When Carol Clay dropped her mother off at the Druids Meadow residential home on the outskirts of Birmingham it was only meant to be a six-week stay.
Norma Spear, a lifelong Brummie approaching her 71st birthday, was increasingly falling while alone at home due to worsening arthritis. After one particularly nasty fall put her in hospital, it was agreed that Norma should move temporarily into a home in September 2010 while her house underwent refurbishment.
Norma, a fiercely independent woman, was against the idea. “She liked her own way and she liked routine,” says Carol, 53, who was Norma’s only child. “She got very frightened of medical people.”
Before arthritis set in Norma would often help out elderly friends who lived close by, pruning flowers in the garden and keeping them company over mugs of tea. Even when her joints began to stiffen she preferred not to be seen in public in a wheelchair, opting for a Zimmer frame instead.
“That’s me done then, isn’t it?” Norma joked with her daughter when told of the plan to move into care. Three years on, the words have lost their humor.