News & Events

Ali turns back the clock

September 30, 2016

Ali Gwyer Braeside Park

Ali Gwyer has turned back the clock since moving into an assisted living apartment at Braeside Park six years ago. It was meant to be a temporary move while her Rushall Park cottage was being renovated, but now she couldn’t imagine leaving her home.

“I walked in that first day and thought, no, this is home for me and I never wanted to leave. Small is beautiful and the space and gardens around me are so lovely. There are interesting people living and working nearby and plenty of things to do,” she said.

Ali, who lives with chronic osteo-arthritis, a heart condition and a complex range of other health issues, believes the move to Braeside Park has had a major impact on her health and wellbeing and she feels better now and is more mobile than she has been for many years.

“I loved Rushall Park, but I was living alone in the cottage and I don’t think I was eating well at all and I had put on weight. When I moved into the assisted living apartment at Braeside Park the meals were all provided. The food is very fresh and the meals are nutritious so all of a sudden I was eating much better and I lost weight, which has had a really positive affect on my health,” Ali said.

Gayl Pedersen, Apartments Supervisor at Braeside Park, said staff work hard to provide food that residents need and enjoy eating. She said the freshest fruit, vegetables and meat are selected and all meals are cooked on site, even on the weekends. There are 14 residents in the assisted living apartments; some with particular dietary requirements or health issues, such as diabetes, and the cooking staff are committed to meeting that need.

“Food isn’t just about nutrition, it’s something that residents can look forward to during the day. Our staff get to know who likes what, who needs what sort of food and they provide that. We encourage the residents to come to the community room to eat because they engage with each other. But if they are unwell then we take meals to their rooms,” Gayl said.

Ali, 77, gets around the apartment and village using a walker and for any longer trips she uses an electronic scooter parked nearby. She regularly goes into Berwick, which is a short ride. Her apartment is perfectly laid out for someone with mobility problems and she moves about with ease.

“The staff here have a holistic approach to the residents, and for me, as someone who taught and still practises meditation, that is really important,” Ali said.

Ali, who taught most of her life, from kindergarten-aged children right through to TAFE students, took early retirement in 1996 because of health issues. She had become interested in meditation during her years as a teacher and went on to teach it to others and now practises it daily to help with pain relief and sleep. She also attends weekly armchair yoga classes in nearby Cranbourne, which she believes have contributed to her improved health. She is a keen reader too and enjoys Radio National to keep her up to date with current affairs.

Residents in the apartments have their washing done and their house cleaned.  The residents’ alarm system gives Ali a great sense of security and she knows it works. After falling through the night once she activated her alarm and within a short time ambulance paramedics were on site caring for her.

“It’s a bit like living in a luxury hotel here with amazing staff. I am also surrounded by a lot of humour and a lot of care, so that’s better than a luxury hotel isn’t it?” she said.


Evon makes it a priority to help people make the move into a village as easy as possible. She also works to ensure the new residents feel a strong sense of welcome and belonging.

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