The new head of dementia at a Worcestershire care home is to add more exercise classes and brain training activities to its already packed diary to help those living with dementia lead vibrant and fulfilled lives.   

Paul Turvey, who arrives at Fernhill House from Age UK Hereford and Worcester, says numerous studies show physical exercise and challenging the brain can slow the progression of dementia by as much as ten years.   

He plans to bring in more dance, music and exercise therapists and step up the number of quizzes, board games and craft activities.   

Fernhill House, which opened earlier this year, is regularly adding to its packed programme – with dancers, musicians and speakers coming to the home in the coming weeks.   

The home already holds a weekly exercise class to keep the brain as well as the body active, alternative therapies such as sound therapy and reiki, and mental stimulation exercises such as quizzes.   

Studies say the definition of exercise is wide ranging and include activities such as gardening – something which takes place on a regular basis with residents working in the home's specially designed indoor potting shed and its two-acre garden.   

Paul explained: “One study showed that a stress hormone which keeps mental facilities sharp is produced by the brain during exercise.  Another demonstrated that even moderate exercise can boost memory and mental processing speed. Just walking at a moderate pace three times a week can reduce mental decline by up to 10 years in older adults.    

“Keeping your mind active can help slow the effects of dementia by reducing cell damage and supporting the growth of new cells. So, learning a language, doing puzzles, enjoying board games or playing an instrument can all help.” 

* New head of dementia at Fernhill House, Paul Turvey, helps residents prepare the home’s entry into the village scarecrow competition.