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Elderly and Halloween - making your loved ones feel safe
Once a year the shelves are stocked with sweets and scary costumes, all in preparation for Halloween. It’s a day that lots of people enjoy, but it’s also a worrying day for some, especially the older community.

Strangers knocking at the door, mostly dressed up or wearing masks, even sometimes showing threatening behaviour – it’s no wonder that Halloween can bring an evening of anxiousness to the older generation. 

There are lots of ways to ensure the safety of your loved one, especially if they are living on their own. Here are just some of the things you can do: 

No decorations, no knocking
Many towns now abide by the ‘no decorations, no knocking’ rule, so make sure that the front door is free of any pumpkins or decorations, that way people know that you do not want to be disturbed. 

Safety first
Put the door chain on or use the door spy hole to see who is there before opening the door. If you don’t feel safe opening the door, then keep it closed, you are not obliged to open the door for anyone. 

Put a note asking people not to knock
Much like the no decorations rule, it’s a good idea to put a sign on the door kindly asking trick or treaters to stay away. You can make your own or look for a template online. 

Be at your loved one’s side
If your elderly loved one wants to get involved in the festivities, then make sure someone is with them to answer the door and avoid any unnecessary stress, especially if the trick-or-treaters are in large groups. 

No more sweets
Put a sign on the door saying ‘no more sweets’ once you have run out, so people know to no longer knock. 

Don’t leave someone living with dementia on their own
If your loved one is living with dementia, don’t leave them on their own, sit with them or invite them out for a welcome distraction. Unwelcome people knocking at the door can be incredibly frightening and confusing for somebody living with dementia. 

They may sound like very simple tips, but they are all ways to help your loved one feel safe, something that is of the upmost importance.

Like all national days, celebrations and events, our team will carefully plan tasteful, fun and engaging activities around Halloween. If you want to know how you can join, just give u a call or send us an email.

How we use technology at Fernhill House
It’s no secret that technology is becoming more advanced.  

With the launch of artificial intelligence devices such as the Amazon Alexa and Google Home, it is now easier than ever to turn your house into a ‘Smart Home’ to help you get on with your daily life, but what does this growth in advanced technology mean for people living in our care homes? 

Internet savvy older people
According to the Office for National Statistics  80% of 65 to 74-year-olds are frequent internet users, so it’s no wonder that the elderly community have taken to a bit of internet surfing. Our homes are completely Wi-Fi accessible, and with the use of touch screen devices such as iPads, it’s becoming a lot easier for residents to use their new tech-savvy skills to keep in touch with friends and family, via video call, email or even social media. 

What we already offer
To support our teams and ensure the wellbeing of residents at all times, we utilise a range of industry-leading technologies. 

Electronic care and medication management software efficiently records key information at the point of delivery. These innovations allow our teams to spend more quality time with our residents, improve analysis, create alerts and allow information to be shared with loved ones using the secure family portal.  

We also use acoustic technology, which monitors residents’ wellbeing during the night without the need to undertake intrusive periodic room checks. Care teams are able to respond quickly to the needs of our residents whilst helping them to get a good night’s sleep.  

We have also introduced Tovertafel to our homes. A projection technology that shines light-based objects on to the table, residents and their loved ones can play with the projections on the table, all of which respond to movement and touch. 

What’s next?
Artificial intelligence is something that is constantly developing, with ground breaking trials currently being undertaken in the US, where a robot has been created to help nurses with simple logistical tasks, such as the gathering of medical equipment and refilling supply rooms. 

Also, in Japan, the government is aiming to fill a gap in the nursing workforce by introducing robotics to aid elderly people. Smart technology and apps changing the way we look after ourselves too, with applications such as Kaia, that aims to help back pain sufferers, also internet-connected socksenable you to be treated by a doctor from anywhere in the world. 

Technology may change quickly, but we’re constantly looking at ways we can use industry-leading tech to support the wellbeing of our residents.

The Importance of Hobbies for the Older Generation
Hobbies have always been important for the older generation, be it a form of exercise or arts and crafts. And favourite past times may now be known as a replacement for medication, thanks to something the Health Secretary is calling ‘social prescribing’. 

Matt Hancockhas called for GPs to prescribe hobbies to patients with the aim to steer away from automatically prescribing painkillers and antidepressants if a person is stressed, depressed or suffering from chronic pain – the aim is to offer them activities that can reduce loneliness and improve their health. 

Our home provides an abundance of hobbies that your loved one can explore during their stay. Be it learning something new, or carrying on doing something that they already love, our social calendar offers a huge array of choice to suit all our residents. 

We have beautiful gardens that have been designed to offer a tranquil space for your loved ones. Green-fingered residents are able to continue their love of gardening with plenty of accessible planters and raised beds. We encourage our residents to be as physically active as possible, so whether it’s a spot of gardening or seated exercise, a spot of dancing or a skittles competition; there’s plenty of ways to keep moving every day. This light type of regular exercise not only improves physical development, but also helps improve cognitive and fine motor skills. 

Away from the physical activities, we also offer clubs that keep socialising at the forefront, which can drastically reduce depression in the older generation. From choirs to bridge tournaments, not only do these clubs keep the brain focused and the mind active, but they offer an important social aspect where residents can socialise and make new friends. 

For something that requires a little more concentration, our painting classes and craft afternoons provide a welcome source of calming therapy, and no matter what your ability, there is always the chance to create something beautiful! 

For more information about the daily activities we have to offer, just ask at reception or call us on 01905 679300.

The Misconceptions of Care Homes
Starting the journey of yourself or a loved one moving in to a care home can be a very daunting time, especially if it’s completely new territory as it can be hard knowing where to begin. 

There are many misconceptions surrounding care homes and what it will be like for you or a loved one, and these misconceptions can have a negative impact and sway your opinions of the care homes before you even set foot in one! 

We aim to dispel any worries you may have, to ensure that your care home journey is a positive one. 

‘You will be lonely’
It’s hard to feel lonely when you’re surrounded by so many people! From fellow residents to our fantastic team, there is always someone to chat to and to offer a sense of companionship. Also, we do not have set visiting times in our homes, so guests are able to have friends and family visit whenever they like. 

‘You will lose your independence’
Our aim is to ensure that you remain as independent as possible, but sometimes you may need a little assistance, and that’s OK. We have highly trained teams that will be able to help you with whatever you need, all in a dignified and respectful way. 

‘You’ll be sat in front of a TV all day’
We, like many care homes, have a full and varied activities calendar where our residents can take part and learn a variety of new things, from gardening clubs to days out, every day is different when you stay with us. 

‘You won’t receive proper care’
Our teams are trained to give our residents the highest standards of care. Not only do we have a team of registered nurses, but also physiotherapists, occupational therapists and much more. 

‘The food isn’t nice'
Our chefs work tirelessly to create a variety of dishes that are not only healthy, but also delicious. They work with our residents’ individual care plans to ensure they are getting the best quality food throughout their stay. Our team create appetising, nutritionally balanced and beautifully presented food, with varied, seasonally inspired menus. Meals and refreshments are available throughout the day. 

‘It’s a last resort’
This couldn’t be further from the truth. As we have already mentioned, many of our residents choose to spend their senior years with us so they can socialise with other people and continue to enjoy the things that they love to do, all with the comfort of knowing that help is on hand if they need it. We also offer convalescent and respite care in our homes, meaning that we will take care of you until you are back to full health

Everything you need to know about Tovertafel

A Dutch invention, Tovertafel translates to ‘magic table’ in English. It’s not actually a table at all; it’s a little box which can be mounted on the ceiling, providing a projection down to whatever surface is beneath it. As we’ve just invested in a Tovertafel for the enjoyment of our residents, we wanted to share a little bit about it with you.


What is the Tovertafel?

Tovertafel is essentially a ceiling-based projector, which shines multicoloured lights onto the surface below, usually a table. People can sit around the table and play with the lights, which respond to their movements and touch.


Games range from bouncing a beach ball across the table to helping flowers grow or chasing fish around a pool. Developed in the Netherlands, the Tovertafel has already been trialled in many care homes in the Benelux countries, to great success.


How was Tovertafel developed?

The developer wanted to create something which would reach out to those with mid to late stage dementia, giving their families a means of communication and engagement. All too many families spend the final months or even years with no means of interaction with their loved ones.


The Tovertafel breaks down these boundaries, giving those living with dementia an outlet. The design of the games is such that it doesn’t require any initiative from the participants. Instead, the energising, attention grabbing light invites them to play. 


The research behind this product established that, even in the late stages of dementia, people can still experience the three main outcomes of play: Relaxation, sensation and reminiscence. The games that the designers have added to the Tovertafel so far are all tuned to elicit all three. There are no rules, there’s no way to ‘go wrong’ with the games and everyone can celebrate their abilities


How can the Tovertafel help people living with dementia? 

The Tovertafel has been created to encourage play, even when mental barriers need to be overcome. Some of the benefits to people living with dementia include:


·      Independent play: The simplicity of the games lend themselves perfectly to letting older people play independently, without requiring a care assistant’s supervision

·      Physical activity: The games require moderate reaching, stretching and movement, encouraging physical activity in even the most reluctant of participants

·      Interactions: Playing with the Tovertafel encourages valuable interactions with other residents, staff and visitors

·      Suits all levels: The games can be tailored to suit people of varying abilities, making it a valuable asset for all residents

·      No right or wrong: There is no failure here. If they don’t bounce the beach ball back, it simply bounces off the edge of the table. Everyone has a chance to shine and to be proud of what they can do.


We’re really excited to introduce Tovertafel in our homes and have installed them in both Blenheim House and Fernhill house for the benefit of our residents.


How will we use Tovertafel?

We’re hoping to design activities around the Tovertafel, as well as to simply allow residents free play with the device. Although designed for those in mid to late stage dementia, we’re sure that other residents will enjoy it too, and that it will stimulate valuable interactions between all of our residents.


We hope that when you come to visit, as well as younger members of the family, that you will have a play with our Tovertafel too. We’re thrilled to see how this new investment helps encourage engagement with residents, so do pop in and see what it’s all about!


 

May