What is the purpose of this website?

This site is maintained by Caring Across Generations, a campaign dedicated to helping families across the United States be there for their loved ones, no matter what. We built this site as part of the effort to create the Kupuna Caregivers program, which the Hawai'i Legislature did in 2017 (see below). With the program established, this site provides information on the new Kupuna Caregivers program, provides ways caregivers can get involved in strengthening and expanding it, and helps people navigate the process of working with the State of Hawai'i to get enrolled.

This site is NOT run the State of Hawai'i, any state agency, or the Governor's Office on Aging and is NOT a means of enrolling in the program. If you want to know more about enrolling or if you want assistance in the enrollment process, please fill out the form here or here.

How are we building on the success of 2017?

In 2017, Hawai'i created the Kupuna Caregivers program and seeded it with $600,000. In 2019, we need to build on this important first step and expand the program so it helps as many 300 family caregivers who work outside the home as possible. This would help meet the demand from the over hundreds of family caregivers who have requested support from Kupuna Caregivers. 

Kupuna Caregivers is also a means of investing in home health care jobs. Many families will use support from Kupuna Caregivers to hire home health aides, creating an economic infusion into this portion of the health care industry and helping high-quality jobs with fair wages. More than 90 percent of home health workers are women of color. As home care workers often piece together multiple clients to have enough work to support themselves, this program can help stabilize the care profession and ensure retention of caregivers; promote bonds between older adults and their caregivers; and create more economic opportunities for home care workers.

There are several bills introduced at the legislature this session that will appropriate additional funds in 2019, which will allow the Executive Office on Aging provide support to as many families as possible. 

As part of our commitment to improving the quality of care and caregiving jobs in Hawai'i, we supported legislative efforts to convene a working group to review the state of the home care force in Hawaii and make recommendations that help families who choose home care make ends meet while receiving quality care.

Last year, Senate Concurrent Resolution 149 / Senate Resolution 94 requested the Executive Office on Aging, along with the University of Hawaii Center on Aging, bring together such a group and report back on the ability of families to access and finance home care, the explanation of skills and training that home care workers require, as well as the relationship between the quality of care provided by home care workers and the wages and benefits they receive. We believe these are key aspects of helping our kūpuna and people with disabilities receive the high quality of care they deserve.

How will this help Hawai'i's families and communities?

When the caregiver is working full-time, adding care duties to the obligations of a job outside the house brings additional personal strain for the caregiver. Care duties can have an effect on job performance, too: arriving late after helping an elder get settled or off to daycare, reducing hours at work to help take care of a kupuna, or turning down a promotion because of caregiving duties at home. Additionally, many families face the dilemma of not qualifying for Medicaid, yet also not having enough funds to pay for the kinds of care their loved ones need.

Ninety percent of people over age 65 would prefer to remain stay in their homes as long as possible, and studies show that health outcomes are significantly improved when people recuperate at home versus in a hospital or long-term external care facility. Supporting home caregiving means Hawai‘i can honor the wishes of our seniors, improve their health outcomes, and reduce the cost of long-term care for both family caregivers and the state. 

Expanding the program means stronger families and stronger communities, the fundamental building blocks of a prosperous Hawai'i that works for all of us. 

How will this make financial sense for Hawai'i and residents of Hawai'i?

Almost any time an older adult is able to receive care at home rather than in a long-term care facility or a hospital, the cost of that care is lower, often by significant amounts. Investments in home and community-based services are clear and demonstrated ways to achieve more efficient health care spending. Our state's health care system is already overburdened and any program that invests in people receiving quality care at home rather than in a facility lessens the burden on the system as a whole. 

Not only does Kupuna Caregivers strengthen the health care system, it also represents long-term savings for families and for businesses. The average family caregiver loses nearly $304,000 over their lifetime as a result of caregiving responsibilities. A recent study showed that businesses lost $33 billion per year as a result of reduced work status of family caregivers. Keeping money in the pockets of caregivers and investing in local businesses is good for families and also an essential investment in our state’s economy.

Finally, care jobs are the fastest growing jobs in the country, and dedicating more resources to supporting family caregivers will help ensure that those jobs pay decent wages and those in the paid care workforce to earn enough money to provide for their own families without drawing on other government support programs. 

What kind of services does Kupuna Caregivers provide?  

The program provides support for family caregivers who work outside the home. It pays for things like participation at an adult day center, home care aide for a couple of hours, transportation to adult day care or adult day health, or chore and homemaking services. It focuses on meeting the needs of each individual family. 

I thought Medicare paid for this. Isn’t there already a government program for this?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover most long-term care costs outside of a nursing facility, like hiring a home care aide or respite care. 

Who administers the program? 

The program is delivered by the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) of the County Area Aging Agencies (AAAs), and administered by the Executive Office on Aging, attached to the Department of Health. By using an already existing infrastructure, we reduced the startup costs and got the program up and running quickly. 

How does this differ from the Kupuna Care program?

The Kupuna Caregivers does not replace the Kupuna Care program — it increases support to families with long-term care needs. Unlike the Kupuna Care program, Kupuna Caregivers is a form of service intended to help caregivers stay in the labor force while also ensuring families receive the care they need. Kupuna Caregivers is a new project that builds upon a very successful existing program.

How do we pay for it?

The program is paid from existing revenues in the general fund. There are no new taxes created or collected to pay for Kupuna Caregivers. 

Who is eligible? Can people just move to Hawai‘i to get this benefit? 

Kupuna Caregivers uses the Kupuna Care screening process plus the requirement that the caregiver be employed.  Hawai‘i residents, 60 years or older, who have a family caregiver who is employed 30 or more hours a week are eligible.  

Should Hawai‘i residents still buy private long-term care insurance?

For families who are able to afford long-term care insurance and feel that it is a way to meet their needs, LTCI can be an important option to help provide care. This program does not prevent anyone from purchasing private insurance to extend the amount of coverage they have.