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Back to the beginning

In the 1950's, the area where SwanCare Bentley Park now stands was a dense pine plantation. A fire ravaged the plantation in 1957 which cleared the way for development, including the construction of Curtin University (then known as the WA Institute of Technology) and SwanCare Bentley Park (then known as Swan Cottage Homes).

SwanCare Bentley Park was born out of the vision of Dr Richard Cleaver, former Federal Member for Swan, who wanted to provide affordable homes for war widows.

This vision has grown to become WA's largest retirement and aged care site, home to over 1,000 residents in the community's extensive retirement village or within one of three residential aged care facilities.

Despite a name change, the core organisation behind Swan Cottage Homes and its ethos, structure and community-minded culture remains at SwanCare, a non-profit charitable organisation.

With almost 60 years of history behind it, SwanCare is WA success story, in part due to its continued growth and adaption to the needs of the modem retiree.

The Evolution

SwanCare's evolution includes an $80 million makeover which is now underway. Residents are already enjoying the award-winning retirement apartment complex, the landscaped piazza and a modernised "main street" with hairdresser and grocery store.

Before the end of the year, the site will also welcome a $20 million leisure precinct with club rooms, gymnasium, heated swimming pool, community pavilion with sound and light gardens.

In early 2020, a new 124-suite residential aged care facility - named SwanCare Ningana - will open, setting a new benchmark in aged care in Western Australia.

To find out more about these exciting developments, click here.








How keeping busy is bringing meaning and connection to the elderly

Just over a month ago, Ron Honey, a resident at SwanCare Waminda residential aged care facility, was asked if he’d like to take on the responsibility of caring for a new courtyard and garden to be used by residents.

Annemarie Kluvers, Diversional Therapist at Waminda approached Ron as she knew he had a keen interest in gardening so thought he’d be perfect for the job.

She knew that Ron “isn’t the bingo type” and would be well suited to an activity that kept him busy away from the hustle and bustle of the more boisterous activities on offer for residents, such as concerts or games.

Ron, who has battled mental health issues for many years, was quite reclusive, opting to eat meals in his room and generally stayed away from the various activities on offer around him.

This was Annemarie’s chance to get Ron out and about.

“I popped up to see him one day and asked if the new garden was something he’d like to take on.”

“I was surprised and pleased when he jumped at the chance.”

Getting to work

Growing up in Bindi Bindi (two and a half hours North East of Perth) in the Wheatbelt, Ron has always felt at peace when working the land.

He now wakes at 4am to clean the garden’s footpaths and water plants before settling down for breakfast. After breakfast, it’s onto pruning and looking after the garden’s two resident budgies.

“Before taking on the garden I really felt quite unattached, I just felt I wasn’t being useful,” Ron said. “Now, that I have purpose and I’m busy, I feel a lot happier.”

Not only does Ron enjoy nurturing the garden’s flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit trees, he gets a kick out of helping others.

“I get a tremendous buzz from seeing other people enjoy the garden too.”

Sometimes Ron and Annemarie take trips together to the local Bunnings store to pick up supplies for the garden, which Ron welcomes with a smile and glint in his eye.

Annemarie says such a simple initiative has resulted in enormously positive changes in Ron’s mental health.

A new lease of life

“I’ve seen a huge difference in Ron,” Annemarie said. “Instead of spending his days in his room, he is out talking to people, laughing and smiling. It’s beautiful to see.”

Annemarie says that there are a number of residents at Waminda who thrive on the responsibility of tasks.

“There are residents taking on various tasks such as light administration duties, setting up for events or washing dishes,” said Annemarie.

“Just like anybody else, most people in aged care want to contribute and there are so many ways that they are still indeed useful.

“One of our residents, who is too frail for anything physical, regularly works alongside six other residents to spend time and work with children with disabilities who come to Waminda as part of a local initiative.”

“We always encourage residents to look at what they can do, not what they can’t do.”


The importance of keeping busy

Rob Donovan (PhD Psychology) is Adjunct Professor in the School of Human Sciences at the University of WA, and Founder of Mentally Healthy WA’s Act-Belong-Commit campaign and says that Ron’s story is a great example of the sorts of things that make us mentally healthy, regardless of age, but perhaps more important as we get older.

“Keeping active, having social connections, doing something for the benefit of others, and having a purpose in life are all good for our mental health”, said Prof Donovan. “Ron is also getting an extra boost through his contact with nature, which has direct mood enhancing effects”.

 “Many people intuitively know what is good for their mental health, but sometimes they are in a position where they find it difficult to do something or lack the opportunity. Ron is fortunate in that he had someone on hand with a knowledge of his interests and was able to nudge him back into doing something that would not only use his skills but would be something he would enjoy”, Prof Donovan said.

Donovan advises seniors wanting to improve their mental health to think about activities that work for them.

“Look around and see how you can help others, re-connect with old friends, think of a hobby or something you used to enjoy and get back into it if you’re still able to,” Prof Donovan said.

Gardening goals

For now, Ron is committed. “If anyone wants to take the job off me now they’ve got a hell of a fight on their hands,” Ron said with a laugh. “I truly love the garden.”


By Matt Southgate


Chances are you are reading this in the family home you have lived in for the last 20 or 30 years, or more. Recently, you’ve been wondering if it’s time to start looking at moving to a retirement village – but you’re not sure.

As a former real estate agent and now retirement living consultant, I’ve discovered that there are many reasons why people decide to move to a retirement village. I’ve compiled this list of the most popular reasons why people choose to move – and people who move for these reasons do not tend to regret their decision.


1. It’s too quiet

In the past your family home has been a place of action. It’s been filled with the sounds of laughter, children, parties, divided opinions and more family Christmas’s than you can remember. It’s been through the hammers of modifications, renovations, and garden makeovers.

Your home has seen you and your family grow and your kids move out and now maybe it is quiet, and starting to feel less suited to your needs.

There might be rooms in the house you don’t use, silently filled with belongings that all have a special place in your life but just the thought of sorting through it is all too overwhelming.


2. The work seems too much

Those jobs around the house are building up because you just don’t feel like doing them or your health won’t allow.  The bother and cost of maintaining household equipment, like your lawn mower or hot water system, are also becoming more of a nuisance.


3. The neighbourhood has changed

Perhaps the neighbours your kids grew up with have moved away and although the new family next door seem perfectly nice they are busy and quite often you don’t get to speak to them for weeks – or months – at a time.

It might seem like the neighborhood you live in has changed too, the streets are busier, crime reports are more frequent and there are times at night where you feel vulnerable when once you felt safe and secure.


4. You like to travel

You might be one of the lucky ones who are enjoying an active retirement with plenty of travel to do.

You might worry about your home while you are away, concerned that everything is safe and secure.

And, while it’s nice at the end of a trip to come back to your familiar family home, the overgrown lawn and the spiders who have made themselves at home are not the most pleasant of homecomings.


5. You’d like to be more socially active

You’d like to get out and do more with your day but not sure where to start or feel uneasy about it.  

These days, unless you belong to a club or organisation that meets regularly chances are you can go for weeks without talking to anyone and that can seriously affect your wellbeing.


6. All your money is tied up in the value of your home

You might have paid off your mortgage years ago but the savings you had put away for your retirement might now be getting low, which is worrying you. Most people still have a substantial amount of wealth but it is tied up in the value of the family home.


Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Moving and the sale of a house is not something most people do frequently in their lives and quite often people just don’t know where to start. There are so many questions, you don’t know what to do first and in the end it’s far easier to do nothing than start the process so that’s exactly what a lot of people do.

The problem is, the older we get the harder it becomes to actually make the move at all.

Like taxes, change is inevitable and it might be time to completely and honestly consider if your current home still meets your current needs and future desires.


Matt Southgate is the Retirement Living Consultant at SwanCare Bentley Park, WA’s largest integrated retirement and aged care site. Matt can be contacted at 6250 0016 or email matthew.southgate@swancare.com.au 



SwanCare Gardens Interest Group

By SwanCare Bentley Park’s Gardens Interest Group


Here in Perth, Western Australia, Autumn is a time when pests that like to attack plants seem to be very active such as scale, red spider mite and mealy bugs.


Mealy Bug

Picture: Mealy Bug

Red scaly mite

Picture: Red scaly mite


You can make your own pest oil spray from the recipe below but choose the cool of the day (below 25 degrees C) and after the bees have stopped foraging, to spray.


Homemade Oil Spray

250ml vegetable oil

¼ cup dishwashing liquid

Place in a bottle and shake to blend thoroughly. Store in a cool area.

Dilute at the rate of 1 tablespoon of concentrate per litre of water, before spraying both upper and under leaves. Use at half strength for natives plants.

Don’t be tempted to increase the strength of the liquid or you will burn the plant.

(Not suitable for plants with hairy leaves like palms, bromeliads and ferns.)


Pyrethrum is another choice. It is a natural, low persistence insecticide broken down by exposure to sunlight and remaining active for approximately 12 hours. It is suitable for controlling ants, scale, mealy bugs, grasshoppers, cockroaches, beetles, caterpillars, lice and mosquitoes.

Unfortunately, it may also kill beneficial insects, so again always use late in the day after the bees have returned to their hive.

The SwanCare Bentley Park Gardens Interest Group is a resident group that meets throughout the year to learn and discuss various gardening topics. In 2019 they will explore:

  • growing plants in pots, including bulbs & re-potting hints
  • succulents (some plants for sale)   
  • phalaenopsis orchids
  • native plants/grevilleas
  • Christmas ornament wreaths & flower arranging.

SwanCare Bentley Park is a full-service, integrated retirement village Bentley, Western Australia, sprawled over 15 hectares and home to over 1,000 residents.

Make an Enquiry

There are so many wonderful reasons why people choose our retirement villages. We invite you to visit and experience the SwanCare lifestyle at one of our retirement homes or aged care facilities in Perth, WA.

To book a tour or to request further information please enter your details below.

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