Fit as a fiddle

Up until her mid-80s, Jean Barker was still riding her pushbike around her home in Middlesbrough, with her daughter describing her as “fit as a fiddle”.

Born in 1930, Jean has spent her entire life in Middlesbrough and is one of a declining number of the population who can still remember what it was like living through a world war.

Tracey says: “She was only young when the war started but mum can still recall having to go to into the air raid shelter during bombing and carrying around a Mickey Mouse gas mask that was given to all children which looked like the cartoon character”.

By coincidence, Jean went to the same school where her grandson (Tracey’s youngest son) now also attends. After leaving school she worked in factories, pubs, and shops and like many people of her generation she met her husband Oswald in a dance hall.

Ozzy, as he was known, died tragically of cancer when Tracey and her brother Robert were very young, so Jean brought the children up herself, striving to give them as much as she could.

Tracey recalls: “Mum never had much money, but she would always give her last penny to help us or other people; she was so kind in that way.”

Despite being fit and active well into her 80s, Jean, who is now 93, unfortunately became ill and in 2022 she was admitted to hospital with a chest infection and tested positive for flu, which led to pneumonia. She also subsequently caught Covid.

The combination of this led to delirium and at one stage she was put on end-of-life care.

However, given her nature she fought back (Tracey jokes she has nine lives!) but it was deemed that returning home would be unsafe, so Tracy and Robert were faced with finding a care home for their mum.

When Tracey looked around Middlesbrough Grange she was impressed with the caring nature of the staff and on this basis, she chose the home for Jean.

Tracey says: “My mum means the world to me, so it had to be somewhere special for her and Middlesbrough Grange felt nice and homely, and it was clear the staff all genuinely care about the residents.

“She went in February 2023 and absolutely loves it. Her door is always open, and she likes the other residents popping in to have a chat with.

“I visit her every day so I can see how good the care is in the home. I hear and see how kind and patient the staff are with the residents, so we couldn’t be happier with the choice we made for mum.”

Why Choose Constantia Healthcare?

Residential & Nursing Care

Providing a homely, safe and secure environment for your loved ones

Respite & Day Care

Looking after your loved ones while you have a well-earned rest and break

Alzheimers & Dementia Care

Specialist care for people with complex needs at Roseleigh in Middlesbrough

Varied Activity Programme

Stimulating body and mind with an ever-changing schedule