Hawaii sets the example in building a care infrastructure

Hawaii sets the example in building a care infrastructure

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.

Caregivers could use a helping hand with their heavy burden

Caregivers could use a helping hand with their heavy burden

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?

Kupuna, caregivers need help

Kupuna, caregivers need help

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.

Caregivers need help as Hawaii’s population ages

Caregivers need help as Hawaii’s population ages

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.

Isle caregivers relate financial, health pain in calling on state for aid

Isle caregivers relate financial, health pain in calling on state for aid

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.

Help Needed for Caregiving Heroes

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.

Caregivers need the help of legislators

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.

I Worked To Build Compassion — In Retirement, I Could Use Some

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.

Caring For A Loved One At Home: A Five Year Diary

Caring For A Loved One At Home: A Five Year Diary

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.

Hawai'i Reporter: An interview with Mimi Beams

Hawai'i Reporter: An interview with Mimi Beams

Biff and Mimi are both healthy adults who continue to be busy, contributing members of the community and are active in a variety of business and nonprofit organizations. They believe public long term care assistance can be helpful to both workers and the organizations that employ them as it could help retain experienced employees who might otherwise leave to take care of family members. This conversation offers some insight into how two successful business people view long term care as it has affected them and people close to them. Biff and Mimi also reflect on their own search for good solutions to their own long term care needs and the need for public policy solutions to a looming challenge.

Long-Term Care: Policymakers Owe Working Families A Lifeline

Long-Term Care: Policymakers Owe Working Families A Lifeline

We in Hawaii place enormous importance on family and on caring for our parents, our children, and the most vulnerable among us. Yet, economic realities often force people to put a parent in a nursing home, in an environment many of us would not want for ourselves, so that they do not have to leave the workforce and can keep working to provide for their families.

It’s a blessing to live long in Hawaii, but not if you can’t afford basic needs

It’s a blessing to live long in Hawaii, but not if you can’t afford basic needs

I keep reading about the blessing of longevity in Hawaii. Without the means to meet basic needs, that blessing can turn into a terrible burden. Not everyone can afford to buy private long-term care insurance. We need a publicly funded safety net. Will our representatives match their expressions of reverence for kupuna and their declarations of caring for keiki with solid legislative action?

Letter from Hawai'i's Clergy

Letter from Hawai'i's Clergy

We, the undersigned clergy, are writing to express our support for Senate Bill 2478 and House Bill 1885, legislation that would create a public statewide long-term care program in Hawai`i.  As people of faith, we are motivated by our firm belief in society’s collective responsibility to care for one another.  Leviticus 19:32 tells us directly: “Rise in the presence of the aged and honor the elderly face-to-face!” There is a moral imperative in taking care of our elders, and we have a responsibility as a society to make that care accessible and affordable for every family.

Op-ed: Hawai'i needs long-term plan for long-term care

Op-ed: Hawai'i needs long-term plan for long-term care

Hawaii has the incredible opportunity to be the national leader on innovative public policy to provide assistance to family caregivers. Our policy makers need to recognize their kuleana to help everyone take better care of their loved ones by passing this bill.