In her younger days Samoan customer Tolopo Falanaipupu Faapito was a champion cricketer. Over the past 20 years her health has deteriorated with a series of strokes, but she’s determined not to give up and with the support of her loving husband Ama and family as well as her Pacific Homecare Support Workers, Tolopo’s determination shines through.
Growing up in the village of Sasatele in Samoa, Pacific Homecare customer Tolopo Falanaipupu Faapito was practicing as a nurse. Building on the experience, when she moved to New Zealand, she worked at Waitakere Hospital as a nursing carer alongside her sister.
A gifted cricket player, Tolopo represented Auckland in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She was a great batter who received a Century award in the 1971 – 1972 season. She will never forget the day she scored a century as a batter for the Auckland Cricket team back in 1971.
Her trophies say it all.
In the late 1990’s Tolopo had her first stroke. Being the strong minded woman she is, she refused to be hospitalised, so her loving husband Lesa Amataga Faapito (Ama) gave up his job to care for his wife.
Ama and the couple’s five children Faapito, Laine, Tana, Livingi, and Tama have worked tirelessly to care for the back bone of their family – mama Tolopo.
To this day some 20 years later, Ama is still the primary care giver to Tolopo and the two have bonded like never before.
The couple live together with their daughter Laine, Clinical Educator – Nursing in AUT, granddaughter Isabella and son Tana.
Sadly over the last 20 years Tolopo has experienced a series of strokes, affecting her health.
Referred to Pacific Homecare in 2006 by the needs assessor, the family became customers because of our work with Pacific Island families and specialising in complex care.
Another obstacle struck in July 2016, when Tolopo had another stroke that put her in hospital at Middlemore.
After some time of not responding to the medication, the doctors had decided to make preparations to stop administering medication, and move her to the palliative care ward.
Believing in their mum, the family were not ready to give up, and insisted the doctors try a different course of medication to see if their mum and wife would respond better.
While it took some convincing, the doctors finally agreed to the suggested changes.
Three days after the change in medication, Tolopo was eating and drinking again and was more responsive. A true testament to how well Ama and the family know Tolopo.
They currently receive five hours of support a day, seven days a week, and are really happy with the Pacific Homecare Support Workers, particularly Losa Taufa who is their permanent Support Worker.
They say they appreciate the fact that Losa doesn’t just come in to the get the job done. She shows love to mama Tolopo and care and mama Tolopo is comfortable with her.
Knowing and understanding her customer so well, Losa immediately notices any changes in mama’s moods and/or movements and she doesn’t hesitate to let the family know.
It’s the little things like this that the family appreciate and find comfort in because they know that their mum and wife is being take care of with love.
The children can go to work knowing that she is being looked after and Dad (Ama) does not have to do too much by himself.
In his free time Ama likes to go swimming or sit in the spa to relax. He goes to church every Sunday for about two hours and twice a year he gets back home in the tropical island of Samoa for some R&R while the children and Pacific Homecare Support Workers continue caring for Tolopo.
Laine is currently doing a post graduate paper on education so, between looking after her mum, being a mum, working and completing her studies, she does not get very much free time.
However, she enjoys every spare moment with her daughter Isebella. She likes to take her daughter away at least once a year to a different place each time. This year, the pair are going to Fiji.