Memory care facility uses prize money for fun items


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Princess Poppy, designed and built by residents, won $500 for finishing first. It won Judges Choice at Viera Voice’s 2017 Scarecrow Stroll and Harvest Festival in Viera

VIERA VOICE Jill Blue

Thanks to Princess Poppy, Autumn House has a popcorn maker. And a bubble machine and star projector, too.

Last October, the memory care facility at 7999 Spyglass Hill Road in Viera won the $500 grand prize for best scarecrow during the sixth annual Scarecrow Stroll and Harvest Festival at the Avenue Viera. About 25 residents created a 7-foot likeness of Princess Poppy from the 2016 animated film “Trolls.”

Autumn House used the Judge’s Choice prize money to purchase a popcorn machine for the facility, a bubble machine for residents who visit an outdoor garden and a solar projector that displays starry images on the ceiling of a sensory room.

“We utilize the popcorn machine during our activities or our games such as bowling, or especially for movie nights,” said Joey Durie, activities director at Autumn House. “One evening or so out of the month, we host a movie night, and we put up our big screen TV and we just enjoy some popcorn.”

Durie said the bubble machine adds to a positive sensory experience for garden visitors.

“Residents love to be outside,” he said. “It’s good for them to be outside to get some sun. They sit underneath an awning, and we provide drinks and play with the bubble machine.”

In Autumn House’s sensory room, the new projector turns the darkened room’s ceiling into a soothing haven for senior stargazers, who sit in comfortable chairs and listen to soft music during the presentation.

“It shows an aurora and lights that simulate stars,” Durie said of the projector. “Our residents love to gaze at the stars.”

The idea for a Princess Poppy scarecrow came from a staffer’s child, an Autumn House official told Senior Life in October.

In the movie “Trolls,” Poppy was known for creating scrapbooks to preserve memories, and Autumn House strives to create pleasant memories for its residents, the official said.

This year's Scarecrow Stroll will be held from Oct. 3 to 17. During that time, local businesses will display their handcrafted crows as voters visit with their ballot. The Harvest Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at The Avenue Viera.

For more about Autumn House, call 321-242-1006 or go to autumnhouseflorida.com.

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