Fernhill House welcomes its first residents
Fernhill House's first resident, Claude Bronckaerts, plans to spend some time every day in the home's own pub!
A Belgian who speaks eight languages, Claude is enjoying a range of Belgian beers bought in especially for him as well as a range of traditional pub meals prepared by the home’s award winning chef Chris Williams, who has worked with Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White.
The pub is one of the unusual features of Fernhill House’s dementia community village, which also has a 1950s style shop and an indoor potting shed. A beautifully equipped babies’ nursery offers powerful and moving doll therapy which can be very effective in helping people with dementia.
Staff dress in 1950s and 60s clothes and offer a range of specialist activities harking back to the residents’ younger days. Manager Peta Mandleberg explained: “We wanted to create a place full of vibrancy – somewhere that didn’t scream ‘care home’, but which was a fun and interesting place to live, but at the same time which had highly experienced staff – and people who have passion for their work. So, as well as our team of nurses we have wellbeing ambassadors chosen for their enthusiasm and vivacity.
Instead of a TV room we have an art deco style cinema complete with popcorn cart. Our shop isn’t just a place in which to buy things –indeed there is no need to buy anything as everything is included in the fees – but an amazing destination, offering a trip down memory lane for those living with dementia. The pub is exactly like a real pub – the entire dementia floor is more like a themed village than a care home.
“We’re also acutely aware of how difficult it can be families to think about their loved ones moving to a home. The daughter of one of our first residents here had been looking at a number of places and was very dispirited – until she came to see us and really felt the passion and fun here. It’s very, very different. And our open door policy means families are welcome whenever they wish.” She added: “We have events and activities going on every day - gym sessions, arts and crafts, gardening, tea dances, choir therapy, string quartet recitals, bubbles and blinis evenings and morning sherry every day!
“Residents are actively encouraged to invite friends and family to dine with them or share cocktails, tea and cakes as often as they like at no extra charge, as there is a single fee to cover absolutely everything.”
• Claude Bronckaerts is the first resident to move into the luxurious and trailblazing Fernhill House near Worcester