Gloria Halverston’s weekly highlight is attending the fitness class and lunch run for diabetes patients from Langimalie Health Centre.
When she began the diabetes exercise classes in 2000 there were only 6 participants; now the numbers often exceed 50, she says.
The classes highlight the importance of exercise to Gloria, who does daily exercises as well as attending the Monday class.
The only Palagi in the group, she always feels welcomed and cared for.
‘I was 61 when I started, I’m now 75 and I’m in much better shape in every way,’ says Gloria who also helps tend the communal garden at the hall.
Gloria discovered she had diabetes when she turned up at the Langimalie Clinic looking for a new GP after retiring. She was referred to Fifita who put her on a care plan including doing daily blood sugar tests.
‘The blood sugar tests show that I’m keeping my diabetes under control. I feel so much better.’
Gloria, who gets a lift to and from the exercise class through the centre’s van, says the whole package is wonderful.
‘They pick us up, which is important for me because I don’t drive anymore. They provide lunch for us and take us home again. They will even stop at the pharmacy so I can get prescriptions for my husband and me on the way home. I couldn’t wish for a better service.’
Gloria has also attended every cooking demonstration run at the centre’s kitchen.
‘I really enjoy learning how to cook better and if I want a recipe Fifita will copy it out for me. It makes such a difference to be part of a community all working to have better health.’
This story is part of Tongan Health Society’s Langimalie Centre cardiovascular disease projects.