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Care Fee planning
On 10th April at 6.00pm we will be holding a care fee planning seminar with Nicola Bywater who is an Independent Financial Adviser specialising in care fee planning. Nicola will be joined by Lynda Bragg-Walker from Hallmark Hulme Solicitors who will be speaking about Wills and the Lasting Power of Attorney process. If you would like to attend the event please call 01905679300 to reserve your place. Drinks and nibbles will be available.

What you need to know about driving in later life
Driving is something that most of us take for granted when we’re young, but as we get older, it can be an important way of keeping your independence.

The subject of a loved one needing to stop driving can be a difficult conversation to bring up, you don’t want to embarrass them or hurt their feelings; but at the same time there is nothing more important than your relative’s safety and the safety of those around them.

What are the legal requirements for an older person to carry on driving?
Once a person is over 70, they will need to renew their driving licence every three years. There are legal health requirements that your loved one must meet and the DVLA have strict rules about driving with certain medical conditions, such as eye problems, dementia, diabetes, epilepsy and Parkinson’s, to name a few.

What if I’m worried about my loved one driving?
Our bodies change when we get older, and those changes may affect your loved one’s ability to drive, for example eyesight may be weaker and reaction times can be slower. It’s important to remember if someone has been driving for a number of years, they will pick up a variety of driving habits, which could put the driver and others at risk.  

There is currently no legal requirement to stop driving, so the decision to carry on behind the wheel is down to the driver. If your loved one is still driving in their golden years, keep an eye out for warning signs that may lead to unsafe driving, such as problems with memory or problems with reflexes. If you are worried about their driving, you can get in touch with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, who can offer independent advice and guidance about driving and staying safe.

How can I help my loved one adjust to life after driving? 
In some circumstances, the DVLA may revoke a person’s driving licence. This can be an upsetting time for the driver as they may feel like they are losing their freedom, but there are still ways to ensure that they can lead an independent life. It’s important to do your research and fins a solution that they will be comfortable with. Many public transport companies offer discounted, or even free travel for senior citizens, so your loved one can still go out and about on their own.

At Fernhill House we know how important it is to still be able to get out and about, which is why we have a chauffeur driven car as well as a minibus for our residents to use, giving them a chance to explore our local area.

Pet therapy in care homes
When your loved one makes the move into a care home, they will face a lot of changes. While the positive changes outweigh the negative when moving into care, there are still things that a person will naturally miss about their old home, a pet often being one of them.

Pet therapy is something that has been introduced in many care homes. From household pets such as cats and dogs, to farm animals like alpacas and goats, animals are being brought into the care home environment as a way of helping residents stay positive and happy, especially those with a love for animals.

According to the Royal College of Nursing, research has found that stroking a pet can be relaxing and can result in a reduction in blood pressure. The presence of pets can also promote social interaction and reduce psychological responses to anxiety. Pet therapy has also been linked to an increase in physical activity, with residents getting up and walking around the grounds with the pets that visit them, something that they may not be motivated to do on their own.   

The use of pet therapy can also aid those living with dementia, as the introduction of a pet can often eliminate the isolation, irritability and agitation that those with the condition can often experience. Petting, cuddling and even simply sitting with an animal can have a positive effect on a person’s overall health, while triggering happy memories of their own pets.

Pets can often be brought into care homes by the team working the home, but there are also organisations such as Pets As Therapy, who provide a therapeutic visiting service by registered volunteers in hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, all across the UK.

Pet therapy is not for everyone and knowing our residents is key to making it a success, but with the right person matched with the right animal, the benefits can be amazing. We have used pet therapy in our home and have seen that our residents are more focused, happier and less stressed. Pet therapy in care homes 

Is your loved one moving into a care home? Here are some ways to make them feel comfortable
Moving into a care home is a big step for everyone, but there are many ways you can help your loved one settle in. Take a look at some of our suggestions to see how you can help family and friends feel more comfortable in their new home.

Decorate their room
Photos of loved ones on the walls, their much-loved ornaments by their bedside, even a splash of colour with their favourite house plant; a few simple ways to bring some familiarity to their new bedroom. Does your loved one have a particular chair that they always sit on to read the morning papers? Then bring it with them! This is their home, so if they want to bring familiar furnishings then they are more than welcome to do so.

Visit them
Make a real effort to visit them as much as possible. Seeing a familiar face, especially in those first few weeks, is so important and will help your loved one feel more comfortable; it also gives them something to look forward to, knowing that their family and friends are coming to visit. We don’t have structured visiting hours, giving you the opportunity to visit whenever you want.

Help them socialise
Sitting with them in communal areas and helping them make conversation with other residents is the perfect way to help your loved one feel more settled, especially if they are quite shy. Building new friendships can be difficult, at any age, so be mindful that they may need some help gaining confidence.

Keep the routine
Encourage your loved one to carry on with their usual daily routine; they can still enjoy reading their favourite newspaper with a cup of tea, or partake in a spot of gardening. Staying with us means that they can still enjoy doing the things that make them happy.

At Fernhill House, we have an incredible team of people on hand 24/7 to offer our residents support and companionship. You can rest assured that we will help your loved ones settle in as quickly as possible, they’ll be enjoying their time with us in no time.

How music can help someone living with dementia
If your friend or relative is currently living with dementia, you will know all too well how important it is to try and evoke positive memories – and music is just one way to help achieve that.

We all have that song or piece of music that triggers happy memories to come flooding back. And it’s no different for those living with even the most advanced stages of dementia, music is a tool that can be used to stimulate positive interactions.

According to AgeUK, music and singing is known to be a key feature of dementia care, unlocking memories and improving mood by accessing parts of the brain that other forms of communication just can’t reach.

By playing music during everyday activities, it has the potential to help a person recall the memory of that activity, which in turn could improve cognitive ability over time. It can also lessen distress during daily routine activities such as getting dressed. Playing meaningful music, such as a song from their wedding, or something they used to sing to their children, can tap into memories and emotions.

There are so many ways that music can help a loved one with dementia, not only by helping them connect with people around them, it can help them express feelings and encourage social interaction. It can also help with physical aspects and mobility, by encouraging dance and movement. 

At Fernhill House, we have specialist teams to help our residents that are currently living with dementia. We offer specifically tailored activities and the highest standards of care in a safe and comfortable environment, offering support whatever stage they are at.