Blooming beds for Capecare Dunsborough residents

Capecare Dunsborough residents have blooming vegetable and flower beds to enjoy thanks to generous support from Dunsborough Lions Club and Bunnings Busselton.

Eight raised garden beds were designed, constructed, and delivered to the facility to enable residents to participate in the planting and growing of decorative and edible plants kindly donated by Bunnings.

Dunsborough Lions members donated $25,000 to Capecare for this project plus Dementia-enabling equipment in December 2021.

Capecare Dunsborough Facility Manager Tammy Goddard said the completed garden beds would provide enrichment to their residents ‘lives.

“The garden beds were designed so that residents of all mobility levels could get involved in the project and see the fruits of their work grow,” she said.

“The conversations and reminiscence, together with digging in the soil and tending the plants is very uplifting to hear around the facility.

“To date it has been received very well with our residents and visitors. We definitely have some keen gardeners in our plot.”

The next step in the project is to paint the beds and Capecare is grateful to Dulux for donating this product.


Smiling lady in hat watering a raised garden bed in a courtyard

Capecare Dunsborough resident Nola Teakle taking care of a new garden bed.

Capecare provides respite for seniors and their carers

Caring for a loved one with failing health at home can be a stressful and exhausting experience.

Busselton resident Jenny Seia knows only too well how difficult the journey can be. When she was offered respite services at Capecare for her husband Clem, who was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s in 2017, she also discovered some breathing space for herself.

“Our case worker recommended taking it one day at a time when Clem first started day visits to Capecare, as we weren’t sure how he would cope with the change,” she said. “But he loved it from day one, it’s been just marvellous.”

Clem, who is 84, now attends Capecare’s Social Centre three days a week and stays overnight in the Cottage Respite three nights a week, which allows Jenny to get things done around the house and have a well-earned rest.

“They can entertain him better than me and he has likeminded people there. The staff look after him so well and I know he’s in great hands,” she said.

“Without the Capecare staff I don’t know how I would cope. They’re so helpful. I took him there one day and he was in a foul mood but by the time he came home he was happy. They’ve helped not just Clem but me too.”

Jenny and Clem have been married for 47 years and have six children. She’s seen Clem’s mental condition deteriorate gradually and being an active man presents challenges for her in keeping him busy but safe.  He’s no longer able to go on much-loved bike rides as he can end up far away from home, unable to find his way back.

“It helps me a lot being able to have days where Clem goes to the Social Centre, I can do things in the house without needing to entertain him. It helps my sanity. When he’s home I don’t get much done. I can put the TV on but it only works for so long. We often drive around for a couple of hours just to keep him occupied.”

Jenny recounted Clem returning from a recent Capecare, excited that there were some guys visiting who provided great company for him. ”It makes me smile because he’s happy there.  When he now says I’m going home, he means Capecare.”

Capecare’s Cottage Respite recently reopened after being temporarily closed because of COVID aged care home restrictions. Community members like Clem can stay for 1 night to two weeks depending on their circumstances. From January Cottage Respite will be available seven days a week.

Cottage Respite rooms provide an accessible bedroom and ensuite bathroom, and 24-hour care by trained staff.

Clients using the Cottage Respite service also have access to the Capecare Social Centre which is open Monday to Friday.

Both services are co-located at Capecare’s Busselton facility on Ray Avenue and available to local seniors and people living with a disability who have an assessed need and meet the required criteria.

“We’ve seen great benefits for people who don’t have the opportunity to interact with a lot of people when they’re at home,” Capecare Home and Community Manager Rachel Meares said.

“The Social Centre offers seniors the opportunity to socialise and connect and take part in an array of activities, events and outings, as well as offering respite to carers supporting a loved one at home.

Transport is available to and from the centre.

For more information, contact Rachel Meares on 9750 2097 or


Happy 100th Birthday Eddi!

Capecare Busselton resident Eddi Cowling has packed a lifetime of adventure into her 100 years.

She’s been a lorry driver for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), a British Red Cross volunteer nurse, and an amateur dramatics singer and performer. She has a passion for ballroom dancing, Donna Leong murder mysteries, Queen Elizabeth II, crosswords and travel.

Eddi hails from Yorkshire and emigrated to Australia 40 years ago. She’s retained a delightful sense of humour and a twinkle in her eye.

Travel has been a constant in her life and she was keen to get moving by her late teens, when World War II was being fought.

“I always wanted to drive but my dad wouldn’t teach me because not many girls drove ‘in them days’. Bless him. My dad was lovely though, very understanding.

“I thought that if women were being called up to war, then I may as well join and do something I enjoy.

“So I left home and joined the WAAF and learned to drive before I turned 20. I drove lorries, not quite the size of the trucks you see now. I drove within England from the aerodrome, stationed mostly in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and London for a time.”

Eddi has loved ballroom dancing all her life and met husband Geoffrey on the dancefloor.

When living in Hertford in Hertfordshire, she joined the local amateur dramatics society.

“I loved acting, it was in the years when they used to write proper music. Rogers and Hammerstein, started with Oklahoma then Carousel. Beautiful songs. I sang in the chorus, I can sing in tune but haven’t got a strong voice.”

Eddi and Geoffrey married in 1951 and moved around the UK with his work as a town planner. She has enjoyed many holidays in Italy, France, Spain, Yugoslavia and Africa.

Her and daughter Julia are great friends, and when Julia emigrated to Australia for work in 1982, Eddi and Geoffrey followed. They lived in Sydney for 16 years, enjoying their retirement and making new friends. When Julia later moved to Western Australia, they again followed and spent approximately seven years in Margaret River before Edna moved to Capecare when Geoffrey passed away.

“I say to a lot of young people: do try to travel. Travelling is all about gaining experience. You learn about other people’s lives and what it’s like living in different countries, meeting different people. You then get friends dotted all over.”

When asked about proud moments from her life, Eddi recalls her time spent volunteering with British Red Cross. She joined after moving to a new town and although she hadn’t planned to be a nurse, she thought it would be a way to make new friends. She stayed with the Red Cross for more than 20 years.

Among her fond Red Cross memories was competing. Competitions were held regularly nationwide to test the knowledge of nursing standards. The competitions were used to highlight expertise and encourage funding from the community.

“We got to London in a first aid competition, up against different counties. We came fifth. The people who won came from Scotland, so they probably had nothing better to do!” she laughed.

“I’ve got lovely memories from it and made everlasting friends until they went. That’s the sadness of getting old.”

Eddi has a striking photo of her in a Red Cross uniform. “It was taken outside of St Pauls in London, on the centenary of the Red Cross in 1963. It was a lovely occasion; the Queen was there, I got to see her, but I didn’t get to shake her hand.

“The Queen was a lovely young woman. She did a good job. I ached for her when Phillip died as I think he was her rock and I still shed tears for her.”

When mentioning that she would be amongst the first to receive a letter from the King for her 100th birthday, she waved it off, saying “I’ve got friends who are over 100, it isn’t as uncommon these days. 70 was once old, my darling dad went at 70. We’re doing something right living longer aren’t we?”

While age has slowed Eddi physically, she hasn’t slowed down mentally, making a point of regularly challenging herself.

“I find it very hard to believe I’m the age I am. I know I’m fortunate, I’ve got my own teeth, most of them, and a sense of humour!

“I do crosswords and cryptic puzzles. They sometimes baffle me but I like the challenge.

“I also like reading, especially whodunits by Donna Leon. They’re very clever books, so you learn from them. They are set in Venice and Italy and I’ve read some of her books twice. I like them so much one dropped on my foot the other day! Blood everywhere! But I’ve forgiven her.  “She writes knowing that whoever is reading it is sensible enough to know what she’s saying. She’s very human, not hoity toity.”

“I have a lovely room here at Capecare surrounded by my pictures – Julia’s paintings of Leeds, an English bluebell wood, and of Italy. I love northern Italy around the lakes on the border of Switzerland, Lago Maggiore.”

Eddi says she has enjoyed a good life. “Yes I would say I’ve had a very happy life so far, I’ve had my ups and downs and emotional rollercoasters, but I try to see the other person’s point of view, we’re not always right.”

“I’m not very good at giving out advice, we’re all very different, aren’t we? We all have different values. But you’ve got to try and keep an open mind and a sense of humour and keep your mind active.

“Make the most of life all the time and travel. Meet people, and if you have an ambition try to follow it. Don’t take offence quickly and be prepared to listen to people.

Happy 100th Birthday Eddi from everyone at Capecare, we love your sense of humour, warmth and positive attitude.

Buses, school days and community service provide fond memories for Capecare resident

Community service has been a mainstay for Busselton resident Rae Cooper, and it’s what she recommends to live a happy and fulfilled life.

We spoke to 93-year-old Rae on the eve of International Day of Older Persons and asked her what advice she would give to youngsters.  “Involve yourself in your community and care for your neighbours,” Rae said.

From girl guiding to the YWCA (Young Christian Women’s Association), local government, Freemasons Ladies and Busselton Jetty, community volunteering and involvement has been ever-present in Rae’s life.

“I was a girl guide in the 1st Perth Pioneer guides. We lived south of the Swan River and used to catch the bus to their headquarters in a hall on St Georges Terrace behind St Georges Cathedral. We would do all sorts of activities and they taught you to give.”

Rae was a foundation student of Santa Maria College in Attadale where she has fond memories of being taught by the Mercy nuns, school sports and swimming carnivals. She witnessed the Archbishop lay the foundation stone for the school before it was completed in 1938.

“I was also a member of the YWCA when I was a bit older, during the war. Mum was in the YWCA too in the 1920s. The Weld Club in Perth gave over their premises for the women in the army so they had somewhere to meet. It was otherwise an exclusive men’s club but they passed it over to the women during the war. The first time my sister Pam and I went there was with our mother. She said: ‘you’re coming with me girls’ and Pam and I thought, ‘that’s nice!’ but when we arrived, we had a great big tub put in front of us filled with potatoes and onions to peel them for the cook! Not quite as exciting as we hoped. Mum also taught us to help, especially during the war.

“Perth was a lovely place to grow up, you could ride your bike wherever you wanted, you were never frightened. Mum used to pack a lunch and we’d walk from our place in Attadale right through the bush to Jandakot, sometimes with the dog and the cat! You wouldn’t do that now!”

“As kids we always went away for school holidays. Mum took myself and my sister to the Porongurups and to Beverley. We had a beach house at Waikiki right on the water when I was a bit older. When we were very young, Dad used to hire a house in Palm Beach or Rockingham, when it was in the country!”

Her father Ronald Carroll, along with Mr Lawrie Withers and Mr WJ Sumpton founded the first bus company on the south side of the Swan River, running on Canning Highway from Perth to Fremantle. This was later merged with Metro Buses and eventually bought by the State Government. The buses played a significant role in her childhood.

“Mother and Dad had busy lives with Melville growing rapidly. Mother was always there by his side supporting him.

“Dad served 26 years in Local Government in the City Melville. He was the first elected member of the Road Board (1946) and Deputy Chairman, the first and only President of the Town of Melville, and the first Mayor of the City of Melville retiring in 1971.

“He was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1970 for this service and was made the first honorary freeman of the City of Melville. My mother was very involved in the duties that came with Dad’s roles in local government.

“They asked me once if I would I cater for their supper when they lost one of their staff, and they must have liked my cooking as I ended up doing catering for the council, for love!”

Rae married her first husband Lyall Commins in Fremantle and they had four children, all of whom live around Busselton and the south west. She said he passed away when he was quite young.

The family moved to the wheatbelt when Lyall moved into local government in the Shire of Quairading. Lyle helped to establish a kindergarten there in the 1960’s with other mothers.

“Once I married and had my children, I did not work full time but had several part times positions over the years in amongst many volunteer roles in community organisations,” she said.

“I’ve been to America and Canada and to England but we mainly had driving holidays. When my first husband retired it was his dream to go around Australia in a caravan. I didn’t think I would like it, but I did. Tasmania was one of my favourite places.”

Rae moved into an Independent Living Unit at Capecare with second husband Desmond Cooper approximately 20 years ago. Three years ago she moved into the Prevelly Residential Care wing.

She says having happy marriages was one of her greatest achievements.

Rae said she is in reasonable health but doesn’t get out as much now she isn’t driving but enjoys the activities Capecare provides and being able to walk along the beach most days. Her family comes to visit every weekend.

“The fact that the Ray Family gifted this land is just amazing, I’m sure you wouldn’t find another retirement village in this setting nowadays. I think it’s really uplifting to be able to get down to the beach.

“Physical activity is very important and they put on a lot of different activities for us here.

“There are so many volunteers here, its mind boggling! One good thing about living in the country is that people are more community minded. We’ve got a lot of people in Busselton who are community minded.

“We’ve got two girls here, Brenda and Pam who drive the buses, they’re amazing drivers, they take us out, we went out yesterday to Dunsborough. It was just magic looking at the colours across the water. I love being back on the buses, it makes me think of dad.”


20 Ray Ave, Busselton WA 6280
Ph: 08 9750 2000
Fax: 08 9755 4696

Community Care & Respite: 08 9750 2097


171 Naturaliste Tce, Dunsborough WA 6281
Ph: 08 9786 5555
Fax: 08 9786 5508

Community Care & Respite: 08 9750 2097


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ABN 77 630 179 279