Taken from Star Mail 5 October 2020
Estia Health Yarra Valley recently celebrated a festival of flowers as the community rallied to donate flowers by the bunch to the aged care home.
Over a two week period, the nursing home was decked out in over 75 different varieties of colourful flowers helping bring joy to residents during a difficult time.
Estia Health lifestyle coordinator Bernadette Stanley dubbed the event as a miniature Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and said it was successful in getting residents involved in creating decorations and reminiscing about their own gardens.
“It was really nice and they got a real kick out of it,” she said. “They were empowered by feeling a part of it.
“We put the call out to the community, to staff and the families of residents to donate flowers and you know how word gets around.
“We wanted each resident to have flowers in their room and with 80 residents, that’s a lot of rooms. It was a really nice gesture, but I can’t tell you how many empty buckets we’ve got leftover.”
Estia Health executive director Linda Horvath said, “The generosity of the local community has been fantastic. Many of our residents have been industrious and excited about putting on this event.
“Our rooms have been filled with beautiful spring flowers and the residents have come together to produce a flower show by painting and producing decorations for our home. Residents have even up-cycled cardboard from all the PPE equipment boxes and packing required for the pandemic.
One resident said, “The flowers have really boosted the spirits for us… Most everyone here has had a garden. Every house I lived in had a beautiful garden and this has brought back many happy memories for me.”
Ms Stanley noted that the festival provided a great discussion point for residents when taking part in window visits with loved ones.
Estia Health staff were thankful to Launching Place resident Connie, who has consistently volunteered to bring flowers from her own garden to the nursing home for over 30 years.
“Connie would religiously come to our home every week with buckets of flowers from her garden and fll our home with beautiful floral displays which have made our residents happy, Ms Horvath said. “Connie’s garden is now completely turned into a flower producing garden for our home.”
Ms Stanley said she hopes the flower festival becomes an annual event, but now the home will look forward to celebrating Oktoberfest as Estia Health houses many German and eastern European residents.