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.
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.
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?
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.
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.