Ann Whitaker, 50, was born with cerebral palsy. Aged just three months, her parents were advised to ‘put her in a home’ because she would never be able to walk or talk.
Defying this advice, along with similar repeated by many specialists during the early years of her life, Ann led an active lifestyle throughout her childhood, enjoying swimming, horse riding, hydrotherapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy. Encouraged by her parents who wanted her to lead the fullest life possible, Ann’s independent nature shone through and she grew into a bright young woman.
During her teenage years, Ann discovered the Alexander Technique, a treatment which aids relaxation and confidence building. She also made progress with regards to her speech which became clearer.
After making the decision to move into independent accommodation, Ann eventually settled at Springhill. During her time here, she has made great improvements with regards to her mobility, now able to walk well with minimum assistance.
A lively presence around the place, Ann always gets involved in the activities and goings on around the home, making lots of friends along the way. Ann has now written an account of her life at Springhill and what it means to her to have her independence. She has asked us to share her story:
“I have lived at Springhill Care Home for three years and am now going into my fourth, and I have no regrets. All the staff treat me like an adult and with full respect. The first time I visited Springhill I somehow knew that I could make this my home for the rest of my life. For the first time I was treated with respect, and it wasn’t long before I began to feel like a person in my own right.
“As time went on I began to put my full trust in staff and began to communicate with them so I could help them to understand what I wanted. If they could not understand me the first time, they would ask me to repeat.
“I have a large bedroom with plenty of space and my own bathroom which gives me complete privacy. One thing I noticed straight away was when a member of staff entered my bedroom they always knocked first to give me notice. The staff are so kind and helpful and if you ever need anything doing, they always try to get the job done within the same day.
“During the week we have activities every afternoon, like crafts and music. Entertainers come in once or twice a month to entertain us. All the residents at Springhill have got used to me and I try to visit them daily. We also have different church groups coming in on a regular basis. It was through Celia who brings communion every week that I got to know the people from the parish. Last year I got invited to go to Lourdes with them and had a wonderful time. Because of this I have made some good friends.
“In December I celebrated my 50th birthday and the staff were so good to throw me a party. I invited my family and friends and they all said what a wonderful warm greeting you receive as soon as you walk through the door at Springhill.
“I think one of the main things I have learnt is how to approach staff by myself, at one time I would have asked my father to ask if I wanted anything doing, but now I feel confident asking myself.
“I am totally satisfied and love living here at Springhill.”