A heart-warming legacy

Residents are loving the beautiful sensory garden with its water feature, a bridge over a stream, covered gazebo area with seats and a lush putting green at Uniting AgeWell Andrew Kerr Care Community in Mornington.

And it was made possible through a generous bequest by Jacqui Cutbush to honour the memory of her beloved parents Frances and Brian Cutbush who both lived there.

Jacqui passed away two years ago and according to her wishes, made a generous donation towards making the lives of residents more comfortable. And her generosity has enriched the lives of residents by going towards creating the garden and buying a Tovertafel (magic table) and a BrainTrainerTM to assist with memory training for people, like Frances, who also lived with dementia. Both the Tovertafel and the Brain TrainerTM are fun interactive games-based activities that spark joy, stimulate cognition and encourage engagement and social interaction.

The garden was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Jaqui’s only sibling, Melanie Rice, and Melanie’s daughter, Lisa Dowling on Thursday December 8.

Melanie says her parents adored gardening. “My Dad’s pride and joy was his garden at their home in Mornington,” she says. “He adored roses, and not a single weed dared grow on his watch!”

Both sisters regularly visited their parents over the many years they lived at the aged care facility. “We moved to Australia when we were in our teens,” says Melanie. “So we are a small, very close-knit family.”

Grandmother-of-three, Melanie, says the garden is a fitting tribute to her parents’ memory. “Dad in particular had an affinity with nature and being outdoors, although it is fair to describe both of them as being green-fingered.”

And Melanie feels a sense of rightness about her sister’s bequest being used to create this garden. “I often feel Jacqui’s presence around me, we were very close. I know she’ll be looking down on this lovely garden and feeling very happy.”

Uniting AgeWell CEO Andrew Kinnersly says “Jacqui’s extraordinary gift is a wonderful legacy that will help our community to flourish and enrich the lives of our residents. We are truly grateful for her kindness and to be given this opportunity to create such a special garden for residents to enjoy for many years to come.”

Melanie describes her late sister as “funny, warm, clever and kind.” Jacqui, who died of cancer, also made substantial bequests to the Olivia Newton John Centre and the Peter Mac Centre.

“It’s lovely to know that she has made a huge difference to the lives of so many others,” says Melanie. “I know she’d be very happy with this outcome.”

Find out more about Andrew Kerr Care Community