Latest News

Regency School visit
We had a wonderful morning today as the children from Regency school came to visit.  Residents were delighted to see the children and interact with them.  
Fernhill’s ‘Project Outstanding’ is proving a huge success 
Fernhill House has launched a campaign to ensure residents continue to have a fun and meaningful time every day.   

Project Outstanding is named in celebration of the Care Quality Commission’s Outstanding rating, given to homes which go beyond what is expected of them and a target towards which Fernhill is working.   

This weekend’s launch of ‘Clovers Cream Tea Sundays’ as part of its Life History project, is one of a wide range of fun, interesting and sometimes unusual activities which take place at Fernhill House.   

After the Sunday March 4 inaugural event, the regular activity will see residents, their families and the Clover team spend a few hours together to delve into the incredible lives experienced by those who live at Fernhill House.     

Memory care lead Paul Turvey explained: “It's a time for families to meet each other, share experiences and memories and most importantly, support each other.   
 
“Our Clover family are incredibly special to us and we are always trying to find new ways of providing the very best in person centred care. I am fascinated by the life history of our family of residents and believe it is of the utmost importance for us to understand a resident’s background in as much detail as possible, to really fine tune the perfect care for them.  

“Our specially trained staff will be on hand to offer help and advice if needed – and provide the scones of course! We hope as many of our families possible will join us for the fun and laughter and be part of creating great memories and something very special.”   

Fernhill House has also been bathed in the beautiful sound of piano music – thanks to resident Sheila,  who has been practising her skills on the baby grand which has moved to a new location in the bistro.   

The newly formed bridge club is going from strength to strength, a decoupage event brought out the creative side in many residents and regular exercise classes are proving quite a draw.   

Check out the Fernhill House Facebook page for regular updates on Project Outstanding activities. 

Dementia unit launches life history cream teas events 
Residents living with dementia are to share the richness of their lives over the years with family, friends and team members as part of a Life History project.   

This weekend (Sunday March 4) sees the launch of ‘Clovers Cream Tea Sundays’, a regular activity which will see residents, their families and the Clover team spend a few hours together delving into the incredible lives experienced by those who live at Fernhill House.   

Memory care lead Paul Turvey explained: “It's a time for families to meet each other, share experiences and memories and most importantly, support each other.   

“Our Clover family are incredibly special to us and we are always trying to find new ways of providing the very best in person centred care. I am fascinated by the life history of our family of residents and believe it is of the utmost importance for us to understand a resident’s background in as much detail as possible, to really fine tune the perfect care for them.    

 “Our specially trained staff will be on hand to offer help and advice if needed – and provide the scones of course! We hope as many of our families possible will join us for the fun and laughter and be part of creating great memories and something very special.”   

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.”

Fernhill House trials anti-loneliness technology
Fernhill House is helping trial a simple yet ground breaking technology aimed at helping older people combat loneliness.   

The home has teamed up Hello Daisy – an easy to use low cost alternative to video messaging programmes such as Skype, which will connect the user to friends, family, community organisations and health professionals.   

The mobile phone sized equipment, which can be voice activated, is plugged into the TV – enabling the viewer to connect to those important to them – making it invaluable for people who find it difficult to get out of their homes.   

The system was developed following in-depth research into the health impacts of loneliness on older people, and the barriers preventing them from communicating with friends, family and community.   

The core package will be tweaked following feedback from its trial partners such as Fernhill House, Southbank University and Age UK, with the aim that it will be launched in October.   

Research shows that more than a million of the 11 people in the UK have no human contact for a month, with 700,000 leaving the house only once week or less.   

Studies have linked loneliness to a range of health problems, from high blood pressure and a weakened immune system to depression, heart disease and strokes, with one study showing that loneliness is twice as unhealthy as obesity.    

Age UK data shows that 35 per cent of the UK's over 65s have never used the internet due to lack of interest, skills or money, with 26 per cent trying it but giving up for health reasons such as poor eyesight or cognitive function.   

Fernhill House manager Mike Dearn said: “Being lonely not only makes life miserable for older people, it also makes them more vulnerable to illness and disease.   

“Loneliness is a serious threat to a happy and healthy later life.  For many older people TV is their constant companion and they understand how it works. The Hello Daisy device is a natural extension of that and means, as long as the TV is switched on, that they can get in touch with their friends and family immediately.”   

More information can be found at https://www.hellodaisy.org

Fernhill House embraces suggestions in professor’s memory boosting book
A popular science book by a world leading neuropsychiatry professor offers some helpful tips for older people on boosting memory. 

His advice includes keeping the brain mentally active, taking regular exercise, engaging in social interaction and eating well – all opportunities available in droves at Fernhill House. 

The home is regularly adding to its packed activity programme – with dancers, musicians and speakers among its visitors, regular outings, exercise classes, alternative therapies such as sound therapy and reiki, quizzes and a mouthwatering menu created by an award winning chef.   

“Our Ageing Brains” by Andre Aleman, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry at the University Medical Centre in Groningen in the Netherlands, looks at why and how our brains age and how we can slow the erosion of brain function. 

Prof Aleman explains that the volume of the brain shrinks by about 15 per cent between the ages of 30 and 90. But while scientists used to believe no new neurons were generated once we reached adulthood, latest research indicates that most brain cells remain reasonably intact until we die, with thousands of new neurons produced daily, even in the older brain.   

The professor explains that diet, exercise, social interaction and intellectual stimulation all play a vital role in keeping our brains alert.             

Cutting calories reduces oxidative stress, the process that occurs when chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen are produced in greater numbers than normal. Some of these molecules are ‘free radicals’, which can cause damage to cells, including the neurons in the brain.   

Avoid eating too many carbohydrates and sugars. In combination with little exercise, this increases the risk of diabetes, which is bad for the brain and can hasten dementia.   Opt instead for a balanced diet including proteins, grains, vegetables and fruits. 

A Dutch study showed improved brain function results from the consumption of lignans, hormone-like substances found in plants such as sesame seeds, linseed oil, broccoli, cabbage, peaches, and strawberries. There is evidence that brain functioning in older people is heavily dependent on vitamin B12, which is found in foods including beef and cod and is also available in B12-enriched soy milk and yeast extracts such as Marmite. 

Around a quarter of old people are deficient in B12. . Other dietary benefits can be gained from omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring which have positive effect on the cell walls of our neurons, enabling better transport of the substances needed for them to function effectively. 

Cognitive training is also important in keeping our brains busy, with a study at the University of Southern California showing that it can improve cognitive functions by 10 per cent.   Exercise is also beneficial - possibly because of better oxygen flow to the brain. It also stimulates the release of chemicals that promote the healing of damaged tissue, along with the growth of brain cells and the formation of new connections between them.   

In one study of 120 participants with an average age was 67, those who undertook moderate-intensity exercise for a year saw a growth of two per cent in the hippocampus, the part of the brain which is essential to storing information in the memory. It is normal in people of that age to have shrunk by 1.5 per cent.   Research into large numbers of people who exercise regularly has shown that it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50 per cent.   

Even people who only began to exercise at the age of 60 can benefit, and the recommendation for people over 55 is half an hour of moderately intensive exercise on at least five days, and preferably every day, of the week.   

Studies have shown that people who have worked their whole lives with their brains have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Working past retirement age is a good way to remain mentally active.   

Another study involved older people who became volunteer teaching assistants with preschool children who experienced increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain which is key to memory, and their ability to perform various mental tasks improved correspondingly.   

Activities such as using the computer, playing games and engaging in creative activities have also been shown to improve mental functioning. And there is evidence that, rather than just developing the particular skills required for each activity, participants increased their mental capacity across the board. 
 
Other brain-boosting activities include learning a new language or musical instrument. A study of 70 healthy people between the ages of 60 and 83 showed that those who regularly played an instrument scored better on a variety of neuropsychological tests.

 

May