popular quotes from old movies and have them guess the title.
  • Games they played as kids – Describe popular kids’ games and toys from their era and have them guess what it is.
  • Remembering the year – Every year and decade has its fads, cultural movements, and historic events. Choose a year or decade, and encourage the participants to share meaningful anecdotes from that time in history.

Through our varied lifestyle program, Embracia plans meaningful and engaging activities for their residents. Often these activities involve reminiscence and evoke a lot of warm and happy memories for our residents.

If you would like to learn more about our program, Contact Embracia today or book a tour and we will happily show you what we are all about.

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The Benefits of Living in a Pet-Friendly Nursing Home

June 18, 2019

Live the best years of your life with an animal companion by your side. There are many benefits of pet-friendly aged care in Melbourne.

Pet-friendly aged care facilities increase the satisfaction and happiness among the elderly, as well as resulting in fewer animal surrenders to pet shelters.

The joys of pet ownership

Pet ownership is mentally beneficial to people of all ages. Bonding with pets for as little as 15 minutes can lower cortisol levels and increase the production of serotonin – that means playing catch with your toy poodle or taking your golden retriever out for a walk can leave you feeling less stressed and happier overall.

And there’s no better time to enjoy the companionship of a devoted pet than in your golden years. With more time to care for pets, you can provide a better quality of life to animals in need of a home.

Retirees who are no longer able to engage in activities they used to enjoy, or stay in touch with friends, will find consolation in the company of their furry friends.

Other benefits include:

  •  More physical activity. Pets, particularly dogs, encourage their owners to engage in light physical activity such as playing, cleaning, and daily walks.
  •  More social interaction. Pet owners generally have more opportunities to socialize by meeting other pet owners or talking to people who show       interest in their pets.
  • Better morale. Pets are known to improve their owners’ mood, lessening feelings of loneliness and isolation, and giving them a renewed sense of purpose.
  • Increased alertness. Pets’ reliance on their owners can make you feel more alert and mentally present.
  • Routine. Pet ownership requires work, but caring for one gives structure to day-to-day life, with owners having to follow regular feeding times and exercise.

The need for pet-friendly aged care services

Despite the benefits of pet ownership, however, only 18% of residential aged care facilities in Australia allow retirees to take their pets with them, according to a 2017 study by the Animal Welfare League of Australia (AWLA). The study also found that 7% of pet surrenders were related to the need for aged care, with over 9,600 surrenders to the RSPCA believed to be elderly-related.

These statistics point to the need for pet-friendly aged care services. The good news is that there are some aged care facilities that acknowledge the benefits of pet ownership and the need for animals to stay with their owners.

The primary benefits of pet-friendly aging care services include:

  •  A reduced need to surrender pets to shelters, particularly older pets that may have difficulty finding a new home
  • Smoother transition to aged care
  • Increased morale for both staff and residents

How to choose a pet-friendly nursing home in Melbourne

There are several factors to consider when choosing a pet-friendly aged care service provider, including:

  • Policies. A nursing home often allows pets based on certain conditions, such as the number, size, and breed of your animal companions. The majority of pets in residential facilities are dogs and cats, though fish and birds are also allowed
  • They will also make sure that your pet is full vaccinated and non-disruptive to other residents and animals in the nursing home.
  • Space. How much space does the community offer? Though caged animals, such as birds, have no need for open space, other animals, such as dogs and cats, must have room to play and roam.
  • Security. The facility must be secure enough so that your beloved pets will not be able to escape or get lost or trapped.
  • Support. Does the community have a support group for pet owners? You will be expected to take full care of your pet, but the existence of support groups will make caring for your pet less overwhelming and more fulfilling.

Embracia understand the needs of its residents and the important role pets play in their lives. This pet-friendly community offers the highest quality of care and a lifestyle-focused approach in order to create a warm and friendly environment for residents and their pets.

If you would like to find out more about Embracia and their pet friendly philosophy, feel free to contact us today for a chat or a tour of one of our homes.

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The Benefits of Staying Active

May 8, 2019

The World Health Organisation Declares Aged Care Activity A Lifesaver

Here at Embracia, we’ve instinctively known that keeping our residents active is an integral part of their overall care regime, and the good news is that the World Health Organisation agrees. They have now released research stating the concrete benefits of staying active as we get older - and there are many. Read on to find out how keeping active can help your ageing family member.

Redefining Wellness at Embracia Aged Care Homes

These days we measure physical health by how much functionality a person has. Function is measured by the ageing person’s ability to perform the things they need to do to feel physically and emotionally well.

The concept of well being has three aspects, social, mental and physical. Activity should always aim to improve at least one of these three aspects of life. Residents report an increase in feeling connected to the world and one another after undergoing physical activity, these feelings do wonders for their mental well being.

The process of ageing is challenging enough, here at Embracia we want to make sure our residents feel as well as possible for as long as possible.

Embracia Keeps People Moving

At Embracia, we tailor our care to your loved one’s needs. Some of the more ‘active’ of the activities we do with residents include walking groups around the neighboring streets. We find the residents love to get out in the sun and see the local neighborhood around both of our Melbourne based nursing homes.

There are also daily group exercise classes with Karina the physiotherapist, and we put on carpet bowls and Bocce on rainy days. There’s also handball to keep hand/eye coordination sharp and of course each month residents find themselves at RSL socials where they can dance to live music. We also bring in live entertainers for the residents who are less able to get out and about, but are still keen to be involved and keep active.

Activity: Four Essential Elements Of Aged Care

One of the first benefits we start seeing is an improvement in the ability to reach and balance. When your loved one is encouraged to be active, it gives them confidence and independence.

2. Longevity

Gentle exercise like walking can add several years to your lifespan. The World Health Organisation reports that sedentary living is one of the top causes of disability and early death.

3. Fall Prevention

Activity and gentle exercise reduce not just falls but the fear of falling. Confidence is gained through improved strength and balance. If falls have been an issue for your loved one, our physiotherapist can help them work on building muscle and preserving bone density to help reduce the instance of falls in the future.

4. Relieve Chronic Pain

Many residents live with chronic pain. Gentle activity increases blood flow to the heart which keeps cholesterol levels down and therefore reduces incidents of stroke or heart disease. It can also help reduce pain and to manage all sorts of physical conditions by increasing muscle tone, strength and ability.

Understand the Embracia Aged Care Experience

Discover the benefits of staying active at Embracia Aged Care homes, contact us on 1800 281 274 to book a tour.

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Day Respite Centre opening at Moonee Valley- April 2019

March 19, 2019

Embracia Moonee Valley is happy to announce the opening of our Day Respite Centre in late April 2019, a welcoming haven for clients over the age of 65 years. Loved ones can be dropped off to experience Embracia Moonee Valley on a Wednesday and/or Thursday between 9.30 am- 3.00 pm. These days will increase in line with demand over time.

This is a wonderful opportunity to give your loved one a taste of what it’s like at an aged care facility. They’ll be able to rest and interact with others in the community in a completely safe and friendly environment.

High quality short term aged care

The day respite program is overseen by qualified nursing staff providing the highest level of care for our visitors. Our team of personal carers, nurses and lifestyle staff will be on hand to provide assistance and support throughout the day.

Whilst an aged care assessment (ACAS) is preferred, it is not essential. The Aged Care Assessment does provide us with a complete medical history, however our qualified clinicians will also undertake their own assessment before admission to the program to ensure we can meet all the client’s care needs. The important thing is communication. We know you’re entrusting us with your loved one for the day and we don’t take that lightly.

Respite care for the whole family

Our designated lifestyle, nursing and care staff, will create a varied program of activities to keep our day centre clients engaged and inspired. Consider it a self-care outing for your loved one and a period of welcome respite for you. The day to day pressures of caring for an aging loved one can become overwhelming for even the most resilient family members, so taking a break is a wise and kind practice for both you and your loved one.

The introduction of a one or two day a week routine of respite care for your loved one will give your family and the primary caregiver some valuable time off. Whether you use it to run errands, catch a yoga class or just read a book at home. You’ll be giving yourself a well earned break at the same time as helping your relative ease gently into this next stage of life.

Fall In love with Embracia Moonee Valley

The scene is set for our visitors and residents to have a great day out at the Moonee Valley Day Respite centre. Everything from good coffee, delicious chef prepared meals, a funny movie, gentle exercise classes and an afternoon in the library or even a nurturing haircut. Clients will also have access to all amenities within the home including the café, outdoor spaces, chapel, physiotherapy, and the hair salon.

Our clients find the benefits of social interaction and getting involved with others in the aged community is a great way to help them feel connected. Just being out of the house and on an outing is a great way to lift their spirits.

An introduction to Aged Care

If you’re wondering about the future, the Moonee Valley Day Respite program is a great way for family members to ease their loved one into the aged care process gently. At some point they may need permanent care, so we’d love to welcome them and make them as comfortable as possible with the home, in-case that time may arise down the track.

There are lots of aged care facilities out there, but Moonee Valley is one of the few who takes a truly holistic approach to maintain the health and well being of our elderly clients. Our team of staff are compassionate leaders who go the extra mile for our residents to ensure their time in aged care is as comfortable, stimulating and fun as possible.

Contact Embracia Moonee Valley today

If you’d like your loved one to experience a day in the Respite Centre, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 8579 4800 or CLICK HERE to complete a quick form to register your interest. We can talk through their needs, book in a tour and make sure we have everything on hand to care for them while they’re with us.

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Welcome to David Turnbull, Manager at Embracia Moonee Valley

February 27, 2019

Embracia Moonee Valley welcomes David Turnbull as their newest Manager and member of the team.

David was born and bred in the inner North West. He understands the local community well after living in the area most of his life, attending College in Keilor and playing for community basketball and football clubs. David has a keen interest in cooking, keeping fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with his young family.

David’s previous role was as National Sales and Operations Manager at the Salvation Army. Here his work involved helping the less fortunate find new opportunities including many struggling elderly who are in need of a helping hand. Although this is his first foray into the Aged Care industry, his passion to help people is what drives him the most – and he’s excited about what he can bring to Moonee Valley’s rich ambience and culture.

“I’m committed to doing what I can to help people’s families feel comfortable knowing that their loved one is happy, safe and well cared for”, David said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives, which is what I love to do.”

David mentioned how especially grateful he is to be working within such a supportive team, and how comfortable he has felt from the beginning. “Walking in from day one, the level of care and inspiration has been tremendous from the Embracia team ” David explained.

“They’re always there to help each other, a very tight knit team with a lot of passion and energy.”

One of David’s driving interests is creating a positive environment for growth and opportunity, allowing current and new staff to pursue their own professional and personal goals.

“This is something of which I would like to build upon here at Embracia. This role has opened up a great opportunity to learn and grow, which is exactly the culture I want to nurture  here with the staff. As Embracia expands, this will mean new faces joining the team and more opportunities for all involved. So this will be an exciting time”.

Welcome to the Embracia team David, we are excited to have you on board.

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Christmas time at Embracia

December 19, 2018

December has been a busy month at Embracia for all our staff, residents, family and friends.
Our lifestyle calendar has been jam packed with activities to get everyone into the festive spirit, the count down is on until Christmas.

Embracia Moonee Valley got the celebrations off to a start with their annual Christmas BBQ. There was a massive turnout of around 400 people which was lovely to see so many family members and friends getting involved. All guests enjoyed a tasty BBQ with over 1000 sausages cooked on the day. We had live entertainment with Sam Balbo who always gets residents singing and dancing, as well as a visit from Santa himself!


We have also featured a Christmas themed high tea, made Christmas tree decorations in our art and craft workshop and challenged the residents with Santa origami. Some of our residents traveled to the East Keilor RSL for their Christmas lunch function, whilst others enjoyed an outing to the Milleara Mall to organise their Christmas shopping for loved ones.

Last week we held our resident Christmas luncheon. Cam cooked a delicious Christmas feast, there were presents for everyone and the beautiful sounds of students from prep to grade 6 from St Martin’s De Porres school choir performing Christmas carols.

Today at Embracia Reservoir our residents are also being treated to their delicious Christmas lunch. Tonight they will also host their annual carol service with family and friends, which is a highlight of the Christmas Calendar for those involved.

We are looking forward to our New Year Eve Happy hour celebrations later this month to conclude another busy year of our lifestyle program in both Moonee Valley and Reservoir. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the holiday season, from the team at Embracia Victoria.


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Introducing Cameron Lochhead and the dining experience at Embracia Moonee Valley

December 5, 2018

Embracia Moonee Valley welcomed Cameron Lochhead as their Kitchen Manager only a few months ago, and already he is having a big impact on the dining experience within the home. He leads a team of talented chefs and kitchen hands who together, create a healthy and well balanced menu that is seasonally appropriate and continually changing. Cam has been an integral part of making meal time more of an 'experience' for our residents. Food is such an important part of our residents day, so it needs to not only taste delicious, but be presented in a visually appealing way.

Meal time is often the highlight of a resident’s day. At Embracia, our intimate households’ feature lovely dining spaces that give off a warm vibe, a French Provincial ‘home like’ interior in which the meal can be enjoyed.

Our kitchen team cater delicious, healthy and vibrant meals for all our residents and their guests. We happily provide choice for our residents when it comes to the menu and cater for a wide range of tastes, preferences and cultural/religious needs. After all, incorporating a well planned menu that provides a balanced diet and a focus on elderly nutrition is key to ensuring our residents are taken care of.

Residents living with dementia have a far lower intake of food and fluids due to their decreased recognition of hunger and thirst. Their sense of taste and smell is reduced, and difficulties with swallowing may also arise. Our kitchen staff serve custom modified dishes that fully enhance the aesthetic appeal of all our served meals, regardless of the resident’s cognitive abilities. The dining experience needs to encapsulate taste, aroma, colour and texture- so presentation of food is of paramount importance. After all “we eat with our eyes’.

We have introduced the use of hot steaming face washes soaked in an orange citrus essential oil for residents to freshen up before their meal. Residents have loved this new routine, it has had a great impact on stimulating their appetite and providing a positive association in preparation for meal times.

In these memory support households our expert staff use verbal communication and non verbal gestures that focus fully on the individual. Everyone has a different way of savoring their meal, with some residents preferring to chat between mouthfuls, some love a truly peaceful and silent dining experience while others like to observe their friends eating their meals whilst being assisted with their own. Meal times are equally important for social interaction within the household.

At Moonee Valley we have recently introduced a ‘Food Focus Group’ which is held every second Friday in the Men’s lounge. This group is facilitated by our wonderful volunteer Amilia, and is a wonderful way for residents to give constructive/positive feedback on the food, menu ideas and suggestions. The focus group also decide what cooking group sessions will be held for the month. Most recently in November, the cooking group made Krispeli Italian donuts, Anzac biscuits and Firatelli Italian Waffles. This is a great way for residents to give their input into the lifestyle program based on what interests them, and leads to greater attendance and involvement in activities around the home.

A Chat with Cameron

Cameron started his career 18 years ago in a Spanish restaurant in Fitzroy. He learnt a lot of his core values in his time at this restaurant, in particular the skill of time management. From here he expanded his horizons and worked in a French fine dining bistro in the CBD where he completed his qualifications to become a qualified chef.

Cam has also spent 5 years working in Canada, New Zealand and London. In this time he had many interesting experiences including living with a British celebrity chef, meeting his wife, and even cooking for former British Prime Minister David Cameron at his residence at 10 Downing St. A career highlight that he will always remember. Given Cameron’s extensive experience overseas and in international restaurants, he likes to incorporate these influences into the menu to give our residents a taste of food from all over the world.

“I enjoy continually updating the menu and including dishes from different origins of the world. This upcoming menu will feature ,more dishes from abroad (Asian and Middle Eastern for example) while also balancing our main demographic of European and Mediterranean residents”.

We asked Cameron about special events throughout the year that are related to food. He replied, “having a great relationship with the lifestyle team really helps when planning for special occasions. With Christmas only around the corner we have a few special events centered around that, then Australia Day will be the next on the calendar where we will host a BBQ for the residents”.

Finally we asked Cameron what his favourite part of the job is, Cameron smiles and says “The residents are the main reason that I am here. My favourite aspect of the job is talking with the residents and finding out about their background, culture and upbringing. I love getting their constructive feedback and suggestions on our meals. Hearing about what types of food they were brought up on and how they would gather for meal times throughout the year with family for special events and more traditional/religious times of the year”.

Our kitchen team at Embracia always encourage feedback and suggestions on the food and our menu. We love to hear about the meals that you particularly enjoy! You are also welcome to share a meal with your loved at any time for a small nominal fee. Just provide Catherine at reception a day’s notice for catering purposes, and she will happily organise this with the kitchen for you.

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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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We know that purpose is the key to a happy and healthy lifestyle. at’s why we focus on creating a dynamic and engaged community.