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Fernhill House opens its doors to home aloners on Christmas Day
Fernhill House has teamed up with a local church to open its doors on Christmas day to local elderly people who would otherwise be spending the day alone.   

The home will be serving a five-course festive meal with wine to single and widowed over 65s living in the parish who are unable to spend the day with friends or family.   The guests are residents from around Claines, Barbourne and Fernhill Heath, who the local clergy have met through their pastoral care.   

The friendship room – a dining room specially designed for private events – will be open on December 25, with sherry or Bucks Fizz, Christmas carols and a warm welcome offered on arrival.   

Award winning chef Chris Williams and his team will provide traditional Christmas fayre and silly crackers at 1pm. The Fernhill House team will chat to the visitors before escorting them to one of the home’s sitting rooms to watch the Queen’s Speech, play games and meet some of the home’s residents.   The idea was dreamed up by home manager Peta Mandleberg who explained: “Christmas can be an incredibly lonely time for many people. 

Those living on their own – particularly if they are elderly or have lost a husband or wife – can find the day unbearable. We all know how damaging loneliness can be and don’t want to think that anyone living near our home should spend the day on their own. We are keen to involve the local community in many of our activities and often hold free events to which the wider public is invited.   

“We hope that this small gesture will go a long way towards helping people know that someone does care about them. Not only will they enjoy a really rather delicious meal - our chef is amazing - they’ll also get to meet new friends. And who knows, once they’ve met, that may be the beginning of a long lasting and beautiful friendship.   

“We are even arranging for our driver to collect the visitors and return them safely to their homes after the festivities.”   

Vicar of Claines St John’s and Saint George’s CE Worcester, the Revd Jo Musson, added: “I was so overwhelmed at the kindness of Peta’s offer that I was moved to tears when she first mentioned it to me. For me, this act of kindness and compassion reflects the true spirit of Christmas that Jesus demonstrated throughout his life: that we think of others before ourselves, and that we share what we have with those less fortunate.   

“The ladies and gentlemen who have already booked places are amazed at the generosity of the invitation, especially the taxi service! Some of them visited the dining room when our Quest Group for the bereaved met at Fernhill House last week. They told me it is like a 4* restaurant!”   

There are a few spaces left and if anyone knows of a local elderly person who might otherwise be alone on Christmas Day call Jo on 01905 780200 or email They don’t have to be a church goer to qualify!     

* The Revd Jo Musson who has teamed up with Fernhill House to offer Christmas lunch to single and bereaved over 65s who would otherwise be spending the day alone

Residents embrace Pimp My Zimmer campaign
A fun campaign which has seen care home falls reduced by as much as 60 per cent in some areas has been embraced by residents at Fernhill House.   

Pimp My Zimmer started life in Essex and is now taking hold in other areas of the country.   Not only does it provide a fun and engaging activity for residents – it also pays a huge part in reducing the number of falls.   

Fernhill House manager Peta Mandleberg explained the concept behind the scheme:  “Let’s face it – zimmer frames are pretty grey and uninspiring. And not only does that make them dreary it also, more importantly makes them indistinguishable from each other. 

So, if a resident were to use someone else’s walking aid thinking it was theirs they could lose their balance and fall as it hasn’t been adjusted to suit their height.   

“By decorating them brightly however they fancy the frames are instantly recognisable. Added to that people have fun knitting, sticking, pasting and decorating them with all sorts of things. It transforms a dull purely practical piece of equipment into a rather funky accessory.”

94-year-old resident becomes UK’s oldest specialist activity adviser
A resident at Fernhill House has become the oldest in the country to attend a specialist activity training programme aimed at helping elderly people remain mobile and healthy.   

Ninety-four-year-old Marian Hill used to work for Worcestershire’s education department and moved into Fernhill House a few months ago.   A lifelong keep fit enthusiast, Marian was delighted when three staff members taking part in a training course to enable them to run seated physical activity sessions for some of the residents asked if she would attend with them.   

Home manager Peta Mandleberg explained: “We and sister homes in our wider group, Majesticare, have become the first in the country to include a resident or volunteer to join the staff in this activity training. It’s all part of our ethos of vibrant living.”   

The Revitalyz workshops, written by occupational activity specialists, are specifically designed for care staff and volunteers. Attendees can then deliver regular sessions, encouraging care home residents to become more physically active, maintain mobility and prolong independence.   

Marian joined in most of the physical aspect of the training, so has a first-hand perspective on what to expect when the team begins its own programme of physical activities.    

“It’s easy to become sedentary as one gets older, so regular sessions, whether one to one or in groups, can make a real difference to a person’s ability to perform everyday activities such as getting dressed, brushing their own hair, lifting a cup, or simply moving about,” added Peta.   

The course participants were given tips on using music and considering what might appeal to a wide range of ages and tastes for the warm up and activities – something not always considered when motivating older people.   

Marian is looking forward to helping run her first session later this month. “Just because I’m a bit older now doesn’t mean I can’t keep fit and healthy. Now I just need these octogenarian spring chickens to keep up with me!” she said.

BBC presenter bowled over by Fernhill House visit
Fernhill House became the star of a BBC radio show this week when Hereford and Worcester presenter Malcolm Boyden called in to spend an afternoon chatting to residents and testing some of its luxurious facilities. 

Intrigued by the home’s forthcoming James Bond themed casino evening on December 15 to raise funds for a bicycle rickshaw, or trishaw, Malcolm ventured from his warm studio to see at first hand just what all the fuss was about. And he was genuinely, pleasantly flabbergasted by what he encountered.

In fact, he was so impressed he devoted an astonishing 19 minutes of his mid-morning show on Tuesday (December 5) to sharing the home’s highlights with his faithful listeners.

He was bowled over by the number, quality and style of restaurants, bars and tea rooms, the plush art deco style cinema,  the indoor potting shed,  the enthusiasm of the residents and staff. Indeed it was, he said, frankly the poshest care home he’d ever visited – and more like swanky hotel or an opulent cruise ship. 

“Fernhill House is no ordinary care home,” he told his listeners. “I’ve landed in a place that resembles a top quality hotel, somewhere you might want to spend a weekend  - or a fortnight if you’re very lucky. It’s absolutely magnificent. It’s an incredible place.” 

In chatting to home manager Peta Mandleberg he confessed: “Sometimes I come out of a care home feeling rather down in the dumps. I think I’m going to leave here with a feeling of optimism. This is a beautiful place. It really has opened my eyes.” 

If you missed the programme you can listen again here. In the first section (at around 39 minutes in) you'll find us being shaken not stirred (or maybe it was both) in the library. Then around one hour 12 minutes in we have a little wander around the indoor potting shed, pub and tea room, and then we meet amazing 94-year-old Marian at around two hours and 24 minutes.....

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.