Latest News

Fernhill House marks World Alzheimer's Month with host of fun activities
Residents at a care home with a difference near Worcester will be embracing an eclectic range of fun activities during World Alzheimer's Month in September.   

A visit from BBC sports presenter Garry Richardson, cookery master classes from the home’s award winning chef, a trip to Burnham on Sea, local visits and massage therapy are among the events on the cards at Fernhill House, with the BBC visit open to the wider public, friends and families as well.   

The activities coincide with World Alzheimer's Month, an international campaign aimed at raising awareness of this specific form of dementia.   

Day-to-day life for everyone at Fernhill House, whether or not they are living with dementia, are innovative – with facilities such as an indoor potting shed, a ‘real’ pub, a shop and 1950s and 60s themed games and assistance from staff dressed casually in vintage clothes.   

The home, with its ethos of fun and enjoying retirement living, 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.   

The focus is on vibrancy and choosing activities which residents want – with some of the most popular guests to the home returning on a regular basis, such as the Poppy Sisters, with their vintage musical act and gym instructor Alana.   

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.   

The beauty therapists, chiropodist and hairdresser all have experience of working with people with dementia – and the hairdressing salon is also open on Thursdays to non-residents with dementia.   

For more information or to book a hair appointment for a friend or relative with dementia contact or call 01905 679300.

7 Ways to Help Older People Stay Safe Online
For many of us, the internet has made life easier and is an excellent source of information. But it’s important to use the internet safely and protect any device that connects to the internet. This can prove tricky for some older people who may struggle with certain aspects of the web or technology in general. 

The internet can be a powerful and positive tool for older people, and is something we actively encourage the use of in our home, but using it cautiously and understanding potential scams and pitfalls is key. A recent report suggests older people are increasingly at risk of cyber fraud, with more than a million older people duped by email scammers in the UK. 

Here are some tips to share with your loved ones to help them stay safe online:

Practical tips for staying safe online

1. Ensure all devices have the latest software and app updates - these often contain vital security upgrades which help protect devices from viruses and hackers.

2. Creating strong and secure passwords is another crucial step to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of a hack. The official advice from the Cyber Aware campaign is to use three random words, which a third of over 55s (34%) already do.

3. Use a separate password for email accounts – access to email accounts can allow hackers to take control of many personal and business accounts. 

4. Securing smartphone and tablets with a screen lock – this will provide an extra layer of security to the device.

5. Back-up important data regularly – safeguard important data such as photos and key documents by backing them up to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system.

6. Try to avoid using public Wi-Fi to transfer sensitive information such as card details when purchasing online. Hackers can set-up fake WiFi hotspots, which might enable them to intercept sensitive information.

7. Beware of a common scams. One of the most common is fraudsters phoning and claiming to be from a well-known IT company, asking you to follow a few simple instructions to get rid of a virus, update your software etc. What they are really trying to do is gain access to your personal details. Legitimate companies never contact customers in this way. Never respond to a phone call from someone claiming that your computer has a virus. If you get a call like this, hang up straight away.

Spotting the Early Signs of Dementia
We are all unique, and so is dementia. It affects people differently so no two people will have symptoms that develop in exactly the same way. However, while there is no standard “check list” for dementia, there are similar symptoms between those that develop the condition between Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

The most common signs of dementia

Declining memory
It’s fair to say that most of us are forgetful from time-to-time! We might misplace our keys or wallet, or on occasion forget the name of someone or something. With dementia, these little moments become a little more common and sometimes more concerning. Often it’s not just a name that’s out of reach but who a person is, or perhaps the route home becomes a challenge to remember. 

Language difficulties
Those living with dementia may find it difficult to accurately verbalise their thoughts. It may become noticeable when the person uses an incorrect word or takes longer than usual to respond. Problems with language occur because the diseases that cause dementia can affect the parts of the brain that control language. In some forms of dementia, such as frontotemporal dementia, it is likely to be one of the first symptoms that is noticed.

Familiar tasks become difficult 
At some point during the day, we all tend to do certain tasks on autopilot, like getting dressed, doing housework or making a meal. Those living with a form of dementia may start to get simple steps in these processes wrong. As well as struggling to complete familiar tasks, they may find it difficult to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.

It’s not uncommon for people living with dementia to lose track of where they are, as well as where they were going – even in a place they know well. Although we all lose track of the day of the week now and then, they may even become confused about the time of day, or even mix up night and day.

Changes in behaviour and mood
Behavioural changes are easiest to spot when you know someone well, but can be mistaken for stress, depression, or “just one of those days” – until it becomes most or all of those days. Sudden mood swings, noticeable agitation, major changes in emotional outlook, and even losing interest in hobbies or sleeping more than usual, may be an early sign of dementia.

Problems with concentration and planning 
Those living with dementia can find it challenging to concentrate on things in any environment, including their own home. From difficulty organising a calendar, to planning clothing appropriate for the weather or having trouble following the plot on a television programme; there are numerous other communication and logic signs that can develop with dementia.

If you believe that a relative or someone you care about may be displaying signs of Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, talk to your GP independently for advice. You can also read lots more great info on the Alzheimer's Society website and learn how dementia can be managed with the right care in the right environment. 

Award winning chef creates family fun day barbecue
Pony rides, a barbecue and a tombola were among the attractions at a family fun day held at Fernhill House this summer.   

Friends and relatives joined residents to enjoy a delicious meal cooked in the grounds by the home’s award winning chef Chris Williams.  

Chris has an impressive pedigree – he has worked with Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White and won AA rosettes and culinary accolades aplenty over the course of his 25 year career.   
A huge fan of organic and home grown produce, he has appeared on MasterChef and has just cured the pizza oven within Fernhill House’s two acre grounds, which will be inaugurated shortly.   

People across four generations were represented at the event – with some children visiting their great grandfather.   The event is one of an eclectic range of activities which reflect Fernhill’s ethos of fun, being an integral part of the wider community and of an ongoing relationship with the friends and family of those living at the home.   

Other activities include visits from musicians, authors, TV personalities and animals, a range of beauty and holistic therapies and trips to places of interest.   

The all inclusive residential fee enables friends and relatives to share meals and drinks with their loved ones as often as they wish – an unusual and popular feature aimed at ensuring Fernhill House is a home in the true sense of the word.

Singing Poppy Sisters bring vintage style and memories to Fernhill House
A pair of vintage musical entertainers proved so popular among residents at Fernhill House when they visited in the spring that they were invited back for a repeat performance.   

The Poppy Sisters – two real live sisters from Worcester who perform songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s, took residents on a trip down memory lane when they performed popular numbers from their younger days.   

Nancy and Rose are regular visitors to care homes across the Midlands and are also much in demand at vintage fayres, such as special events at the Severn Valley Railway.   

As well as performing tunes such as Chattanooga Choo Choo and Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree from the 40s, Will you still love me tomorrow andWhy do fools fall in love from the 50s and California Dreaming and Puppet on a String from the 60s, they also encouraged residents to dress up and sing along.   

The Poppy Sisters are particularly popular among those living with dementia, and for whom reliving their youth is often very therapeutic.   Indeed staff in the dementia community dress with a 1950s and 60s theme and many of the day-to-day activities are specifically designed to help bring back happy experiences from an earlier chapter of their lives.   

The visit was one of many different events held at Fernhill House for residents, their friends, family and the wider public.