A state program meant to give full time caregivers some financial help may be suffering some setbacks. The Kupuna Caregivers Program initially paid up to $70 a day for five days a week for some services. Now, it may be cutting that back to just one day a week.
A major change to a financial assistance program designed to help those caring for Hawaii's senior citizens is upsetting some caregivers.
In recognition of her integral work to support family caregivers in Hawai‘i, AARP named Maui Sen. Roz Baker as a 2017 “Capitol Caregiver.”
Interest in a new pilot project that offers financial support to Hawaii's working caregivers is extremely high, and now a couple of proposals to provide additional funding are advancing at the state Capitol.
While political discourse tends to be in the news on a daily basis on the national stage, we can often take for granted that, even in difficult legislative sessions, our local elected officials are able to work together to prioritize shared community needs.
Slate identifies Kupuna Caregivers as a highlight for working families in 2017. “For American workers increasingly sandwiched between their careers and the need to provide care to kids and their aging parents, Kapuna represents a badly needed path forward.”
The term “kupuna” in Hawaiian translates roughly to elder, or grandparent, or simply an older person held in high esteem. A new state program puts money behind Hawaii’s commitment to its older generations, and to the family members caring for loved ones in their later years.
Eleanor Thommes and her sister have reorganized their schedules and finances to take care of their 93-year-old mother, Elising Roxas, who needs round-the-clock care.
“A lot of women, especially single women, need to work,” said Ms. Thommes, 63, who lives in Mililani, Hawaii. “But at the same time they have all these responsibilities, to pay the bills, and to caregive. How can they possibly do all of that the same time?”
In Hawaii, senior citizens are kupuna. The Hawaiian word, used in roughly the same way as elder or grandparent, denotes reverence for experience and wisdom. Throughout history, Hawaiian culture has placed a high value on children and grandchildren caring for their kupuna, helping them age with dignity in their own homes and communities.
Every state should emulate Hawaii, not only in its opposition to exclusion and division, but also in envisioning the future.
In advocating for caregivers and our elders, I’m usually met with tremendous resistance. Even though the data tells us that we are an aging nation with ever-increasing caregiving needs, it is difficult to get traction with lawmakers. Not in Hawaii. In Hawaii, families prioritize caring for kupuna. There is broad agreement that caring is an important part of family life, and should be supported by public policy.
I can only imagine the relief, and gratitude, I would have felt had a resource like the Hawaii Kupuna Caregivers program been available back in my caregiving days. Legislators now have the chance to make the resource a reality for those who have succeeded me. And who knows when I will assume the role of caregivee instead of caregiver?
It is good news that the kupuna caregivers assistance bill — Senate Bill 534/House Bill 607 — has made it through the budget committees of the state Senate and House.
This session, policymakers will have the opportunity to do something important for Hawaii’s seniors, the families who care for them and the burgeoning costs our state must assume for the long-term care needs of the aging baby boomer population advancing to retirement.
Well, Hawaii, we’re not getting any younger.
According to state data, by 2020, most of the baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — will have celebrated their 60th birthday. By then, it’s projected that about one-quarter of the state’s population will be age 60 or older. Demographers say that as a state, we’re aging more rapidly and living longer than any other state.
Having some financial aid would have allowed him to get some respite before having to turn to a care home, and that’s why Mitchell is urging state lawmakers to pass the proposed kupuna caregivers assistance bill.
Mitchell was among several people sharing heart-rending testimonies at the rally in support of companion bills in the House and Senate (SB 534/HB 607). The gathering was organized by Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE), AARP and other groups in partnership with the national nonprofit Caring Across Generations.
Activist rallied at the Hawaii State Capitol on Tuesday hoping lawmakers will find a way to ease the burden of caregivers across the state.
A bill being pitched would provide money vouchers for families to pay for trained caregivers.
I was honored to be present on the Senate floor as a guest of Sen. Michelle Kidani during the opening day ceremonies at the state Legislature this year and watch her election as vice president. It was also heartening to read in the program for the day the Senate’s affirmation of its commitment to Ola Lehulehu –People and Communities.
I watch my parents with a deep sadness as the sun sets on their long and useful lives. My mother, 85, once a nurse, has just joined my father, 95, once a doctor, on the terrible journey with Alzheimer’s. I used to be a partner in my father’s OB/GYN practice. Now I am a partner in helping my parents manage the pain of their decline. I feel lucky that as a doctor, I can make a significant contribution to overseeing their care.
After a lifetime working for a stronger, more compassionate community, I’ve just retired.
The issues I have championed have never been directly self-serving. But now, I am part of a huge and growing group of senior citizens. Our needs are different, often urgent, generally expensive and not easily met.
Our story of caring for a loved one at home is not unique. My mother-in-law, Florence Yasuda, was living on her own, doing her own cooking, cleaning, laundry and yardwork and she walked or took the bus to do her shopping. But in September 2011 Florence, then 93, fell while sweeping her driveway, breaking her upper arm.