Recognizing Warning Signs of Abuse

I was a guest on “Generations Radio,” AM 690, on Nov. 22, 2019 with Lt. John McCarthy of the Financial Crimes Unit of the Honolulu Police Department. The 39-year department veteran is nationally recognized as an expert in financial crimes and elder abuse. On the show, we discussed how scams go undetected because victims don’t recognize the warning signs of abuse. What follows are danger signals that should prompt further investigation…

Affordable Adult Day Care

Often, families don’t know where to turn when a loved one suddenly needs constant care. Insurance and Medicare plans may cover very few long-term care expenses — or none at all. In the past, nursing homes were the only option for care outside of the family home. However, now there are many home- and community-based services that help support aging in place.

Alternative Strategies for Sleep Apnea

About 50 to 70 million people in the U.S. are chronic sleep apnea sufferers; more than 85 percent of them are undiagnosed. The Mayo Clinic defines sleep apnea as a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Sleep apnea sufferers may snore loudly and feel tired, even after a full night’s sleep.

Tips for Healthy Knees

The majority of patients who come into my office do not realize they lock or hyper-extend their knees while standing or walking. They often do this out of habit or because of weakness. Generally, locking your knees transfers stress from supporting muscles to the knee joint, compressing it. The result is decreased mobility and blood flow and increased friction that can lead to pain or wearing away of the joint.

Everyone Needs a Medical Organizer

The year 2006 was a difficult time for Sandi Yorong and her family. Her father started the year undergoing treatment for low-grade prostate cancer. The mild radiation treatment made him tired, but there were no other complications. By mid-year, however, he began experiencing upper back pain. In November, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Dust to Dust: Leaving a Clean Legacy

Each year in Hawai‘i, we bury an average of 3,400 imported caskets constructed from non-biodegradable materials such as metal, polyester, lacquer, caustic glue, rubber and formaldehyde. We additionally inter hundreds of gallons of hyper-toxic embalming fluid. These are materials we would never bury on any other day of the year in our backyards. So how have we arrived at a place where our lifestyle choices for the environment look markedly different from our end-of-life choices?

Create a Legacy With Your Real Estate

One of the biggest decisions we face as we age is what to do with our most valuable asset — our real estate. Our home is a precious place of comfort… well, most of the time. But perhaps a flight of stairs is becoming a struggle to climb. Maybe the house is now just too big to maintain. Where to go when it’s time to downsize is a question select real estate professionals can answer.

Dine Out or Order In Tasty, Healthy Meals

Today, innovation is changing our way of life for the better. Technology evolves to eliminate painstaking tasks and make our lives easier. Improving methods also applies to the food business, where the combination of technology and innovation enables hungry islanders to obtain their favorite meals from local restaurants with delivery to their doorsteps within minutes of ordering. We can choose snacks, meal plates or fine dining from the comfort of our home using our smartphone or laptop.

Enrich Retirement With Passion, Exploration

I am a retired preschool teacher from Bemidji, Minnesota, and I live in Kā‘anapali, Maui, all winter. I am an active volunteer in both communities and my huge appetite for travel has taken me to many of the world’s countries. My method of solo travel affords me opportunities to explore each destination and its culture at my leisure. Often that means viewing and appreciating its art.

Thoughts on Aging

Hawai‘i is generally a retirement-friendly state. Taxation of retirement income is relatively benign. Our warm climate and surrounding ocean allow ample opportunities for year-round outdoor exercise and connecting with nature. Our culture is generally inclusive and promotes venues for social interaction. All of these factors form a foundation for a thriving senior population that can enjoy fulfillment and longevity. The key is recognizing the treasure trove and taking full advantage of it.

Partnering for a Better Senior Community

To better serve Hawai‘i’s senior community, Generations Magazine held a networking event for its partners on Sept. 17 at 15 Craigside, where a delicious breakfast was provided, thanks to Kind2Kūpuna and Margaret Wong of Copeland Insurance Group. Generations Magazine partners met, greeted and learned about each other, making contacts with those who support and serve kūpuna and their families.

The Gift of Food

We know how food gets distributed at the market to people who can afford to buy it. For those who can’t, every day, a network of Hawai‘i nonprofits work together to collect food donations and deliver them to the hungry. They serve seniors on a fixed income, low-income families, disabled persons and homeless persons who may not be getting enough food to sustain health or the energy to work.

Robocalls: An Overview

In the last year, Americans received about 5 billion robocalls per month, up from the 2 billion a month just two years ago. Robocalls are automated calls made by a computer program, enabling the telemarketer or scammer on the other end to call multitudes of phone numbers in a short span of time. It took me under five minutes of “Googling” to find a website and fill out a form to order robocalling software that I could use to dial hundreds of telephone numbers an hour.

Once a Child Becomes an Adult…

A frantic mother once called me after her daughter was injured in a ski accident. When she called the hospital to find out the status of her daughter, hospital personnel would’t release any information and didn’t allow her make decisions on her child’s behalf. Just imagine the stress this caused! This situation is all too common. When a child leave for college, for example, in the eyes of the law, he or she is now an adult and parental rights cease. This fact is often overlooked.

Managing Aging Parents’ Finances

Making financial decisions takes time, attention and energy at any age. In the case of elderly adults, it can become increasingly difficult to manage daily finances, particularly if their health is declining or they’re experiencing cognitive issues. If you’re providing support to aging parents — or plan to in the future — here is some advice on how to handle the situation and prepare for what’s to come.

Center Helps Seniors Get Back to Work

Meaningful employment is one of the best ways to keep fit in every way as we age — socially, mentally and even physically. But some of Waikīkī Community Center’s clients had difficulty finding employment. Retirees also found that the way people look for work has changed significantly. Others felt employers didn’t want to hire them due to their age. Many wanted to change career paths entirely. Therefore, WCC started Back-to-Work Force, a free service employment program focused on adults 50 and over.

Get ’Extra Help’ With Medicare Drug Costs

Assistance is available for some people with limited income and assets who may be eligible for a program called “Extra Help.” It’s a Medicare health plan that assists in paying costs related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. This can include monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,900 per year. Many people qualify and don’t even know it.

Service Employment Program in Action

Many seniors approaching retirement age have not built up adequate savings in their Social Security accounts. By finding employment before taking SS withdrawals, seniors can build up accounts and ensure a healthier retirement payments when the time comes. The Honolulu Community Action Program Inc. administers the Senior Community Service Employment Program for low-income seniors who meet the program’s eligibility requirements:

A Support Group for the Caring Giver

Are you caring for someone over 60 who is living at home? Then, Project Dana has a special program just for you, called the “Caring Giver Support Group” or CGSG. Using education and group training sessions, CGSG helps caregivers to better understand their loved ones while learning to care for themselves, as well. Group sessions are also a safe place to connect and talk story about the joys and frustrations of being a caregiver.

Medicare Health Plans & Caregiving

With National Caregivers Month quickly approaching, let’s remember former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who said it best in 2012—“There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.” As a caregiver, what questions should I ask to help me assess the best Medicare Advantage (health plan) possible?

Prostate Cancer Support Group

Most men seem to have little knowledge about prostate cancer, even though it is one of the most common cancers found in men in the U.S. Until diagnosed, most of us tend to ignore the issue entirely. I was no different some six years ago — before I was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. I was in denial, even though I was symptomatic. I convinced myself that I knew better and self-diagnosed what I thought was simply an enlarged prostate. Little did I know I was about to embark upon an adventure and steepen my learning curve on the topic.

Understand Your Medicare Options

Hawai‘i has 268,000 Medicare beneficiaries in 2019 — nearly 19 percent of the state’s total population. About 45 percent of Hawai‘i’s beneficiaries select Medicare Advantage plans. The remaining 55 percent are covered under Original Medicare. Every year during Medicare’s Annual Election Period, Medicare beneficiaries can add, drop or switch plans. Medicare health plans and prescription drug plans can change in cost, coverage and services every year, so look at your plan’s coverage for 2020 and compare it with other plans.

Dementia Activity Ideas

Planning activities for a Person Living With Dementia (PLWD) isn’t easy. I’ve found it challenging to identify activities that peak and maintain the interest of a PLWD. The Positive Approach to Care philosophy states that PLWD need a balance of activities that include leisure, productivity, restoration and self-care.
There are variations of engagement for everyone in any GEMS® state of dementia. GEMS® is a dementia characteristic and ability model. Providing activities that the person is able to do mentally and physically is the key.

Senior Exercises for the Mind & Body

Through daily exercise, seniors can combat illnesses such as arthritis and osteoporosis, which can afflict them in their golden years. And as physical health declines, untreated depression can decrease the quality of life. So seniors must remain, mentally and physically active for optimum health. For example, strength training is useful to combat the loss of muscle mass associated with aging, and helps to maintain flexibility and range of motion.

Repetitive Questioning in Alzheimer’s

In home care, a question I often get asked is how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s who asks the same questions over and over again. To better understand and manage what’s going on, it helps to first know a bit about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. It’s a progressive disease, where brain cells deteriorate and eventually a person can’t make sense of the world. When short-term memory is affected, it can lead to repetitive behaviors, like talking or asking about the same things over and over. In essence, your loved one can’t recall having already asked a question because of their memory loss.

Protect Yourself With a Flu Vaccination

Due to the weakening of the immune system, people 65 years and older are at high risk of getting seriously ill from the flu. During most flu seasons, adults 65 years and older experience the greatest burden of severe flu and complications. Between about 70 and 85 percent of flu-related deaths in the United States occur among people 65 years and older. And people 65 and older account for between about 50 and 70 percent of the flu-related hospitalizations. Vaccination is highly effective in preventing flu and its potential complications.

Healthy Aging & Hearing Loss

As we age, our hearing often loses its edge. Clinical research suggests that hearing loss can have a negative effect on some key measures of healthy aging as cognitive, physical and social functioning decline. A study by the National Institute on Aging indicates that people with untreated hearing loss are significantly more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Engage Your Abs for a Strong Core

Whether your goal is to reduce low back pain or slim your waist, adding exercises to your workout that engage your core can make a significant difference. The most important, yet often overlooked muscle that must be strengthened, is the transverse abdominis (TA) which is the deep, inner abdominal muscle that begins at the spine and wraps around your waist.

The Art of Falling

Falling can become a major threat to our quality of life. According to Hawai‘i’s Department of Health, it is the No. 1 cause of fatal injuries in seniors. The DOH reports that one in three people over 65 will fall this year. While there are a number of precautions you can take, you can also protect yourself by learning how to fall safely.

Understanding Whole-Body Donation

Choosing end-of-life arrangements can be one of those tough decisions as a senior. However, these are very important decisions to make. With so many options available, how can anyone decide what the most cost-effective and responsible way to proceed would be? According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the trend of having an expensive burial is on the decline.

Life in a Retirement Community

Retirement communities are a lot like cruise ships. There’s a lot of excitement and options to choose from, including delicious cuisine, opportunities to relax, read and watch movies. There’s also time to talk story with neighbors and participate in activities such as hula and art classes, tai chi, water aerobics and more. You’ve worked hard all your life. Now it’s your time to be pampered and not worry.

The Journey Continues

Yes, the journey of life continues even after we retire!

How long our journey on Earth will be is one of the unknowns we must live with. In my earlier article, entitled, “I’ve Never Been Old Before,” I wrote about how lost I was when I retired from my career in the federal government. It took me quite a while to find purpose and meaning during the empty days that kept coming at me. Thankfully, I realized how rewarding it is to give back in whatever way you can.

Tips for Traveling With the Grandkids

We started taking our grandkids on trips without their parents to create shared memories and to get to know each other in a more personal way. It is somewhat of a tradition in our family. My mother took our children to Japan without us. These trips remain cherished memories. In a way, we are continuing her legacy.

50 Years of Transplantation in Hawai‘i

On Aug. 9, 1969, a surgical team headed by Dr. Livingston Wong performed the first kidney transplant at St. Francis Hospital. Since then, more than 2,300 lives in Hawai‘i have been saved and transformed by organ transplants. To celebrate this remarkable milestone and the man whose vision drove it forward, St. Francis Healthcare System hosted a special event on Aug. 7 at its Liliha Campus.

Kick Out Your Freeloading Adult Kid(s)

My office has received an increase in calls from parents, siblings or other relatives trying to kick an adult child out of their house. Often, the caller has already requested that the child leave, only to receive an adamant “no” from the unwelcome person. In one instance, a mother was selling the home that she loved to move into a small, one-bedroom apartment, hoping her son would not be allowed to live there.

Saving for Unfunded Liabilities

For many years, we have heard our federal and state politicians talk about “unfunded liabilities” of the government. An unfunded liability is any liability or expense that does not have sufficient savings or investments set aside to pay for it. The party responsible for paying the unfunded liability pays for it out of current income or savings or by borrowing the funds.
The risk of an unfunded liability is two-fold:

Pay Medicare Supplements With SPIA

With rising health care costs, many Medicare participants use Medicare supplement insurance to help cover expenses that Medicare does not. However, many still struggle to pay the premiums for their Medicare supplement insurance. Surprisingly, another insurance product — one that can guarantee a monthly income stream — might be the solution.

If Your Kids Plan a Later-in-Life Family…

Many couples are choosing to start families later in life compared to their parents and grandparents. And, increasingly, mothers are waiting to have their first child at age 35 or older. This trend has financial implications. On one hand, parents may be more financially secure and have clear priorities for the future. On the other hand, these parents are closer to retirement, so balancing kids’ expenses with saving can be a juggle.

Caregivers: Remember to Breathe

Almost one-third of the adult U.S. population is currently caregivers for an ill or disabled relative. The majority are female and 60 percent are employed part- or full-time. Caregivers need to take time to care of themselves so they stay well enough to care for others. Realize that your own health and well-being could suffer if you don’t take care to be well before tending to others needs.

Begin a Journey of Compassion & Hope

Do you know anyone who has cancer? Do you know what to say or do? We know — and we are bringing that skill set to the workplace. Typically, we all work hard, provide for our families, plan for the future of our children and look forward to retirement someday. However, with one phone call from your doctor, all of that is put on hold, an unplanned journey begins, priorities and perspectives change — and it can all be overwhelming. Compassion for Cancer Caregivers trains volunteers to step up and step in to provide hope through compassion for coworkers and their families who are battling cancer.

A Medicare Miracle

I have spent a decade conducting educational workshops and meeting with individuals transitioning to Medicare or already there. I encourage everyone to explore resources at www.socialsecurity.gov and www.medicare.gov to become knowledgeable before services are needed. I also stress the importance of keeping Medicare cards, medication lists, the names of your physicians and any ongoing health conditions on hand.

Exercise: A Panacea, Pt. 2: Movement/Safety

Although the medical system is driven by pain, preventative approaches are becoming more prevalent. For seniors, it is essential that falls are prevented. Any fall can cause severe damage and breaking a bone (usually the hip or hand/wrist) is quite common. The scary statistic is that one out of every five people will die within one year of breaking their hip.

Are You Aging Too Quickly?

Walk into any gym and you will see it full of baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964. The oldest of the baby boomer generation is now 73 and the youngest is 55. But age alone does not define the actual physical condition of a person. There are two ways to age as defined by the Functional Aging Institute:1) Primary Aging and 2) Secondary Aging.

Maui Pink Paddlers Give Us Hope

Hope and togetherness for persons affected by cancer is Mana‘olana Pink Paddlers’ specialty. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, cancer patients, survivors and supporters pull together, paddling their pink double-hull canoes across the ocean off Kīhei on Maui. Oct. 12 and 13 will be their 10th voyage and overnight on Lāna‘i with The Pacific Cancer Foundation’s Paddle for Life — not a race, but a fun outing

A Paddler First, a Cancer Survivor Twice

Tammy Osurman of West Maui has competed in 10 Nā Wāhine o Ke Kai canoe races — a grueling 42-mile paddle across the treacherous Kaiwi Channel from Moloka‘i to Waikīkī. This “Paddle Bunny” is in the canoe three days a week with the North Shore Renegades. Tammy has paddled in all 10 of the Pacific Cancer Foundation’s Paddle for Life: Voyage to Lāna‘i Events.

FREEDOM: Working in New Ways

For the past few months, I have been introducing you to the concept of working in new ways beyond the old, familiar routine of working a regular, full-time job in an office. Now, many ask how to optimize their independence from the old, familiar world of work. How are they doing good, making money, overcoming feelings of isolation and having a healthy lifestyle? Let’s begin a new journey by addressing freelancing — i.e., working for yourself.

Time to Honor the 100th Battalion

Punchbowl was once used as a lookout for Hawaiian warriors. Now, it’s one of only two national memorial cemeteries in the USA — the other is Arlington, Virginia. It is the final resting place for those that have courageously served in the U.S. Armed Forces. For the 14th year, the 100th Infantry Battalion Club 100 members invite the public to help decorate 1,000 heroes’ graves with flowers Saturday, Sept. 28, from 8 to 11am.

Don’t Be Duped By a Text Message

There’s been a marked increase in text messages with a spoofed Caller ID that ask the recipient to click on a hyperlink — that’s always the objective of this type of scam. It is their methodology to hijack your device. Two Major Risks include: The recipient does not know who really sent the message; and the hyperlink may redirect the message recipient to a website where malicious software may compromise the recipient’s cellphone.

Stealing Home: An Ultimate Betrayal

The term “stealing home” is associated with baseball. It occurs when a runner is on third base and uses guile, speed and luck to make a dash for home plate to score a run. This usually happens when the runner takes advantage of the pitcher being distracted. In the Elder Abuse Unit, however, my team has come to know the term in a different context. We have seen situations when a homeowner literally has had their residence stolen.

Spam, Eggs and Rice

A few years ago, I created the Heartfelt Advance Care Plan booklet to provide my clients with a tool to improve their end-of-life care, to honor their choices and to reduce conflict and guilt among surviving family members. Those who do fill it out usually comment about how difficult yet rewarding it was to complete. Asking and answering detailed questions about end-of-life wishes, regardless of how difficult it may be, is tremendously helpful to both the dying and their survivors.

HELOC Growth Rate

In recent years, financial planners have shown the effectiveness of using a reverse mortgage line of credit to supplement a retirement portfolio. But while a line of credit can be a strategic part of a retirement income plan, there are often misconceptions related to how the credit line grows. In yet another Forbes article focused on reverse mortgages, Wade Pfau, Ph.D., CFA, professor of retirement income at The American College, sets the record straight with an in-depth analysis of how a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) works, grows and stands to benefit borrowers.

The Key to Financial Advisor Acronyms

Professionals in many industries tout their education and professional experience as a way to demonstrate their expertise and set themselves apart. The financial industry is a prime example. With almost 200 professional credentials available, advisors can sharpen their ability to serve clients well. If you are searching for a financial advisor and seeking clarity on what the acronyms after each professional’s name means, here is a primer on eight of the most commonly used designations.

Medicare for All!

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, more than 59 million people in the United States have Medicare. That number is expected to grow to close to 80 million by 2030. Currently, people 65 or older and younger people with disabilities who meet all other eligibility requirements may qualify. Therefore, it is important to start becoming familiar with Medicare terms and definitions. Here are a few.

Continuing SS Benefits After 19

My child who gets Social Security will be attending his last year of high school in the fall. He turns 19 in a few months. Do I need to fill out a form for his benefits to continue? Yes. You should receive a SSA-1372-BK form in the mail about three months before your son’s birthday. Your son needs to complete the form and take it to his school’s office for certification.

Still Working? Got Medicare?

Our parents may have had an easier time than many of us do now. When they turned 65 years old, they were eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare. Today, depending on the year you were born, your full SS may not take effect until you are 67, so you may continue to work and you’re eligible for Medicare. So what should you do?

Changing Lives With Community Action

Maui Economic Opportunity administers more than 40 programs and provides tools to help people and change lives through five departments: MEO Business Development Center, Community Services, Early Childhood Services, Transportation Services and Youth Services. Services for low-income seniors are at the core of MEO programs, administered through MEO Community Services.

Dementia: Helping Your GEMS® Shine

GEMS® is a staging system for dementia. Teepa Snow, OTR and founder of the Positive Approach to Care® philosophy, recreated the Allen Cognitive system of staging dementia with a positive twist. We can now view our Person Living With Dementia as one of Teepa’s GEMS® rather than on a scale of 1 to 7 or on a scale of mild cognitive impairment to profoundly demented.

What Does Aging Mean?

After gaining years of experience working and caring for the elderly, I can imagine many ways to describe what “aging” means. There are multiple factors that determine if one is considered old. In other words, a high number of years someone has been on this Earth does not define them as being old. In today’s world of medical technology, health products and smarter lifestyles, it may be hard to identify our kūpuna.

Great Partnerships

When you think of great partnerships, what comes to mind? Abbott and Costello? Sonny and Cher? Cecilio and Kapono? How about your brain and your ears? Your hearing health depends greatly on how well your brain and ears work together. Your brain counts on the ears to collect sounds and deliver them to be interpreted as meaningful information. It is this partnership that enables us to understand and communicate with others.

What is Renewable Cleaning?

Renewable cleaning is a smart “Green Cleaning” program that applies to general sanitation but focuses on the use of eco-friendly practices and products to create a healthier home environment. It utilizes safe and friendly natural cleaning products that are non-toxic, biodegradable and sustainable. Water is a key source for renewable cleaning because it is a favorable nonpolluting resource that is readily available.

Prevent Pain While Sitting at Your Desk

The reality is most of us sit too much. A study published by Microsoft revealed that U.S. workers spend an average of seven hours per day on a computer — more hours than they sleep at night! Sitting at a desk for hours on end can result in increased muscle tension at the neck, back and shoulders. And if it’s not addressed, over time it can lead to spinal pain, headaches and even more serious symptoms —pain, tingling or numbness down the arms. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy behind your desk:

OPTING FOR… ORGANIC

Last year in the United States, sales of organic food and products topped $48 billion — that’s up almost 10 percent over the previous year, according to the Organic Trade Association. And while this growing industry is showing no signs of stopping, organic farming is hardly a trend; it’s how our parents and grandparents tended to their crops and cattle. Then in the 1950s, pesticides and artificial fertilizers were introduced — creating what is now called “conventionally-grown” food. So what’s the difference and why does it matter?