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Residents go full steam ahead for Christmas
Christmas preparations are getting into full swing at Fernhill House, with a festive decoration making event among the activities on offer once December kicks in.   

Tuesday December 5 sees residents playing with ‘Jumping Clay’ – an unusual air-drying modelling clay from which they will craft Christmas baubles to adorn one of the five Christmas trees to be found around the home.   

The mess free, jasmine scented and bouncy material comes in a range of bright colours ideal for helping everyone get into the yuletide spirit. Friends and family are invited to enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas carols on Saturday December 9 at 2pm, with choral music on offer on Tuesday December 12 at 11am.   

Other musical offerings for December include two visits from singer Phoebe Appleby - on Friday December 8 and 15 at 2pm  - and a viola performance on Monday December 4 at 3pm.   

And to start December with a burst of energy, anyone fancying strutting their stuff is invited to a Strictly Come Dancing workshop on Saturday December 2 at 1pm before the celebrities hit the TV screens.

Casino Royale evening will help fund bicycle rickshaw
Fernhill House is organising a glitzy James Bond style evening to help fund a £6,500 bicycle rickshaw - or trishaw - for residents.   

The event, on Friday December 15 at 7pm, is open to friends and families of the residents and anyone who fancies a fun evening.   The Casino Royale evening will see guests enjoy a meal with wine in the bistro, prepared by the home’s award winning chef. 

Gambling chips are included in the £25 price and the winner at the end of the evening will walk off with a luxury hamper.   

Home manager Pete Mandleberg explained: “We have such fun here at Fernhill House, with a huge focus on vibrancy.   

 We love running events here as well as going out and about. We regularly enjoy visits from some very talented musicians, have pottery classes, host piano and cocktail soirees and have some fascinating – and sometimes famous – guest speakers.   

“Recent trips to the outside world have included a visit to an arboretum and eating fish and chips at the seaside. We’d love to get out and about locally even more and, having heard about the popularity of trishaws for older people in other countries, wanted to give it a whirl ourselves. Residents can sit in the side car with blankets in the inclement weather and be cycled around the grounds or into the village for a bit of a jaunt. Just being a bit older doesn’t stop our residents from letting their hair down!”   

The idea, Cycling without Age, was born in Denmark, whose progressive approach to retirement living has been adopted by Fernhill House, and has spread within Scandinavia and to ten other countries including Singapore.   All money raised will be matched by the home’s owners Majesticare.   

To book a table contact Fernhill House at or call 01905 679300.

Fernhill House embraces interaction between children and older people 
Studies highlighting the benefits for both age groups of children and elderly people spending time together are being embraced by Fernhill House, which is inviting local youngsters to join them and meet a pair of Shetland ponies dressed in Santa outfits!   

The visit, on December 1, will be the latest in a series of activities to which the wider public is invited as part of the home’s policy to ensure as vibrant a life as possible for everyone in the home.   

Previous events which have seen mutually beneficial interaction between those with many decades under their belt and their younger counterparts have included a family fun day in the summer, a visit from village school children to make pizzas in the home’s outdoor oven and an animal encounters day involving snakes, chinchillas and giant rabbits.   

Fernhill House manager Peta Mandleberg is a great fan of projects which see children and older people share space and activities, and cites examples of successful policies of combining crèches and nursing homes in the US and Singapore.   

Indeed, Fernhill House is about to purchase a revolutionary interactive sensory table which uses light and images to help people living with dementia.   This week an experiment carried out in Essex showed primary school children and octogenarians playing happily together with the new technology.   

Peta explained: “Studies have shown that shared experiences between the ages can help educate older people about technology, increase their energy levels and improve their health and happiness.     

“For children, benefits include improving reading ability, better behaviour, less substance use and truancy in later life. It also boosts self-esteem and young children are found to be far less discriminatory when it comes to forming friendships.”     

 *  Children in Essex join people with dementia to play with the innovative sensory light table.

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.