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Community invited to feast of Christmas entertainment 
Fernhill House is inviting those living nearby to join them for a selection of festive activities in the run up to Christmas. 

The month kicks off with a visit from two Shetland ponies dressed in Father Christmas outfits (yes, really!) who are happy to be petted by residents from the moment they arrive at 2pm on December 1st.   

Tinkerbelle and Lollipop are owned by Lollipop Ponies who specialise in visiting care homes and children’s parties – with some of them even visiting residents in their beds.   

Pets and other animals are regular visitors, for therapeutic reasons, to Fernhill House.  Manager Peta Mandleberg bringing her labradoodles from time to time, and reptiles, owls and small fluffy creatures have also crossed the threshold.   

The following week sees a visit by the Salvation Army to sing Christmas Carols. Yuletide hats are encouraged but not obligatory. The fun starts at 7pm on Wednesday December 6th .    

One can never have enough carols and the following day sees a visit from Droitwich’s Dodderhill School Choir whose members will perform after breakfast – the fun starts at 9.30am on Thursday December 7.   

A Christmas spectacular involving tap dancing, singing and a romantic story line is being presented on Friday December 8 at 6pm by Tickled Pink productions which specialises in creating shows for care homes across the country.   

And finally, Fernhill House staff are putting on their own pantomime version of Dicken’s ever popular A Christmas Carol on Wednesday December 20 at 4pm. As well as offering residents, friends, family and members of the local community the chance to laugh at fluffed lines and ridiculous costumes, the post performance fun will be a mini German market style feast of sausages, pretzels and beer! 

Anyone interested in attending any of the free Fernhill House Christmas events should book a place by contacting or calling 01905 679300.     

* Tinkerbelle and Lollipop the Shetland ponies are the first of a series of Christmas visitors to Fernhill House to which the wider public is also invited.

Fernhill House welcomes study on dementia and marriage
A new study which shows that being married and having close friends could help protect against dementia has been welcomed by Fernhill House whose focus is very much on social interaction and friendship.   

The findings follow an in-depth study carried out by researchers at Loughborough University, University College London and universities in the States and Brazil. 

Dementia lead at Fernhill House, Paul Turvey says that while the research doesn’t prove that marriage helps stave off the illness, having close friends certainly improves everyone’s general wellbeing. 

The study, which began 15 years ago, involved monitoring thousands of over 60s who didn't have dementia when they were first questioned. The 6,677 participants were asked about their marital status and the number of close relationships they had.   

Researchers then followed the participants for an average of six years to see how many developed dementia, with 3.3% of the sample (220 people) either receiving a dementia diagnosis or having the disease indicated by questionnaires.   They found people who weren't married, had fewer social relationship or were lonely had a higher risk of developing dementia.   

Other factors included heart and vascular disease, impaired mobility, and lower educational levels.   

Paul echoed comments from the NHS which explained: “As the causes of some types of dementia – particularly Alzheimer's disease – remain poorly understood, it's difficult to isolate the effect of a single factor like marital status.   “It seems more likely that the quality of the marriage and family and social relationships is likely to be the important factor, not just the presence of these relationships.   

“An unhappy marriage may do little to benefit your wellbeing, and you don't have to be married to have a happy and fulfilling relationship.”   

The ethos of Fernhill House is for residents to have happy, fulfilling lives. It has innovative dementia friendly facilities such as an indoor potting shed, a ‘real’ pub, a shop and 1950s and 60s themed games.   Arts and crafts, holistic therapies and gardening, events such as tea dances, choir therapy, recitals by string quartets, celebrity guest speakers, cooking workshops and bubbles and blinis evenings are regular fixtures on the activities calendar.     

Fernhill House appoints new dementia lead
Fernhill House has appointed a new dementia lead to help residents enjoy an active and fulfilled life. 

Paul Turvey joins the home from Age UK Hereford and Worcester where he was a Home from Hospital adviser and independent living administrator.

He has previously been a senior care assistant at another Worcestershire home, looking after the needs of people living with dementia, and a healthcare assistant at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. 

Paul has undergone a wide range of professional training courses aimed at understanding the needs of residents with particular requirements.   

He explained: “I allow myself to enter the world of the person with dementia, becoming part of their reality and I truly believe this helps me to deliver the best possible care I can.   

“It is important to me that residents have choice, which I give them from the moment they wake up. My ethos is ‘always make a difference to someone’s day.’ It’s important to find out what makes our residents tick and to create activities based around their likes and interests, such as organising pet therapy, encouraging them to use a relaxing sensory room or picking herbs from the garden.   

“The meal time experience is another opportunity to bond with residents, giving them the choice of what they would like to eat, allowing them to see and smell each meal separately and use plain brightly coloured plates to make it easier for them to see their food.    

“Fernhill House is a happy, homely place, rooms are personalised, memory boxes are filled with favourite things, walls are decorated with art residents can relate to.”   

Indeed, the home has innovative dementia friendly facilities such as an indoor potting shed, a ‘real’ pub, a shop and 1950s and 60s themed games as well as assistance from staff dressed casually in vintage clothes.   

The home, with its ethos of fun and enjoyment, also has its own beautifully equipped children’s nursery complete with lifelike dolls which residents can ‘adopt’. This doll therapy can be a very powerful way of helping people with dementia manage their condition – with some very touching outcomes.   

Regular activities and outings add to the feeling of vibrancy at Fernhill House, with some guests returning on a regular basis, such as the Poppy Sisters, with their vintage musical act. They are particularly popular among those living with dementia, for whom reliving their youth is often very therapeutic.   

In addition to arts and crafts, holistic therapies and gardening, events such as tea dances, choir therapy, recitals by string quartets, celebrity guest speakers, cooking workshops and bubbles and blinis evenings are regular fixtures on the activities calendar.  

Well-loved Archers actor to speak at Fernhill House
The actor who played one of the best loved and sorely missed characters in Radio 4’s The Archers is to be guest speaker in the latest series of celebrity talks at a Worcestershire retirement home. 

Graham Seed, aka Nigel Pargetter who famously plunged to his death from the roof of his stately home a few years ago, will talk about life in the long running radio soap when he visits Fernhill House in Fernhill Heath on Wednesday November 22. 

The venue for the talk, which runs from 6 - 8pm, is particularly apt as the Archers village, Ambridge and its popular pub the Bull are based on the Worcestershire village of Inkberrow. 

The monthly talks are free of charge and open to members of the public as well as staff and residents of Fernhill House – and are part of the home’s policy of belonging to the broader community. 

As if the talk itself wasn’t exciting enough, drinks and nibbles are offered to all guests in the well-equipped and extremely stylish bistro. 

Previous speakers have included author and broadcaster Gervase Phinn, BBC sports presenter Garry Richardson and BMI Baby airline co-founder Dr David Bryon. 

To book a place and to find out about future talks, contact or call 01905 679300.

Hindlip School youngsters enjoy pizza making event 
Children from Fernhill Heath’s Hindlip First School had a great day making and eating pizzas when they joined the head chef at the village’s new care home to learn about healthy eating.   

The youngsters were invited to Fernhill House to test out the home’s new outdoor pizza oven which had been inaugurated a few weeks earlier at a special event for residents and their families.   

The event was part of Fernhill House’s wider community focus which sees staff encourage members of the public to take part in many of the events it hosts.   The home’s ethos is very much on fun and vibrancy, and enabling residents to feel part of their wider surroundings and encourage a European style interaction across all age groups forms part of this philosophy.   

The youngsters learned about nutrition and food groups, rolled out pizza dough and prepared vegetables with former MasterChef contestant chef Chris Williams who then fired the finished products.   

Before working at Fernhill House Chris, who is evangelical about organic food and uses vegetables grown in the home’s own kitchen garden, used to run an organic café staffed by people with autism and learning difficulties and supervised a Big Lottery funded community growing and cooking project.   

While preparing the pizzas was an enjoyable way for the children to spend the morning, the icing on the cake was probably the chance to eat what they had produced for lunch!