Senior communities crow about their artsy scarecrows


Residents of Autumn House Assisted Living took part in creating Princess Poppy.

SENIOR LIFE Jill Blue Gaines


Three Brevard senior living facilities unleashed their creative energies to fashion unique scarecrows that reflected the special characteristics of each of these communities. The ‘crows were part of the Viera Voice’s Scarecrow Stroll and Harvest Festival in October.

The inspiration for Autumn House’s Princess Poppy scarecrow came from an unlikely source, a child of one of the staff members. He suggested the star of the “Trolls” film as the perfect subject because of her stock-in-trade.

“Princess Poppy makes scrapbooks of happy memories,” said Molly Tucker, the admissions coordinator and marketing associate at Autumn House, a memory care facility in Viera.

“We try to make every day great and bring up good memories for our residents. The choice of Princess Poppy was meant to be.”

At least 25 of the residents took part in fashioning the Princess, who tops out at 7 feet of pink troll hair. Wearing a blue dress with the Autumn House logo and name tag, Poppy has a cheerful personality that enjoys the beauty of each day.

At Market Street, a memory care residence in Viera, the subject was baking with the Market Street Baker scarecrow. The baker ’crow emphasizes the facility’s interest in proper and tasty nutrition.

“Our chef always does a baking demonstration every day,” said Renee Rader, the business office coordinator.

“It’s one of the highlights of the day for residents.”

Attired in chef regalia, the ’crow sports a chef’s toque, courtesy of real-life executive chef Ryan Gorsuch, who also provided a French chef’s coat and checkered pants.

Rader herself made the scarecrow, finished with a snazzy scarf provided by memory director Ruth Norman.

Buena Vida Estates’ Nancy Gulker, activities coordinator for assisted living and memory care, and retirement counselor Debbie Williams collaborated for inspiration with the scarecrow that was, literally, for the birds.

“The Harry Potter mail owl of the Owl Post was chosen because of the popularity of the books and movies … and Nancy loves owls,” said Doreen Boudreau, director of marketing at the West Melbourne continuum-of-care community.

Buena Vida’s Scarecr-owl was made from burlap, silk flowers, a plastic gourd, feathers and plastic “straw.”

“He is delivering a letter from Buena Vida Estates to Harry Potter,” added Boudreau.

“Hopefully, when he’s ready to move out from the cupboard under the stairs and into a retirement community, he will choose Buena Vida Estates!” 

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