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Fernhill House Open Day Saturday 9th February 10am - 4pm
Fernhill House is holding one of its very popular Open Days on February 9th between 10.00am and 4.00pm. There will be refreshments available throughout the day and everyone is welcome. For those of you who are considering care for yourself or a loved one there will be the opportunity to have a tour of the home and meet Mike Dearn, the Home Manager and other members of the Fernhill House team. The timetable for the day is listed below but please join us at any time. 10.00am – The welcome begins with coffee and cake in the Bistro 11.00am – Rosie from Musical Moments… a talented, professional singer who gets everyone involved! Noon – Fernhill House Residents Choir to perform Raffle Draw (free entry to all visitors) 12.30 – 1.30: A chance to mingle and enjoy nibbles in the Bistro – why not sample one of the table-top activities available? 1.30pm – Tours and meet the staff 2.00pm – A carousel of typical ‘in-house activities’ including craft, a reminiscence quiz and a walk around our beautiful grounds 3.00pm – Fernhill House Resident Choir to perform Second Raffle Draw (free entry to all visitors)

The importance of mindfulness for older people
There are many positives to older age – and while life can still be as fun as ever, it’s important to look after your mental wellbeing. 

Mindfulness is a technique that can be practised whatever your age, through meditation. It can help a person become more aware of their thoughts and gives them the opportunity to manage them, and in turn helps eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed. 

The National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE) recommend mindfulness-based therapy to those who have experienced depression, and Cancer Research UK suggests that meditation can be used as a form of complementary therapy to help patients cope with the symptoms surrounding cancer. Using mindfulness techniques can also help those living with dementia, as meditation and breathing exercises can help people cope better with the anxiety, depression and the stress that dementia can often cause. 

Yoga is another way to practise mindfulness. The gentle exercises and poses in yoga not only help with a person’s physical wellbeing, but the breathing techniques you learn during a yoga practise can help encourage a positive mental attitude, something that is so important as you make your way into your older years. 

How to meditate 
Mindfulness can consist of breathing exercises to help calm the mind and offer relaxation. Here are some simple steps if you want to help a loved one practice meditation at home: 

• Sit on a chair with your feet on the floor, arms relaxed either by your side or on your lap 
• Gently close your eyes and focus on the breath flowing in your body.
• Continue to focus on your breathing, if your mind wanders on to other things, just guide it back to focusing on the breath.
• Carry on focusing on your breathing and you will eventually become calm. Stay in this state for as long as you like, most people focus on this for a few minutes, but it can be shorter or longer if you prefer.
• When you’re ready, begin to become aware of your surroundings, before opening your eyes and finishing your meditation.

Five activities to do with your loved one
As you get older, it becomes more important to have an active life. It’s not just about being physically active, it’s about ensuring your loved one is getting a positive quality of life in their older years, from simple activities like watching their favourite film, to learning a new skill. 

Here are five different activities you can do with your loved one, helping them to lead an active and fulfilled life. 

Explore local community groups 
Does your loved one enjoy a spot of knitting? Or have they always wanted to learn a new language? Go out and explore the community groups in your local area, it’s the perfect way to spend some time with your loved one, while giving you both the opportunity to learn a new skill at the same time. We regularly play host to community groups here at Fernhill House, get in touch to find out more. 

Take a trip down memory lane get out some old photos. going through your loved one’s mementos will give them a chance to tell stories and relieve happy memories. 

Get cooking 
Were your loved one’s roast dinners a staple when you were growing up, or are their sweet treats legendary? Get them back in the kitchen and give them a chance to pass on their secret recipes to the younger chefs in the family. 

Exercise together 
Whether it’s a spot of yoga or an aerobics class at the local gym, exercising together will keep you both healthier, it’s also a great way to meet new people – which is very important if your loved one is living on their own. 

Take on the gardening 
Gardening is the perfect activity to do if your loved one enjoys being outdoors. Help them plant some seasonal bulbs and work together to keep their outside space looking beautiful. 

Christmas and Dementia: How to enjoy the holidays
Christmas is a time for friends and family spending time together, but for someone living with Dementia, the festive season can cause a lot of upset and unwanted anxiousness. 

With that in mind, we’ve put together our top tips to help your loved one living with dementia, giving them the opportunity to enjoy the festivities with all the family. 

Keep it familiar 
It’s important to keep things as normal as possible in regards to your loved one’s daily routine. Where possible, stick to regular meal times in a familiar environment to avoid any potential confusion. 

You can also keep things familiar by using old Christmas decorations that your loved one used to use, try to decorate gradually so it doesn’t come as a big shock; or play their favourite Christmas song to trigger fond memories. 

Be flexible 
Sometimes, things just do not go to plan, and that’s ok. Understanding that your loved one’s needs may change suddenly is very important, while they may be thoroughly enjoying the festivities, come the evening they may become tired and agitated. Don’t have a strict plan of how the day is going to be, as you may be left disappointed. 

Quiet time 
Christmas day with the family usually means lots of noise. For someone living with dementia, this can be very overwhelming and difficult for a person to process, especially when they are surrounded by lots of people. Be mindful of loud music and too much noise when people are already chatting. Tell your loved one that they can go in to another room for some quite time where they can sit and relax, taking a break from the noise. 

Involve your loved one 
It’s important to make sure your loved one feels included as much as possible. Even if it’s asking advice on what gifts to buy different family members, keeping the conversation going will not only make them feel present, but could help bring back memories of past festive seasons. 

There are lots of other ways to involve your loved one, for example helping set up the table for dinner, or hanging some baubles on the Christmas tree; all of these little things will provide them with a sense of purpose, rather focusing on things they can no longer do.

Can you spot the signs of a stroke?
A stroke is caused by a blocked or burst blood vessel that brings oxygen to the brain, depriving oxygen and nutrients which causes the brain cells to die. 

Thanks to the FAST campaign, people are a lot more aware of what to look out for when the possibility of a stroke strikes. It’s also important to remember that different parts of the brain control different parts of the body, meaning that the symptoms will be dependent on the part of the brain that is affected. 

Act FAST: 
F- Face – the persons face may have dropped on one side, and they may not be able to smile. Also, their mouth or eye may have drooped. 
A- Arms – due to weakness or numbness, the person may not be able to lift both arms up and keep them there. 
S- Speech – the person may not be able to speak at all, even if they appear awake. The speech may also be slurred or muddled. 
T- Time – you must dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms. 

Other symptoms or signs of a possible stroke include: 
• Weakness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side. 
• Sudden dizziness or loss of balance 
• Sudden and severe headache 
• Sudden loss of vision or trouble seeing in one or both eyes 
• Feeling easily confused or having trouble understanding things that would usually be completely understandable 

If the symptoms quickly disappear in less than 24 hours could mean that your loved one has had a Transient Ischaemic Attack, or what is often referred to as a mini-stroke. The same level of urgency should be taken if your loved one experiences a mini-stroke, as medical intervention could reduce the risk of a further, more serious stroke. 

Having a stroke can have long term effects on a person’s day-to-day living. Depending on the severity, the journey to full recovery could be a long one. Your loved one may need to undergo physiotherapy to help recover from muscle weakness, as well as coping with any other physical changes that may occur. Speech and language therapy may be used if the person has trouble speaking, reading or writing, and other therapies may also be on hand to help with any emotional changes that may have taken place. 

There are lots of resources available if you want more information about spotting the signs of a stroke, such as Stoke Association or the NHS website.