“It was hard for me to accept that complete strangers could come into my house and take care of my mum the way I would ………. It was not until the right Support Worker came along, Ana Takai did I begin to relax and I began to trust her”

Our Employee of the Month Ao Baker openly shares her very personal experience of transition with us.

The second youngest of five children, Ao moved to New Zealand at the age of 10 with her siblings and their mother Rebeka. Together they settled in the suburb of Otara, which has remained home for Ao to this day.

As the primary caregiver for her late mother Repeka since 2003 Ao was no stranger to the challenges faced by families who have a loved one at home that needs care. Eventually, Repeka’s condition reached a point where extra support was required to be able to provide adequate comfort.

The family approached Pacific Homecare (PHC) in 2009 to assist with providing the necessary support.

This was particularly hard for Ao who by this time had single-handedly taken care of her mum for six years.

Understandably, letting go of the reigns to complete strangers requires some adjusting especially for Ao who had invested her whole being to taking care of her mum.

Things were not off to a great start. The Support Workers were professionals in their field and did not like that their every move was under the watchful eye of Ao. If things weren’t to her satisfaction, Ao would call into the office to complain.

“It was hard for me to accept that complete strangers could come into my house and take care of my mum the way I would ………. It was not until the right Support Worker came along, Ana Takai did I begin to relax and I began to trust her”

Fast forward to 2017, following the passing of the late Repeka Baker in December 2016, Ao makes contact with Training & Services Manager Ann-Louise Uluakioala (Louise) asking if there were vacancies.

Taking a chance on her, Louise gave Ao an opportunity to become a Support Worker.

“I want to say thank you to Louise for giving me the chance ……. For opening up the doors for me” says Ao

The flip side of the coin was an eye-opening experience for Ao. Understanding the challenges Support Workers face while still delivering day in and day out with a smile on their faces was mind-blowing for Ao who came to appreciate the role and their people

“We are really proud of you (Ao), you have come a really long way and we are happy you are where you are today” says Hamish Crooks

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS
Favourite type of music?
Pacific Island tunes, Reggae, Soul
Favourite food?
Pork Chops, Lamb Chops
What are you into right now?
Crosswords. I am a crossword fanatic
What languages do you speak?
Samoan & English
What are your hobbies?
Gardening, Crosswords, Reading Magazines
What’s your favourite childhood memory?
Going to the grands to eat bread! Back then, if you had bread in the house you were well off because it was so rare.

I loved spending time with the family, all of us together under one roof whereas now, everyone has gone their separate ways.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A Police Woman
If you weren’t doing this job what would you be doing?
After looking after my mum, I am inspired to care for people and give back to the community

“I would like to dedicate this Employee of the Month award to my late mum Repeka Baker. She sacrificed her life to bring us here to give us a better life.”

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