Character. Duty. Honor.

They didn’t fight for fame or recognition, but because it was the right thing to do. Now in their 90s, events beyond their control are still shaping the lives of the Chinese American veterans of World War II. A global pandemic has now extended the delay of national and local ceremonies honoring their military service. But at long last, they will soon be recognized for their patriotism.

What is a Trust?

A trust is created when a person transfers “stuff” to a trustee who will manage the stuff for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. “Stuff” includes real property — such as land and buildings — and personal property — such as bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and personal effects. The person who transfers the stuff to the trustee is called the trustmaker.

Is Now a Good Time to Refinance?

Interest rates recently hit all-time lows as the Federal Reserve made cuts to mitigate the financial impacts of COVID-19. If you’re a homeowner with a monthly mortgage payment, you might be wondering if now is a good time to refinance. While a lower interest rate may yield a more affordable monthly payment, there are other factors to consider. Here are seven questions to ask yourself before making the decision to refinance…

Program Provides Free Delivery to Kūpuna

Not all elderly in Hawai‘i have ‘ohana nearby to look out for them during the deadliest global pandemic  of the century. In response to COVID-19, Gabe Amey established Our Kūpuna in March to connect Hawai‘i’s seniors with community members who volunteer to provide free food, supply and medication pickup and deliver services on O‘ahu, Maui, Hawaii Island, Kaua‘i and Moloka‘i.

When Life Becomes Too Much to Handle

Working from home may include the added pressures of home schooling grandchildren, pets running in and out, and a multitude of other issues that makes them feel as if they are losing control. Stress can have such a horrendous impact on all of us no matter what the cause or what age we are. If you or someone you know just can’t handle life anymore, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Hawaii (NAMI) asks you to consider the following when reaching out for help.

Ko‘olauloa Senior Mentors Needed

To sustain a vibrant kūpuna community, younger generations must take action. Our state needs an adequately trained workforce to care for and support our older population. In response to the need to support kūpuna and family caregivers, and expand workforce opportunities for youth, an eldercare curriculum was developed and implemented at Kahuku High School’s Health Academy on O‘ahu.

Fresh Produce Delivery Service for Seniors

The onset of COVID-19 in early March sparked a drastic need for meals across our islands. Seniors, in particular, continue to be the highest risk group and many are afraid to leave their homes, even for food items. Lanakila Pacific’s Meals on Wheels program was able to respond quickly due to its strong network of partnerships and community support. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Lanakila Meals on Wheels has provided more than 370,000 meals for O‘ahu seniors, including an additional 1,000 for kūpuna. The number continues to grow.

In-Home Physical Therapy Made Easy

Nowadays, in-home physical therapy is more important than ever. Seniors must find creative ways in their own home area to continue exercising for mobility and strength. Walking is still a popular and convenient way to exercise. To add intensity, you can walk briskly for one minute followed by one minute at a  regular pace, then repeat for 10 minutes or more. Using a kitchen counter or back of a chair, you can do a number of standing leg exercises for 10 minutes each, repeated twice:

How to Avoid Age-Related Muscle Loss

Sarcopenia is age-related loss in muscle mass. Although muscle mass declines 1 to 2 percent per year after age 50, exercise can reduce this loss. Resistance training using bodyweight, machines or weights is the most effective way of building muscle. Sarcopenia makes exercising more difficult, which unfortunately, makes you want to exercise less, contributing even less stimulation of your muscles, leading to more muscle loss.

Lewy Body Dementia & Parkinson’s Disease

Lewy body disease includes two types of dementia — Lewy body dementia (LBD) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD). Parkinson’s starts with an abnormal accumulation of alpha synuclein protein that is found mainly at the tips of neurons in specialized structures called “presynaptic terminals” in different parts of the brain. LBD precedes a Parkinson’s diagnosis, while PDD develops after the changes of Parkinson’s have occurred. Currently, 1.4 million people in the US are coping with LBD.

Nutrition Facts Food Labels Explained

Making healthy dietary choices can help you feel your best and stay active. It can also help you lower your risk of developing some health conditions that are common among older adults. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a tool to help you make informed food choices that can have positive effects on your health and wellness. It is called the Nutrition Facts label and you can find it on packaged foods and beverages.

Safe Family Activities for the Holidays

Amid all the COVID-19 restrictions, there is a bright spot — the opportunity for families to celebrate the holidays together by engaging creatively in a way that’s enjoyable and safe for everyone.
While younger members of the family are on the go and ready to run around the house, seniors (especially those with dementia) will prefer quieter, more structured activities.

Overcoming Insurmountable Odds

In life, we have sunshine and rainbows and clouds and storms,” says Liane K. Chong on her website. It is a apt introduction to her inspirational autobiography, Hope Inspires Strength: How One Woman Overcame Insurmountable Odds. She tells readers how she faced challenges with courage, the right mindset and by finding hope where none seemed to exist. It’s a moving, powerful story about strength, focus, perseverance and determination.

Have More Fun Aging With Cool Devices

As we mature, our bodies may no longer work the way they once did — our eyes and ears are not quite as sharp; our hands not quite as steady. We may find ourselves straining to see the TV; we may no longer be able to read our favorite publications; we may need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves. Fortunately, technology can help us regain what was lost due to aging.

Live Longer, Better, in the Blue Zone

Six cultures around the world seem to have uncovered the secrets of longevity. For more than a decade, Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Solution, worked to identify these hot spots of long life. Dan found places that not only had high concentrations of individuals over 100 years old, but also clusters of people who had grown old without health problems like obesity, cancer and diabetes.

Aging Gracefully With Your Body

As we get older, more than a few seniors have seen their body change into a shape they had hoped it never would. I was hoping mine would actually shrink, but of course that didn’t happen. After working a high stress job, gaining 25 pounds and losing lots of sleep, I decided to get off that roller coaster. I’m now semi-retired. Fortunately for me, I am rarely sick and do not take any medication. So, I’m healthy despite weighing more than I should.

Transforming At-Home Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced health systems to rethink how to effectively manage preventive care and chronic diseases when regular in-person visits are challenging, and patients are  apprehensive of conducting telehealth visits. With many adults across the county delaying preventive care, and with six in 10 having at least one chronic condition, regular health management is a matter of life and death, with added COVID-19 risks.

Managing Complex Care at Home

An increasing number of family caregivers are performing more complex medical care for their family members at home. According to Home Alone Revisited: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Care, a report prepared jointly by AARP and the United Hospital Fund, there is an increase in the number of family caregivers performing tasks that would, in the past, have been provided under the direct supervision of a medical professional.

Needs Planning During a Pandemic

I recently received a call from a concerned parent of an adult special needs child. Her son was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, refuses to take his medication and has been living on the street. Unable to physically care for her child and experiencing a health scare of her own, she decided it was time to get “her ducks in order” and contacted our office. Her main wish is to continue to provide financially for her son’s present and future care without disrupting his governmental disability benefits.

Cybercrime Claims

One of the most common problem I encounter investigating a cybercrime is that the reporting person and/or victim fail to provide any records and/or documentation to support their claim that they had been victimized — more so in cases involving online fraud. One of the simplest and quickest methods of documentation is printing out the webpage offer, sale or service.

Hiring a Caregiver is Tricky

You may be tempted to treat a caregiver as a “private contractor” in order to avoid the humbug of tax withholding and buying the right insurance policies. You would do so at your peril. The IRS and the state will take the position that the caregiver is an  employee, that you are an employer and that all of the legal obligations that attach to those labels apply to your situation.

More Than Just a Friendly Thrift Shop

The Assistance League of Hawaii (ALH) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with 100-plus members and volunteers who strive to make a difference to the people of Hawai‘i. The ALH Thrift Shop in Honolulu continues to be the primary source of funding for its philanthropic programs. The shop is staffed and managed entirely by member volunteers. All monetary donations and thrift shop profits stay in Hawai‘i.

Get the Most Out of Medicare

Have you found the right Medicare plan yet? If so, stay with it. If not, you can enroll, disenroll, or change plans from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 during the Medicare Annual Election Period. Every year, plan features and prescription coverage change, so you should practice due diligence to discover what fits your current needs best.

Your Medicare Options for 2021

Each year, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 is the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP). During AEP, you will have the opportunity to explore and choose your Medicare coverage for 2021. You will have many choices, which includes selecting a Medicare Advantage plan or staying with your current option. Even if you are satisfied with your current option, it is important to review your Medicare plan during AEP.

Caregivers’ Tips for a Healthy Smile

Most caregivers know good oral health is important at every age and is a clear indication of their patient’s overall health. Some things caregivers should look for are signs of change in the patient’s mouth. Has there been recent tooth loss, discoloration or dryness? Often, seniors may experience those conditions, which affects how they digest their food or indicates other health problems.

SEED for the Holidays

The holiday season is a time of joy, but for many, it’s a challenging time as well. When the body holds too much tension and emotional energy, it can affect the immune system, making a person more prone to illness, as well as depression. And while we all want to enjoy this time, if we’re not proactive in taking care of ourselves, we may not feel like  celebrating.

Decision-Making Positions for Caretakers

Guardianship, conservatorship, trustee, power of attorney, agent, healthcare surrogate and other critical decision-making positions in the life of a senior or an adult with disabilities are a complicated mixture of ethics, law and common sense. Many caregivers, however, have little or no training in these areas and can find themselves in awkward and unnerving positions.

Dementia Patients, Caregivers & COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in some way. But our most vulnerable population, our senior citizens — especially those with dementia — are being particularly challenged. Our normal routines have been altered during the pandemic. This can be devastating for dementia patients, who thrive on the consistency of a regular routine.

Caregiving During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has all of us dealing with additional stressors in life, and many of us may
find that our abilities to deal with conflict and issues are short-fused. People living with dementia (PLWD) rely on their care partners to provide assistance with activities of daily living with kindness and compassion. PLWD also require mental stimulation, socialization and a reason to live just as much as you and I do. COVID-19 has changed our world into a place where we no longer feel safe, and social distancing has left many people feeling lonely, depressed and isolated.

Dementia & the Power of Music

Music is often the background of many of our memories. We grow up hearing it on the radio, on TV and in concerts. We sang in school and at special events. We often associate certain songs with our relationships, happy memories, sad memories, growing up and different seasons of life. Because of its constant presence in our lives, music is deeply woven into our memories, and can offer hope and helpful tools to those whose memories are fading.

Organized. Happy. Safe.

As we age, staying organized and living in an uncluttered space can help reduce the stress of transitioning into different phases of life. Many seniors find themselves needing or wanting to downsize from a family home to a smaller space, such as an apartment, retirement community or multigenerational family space. Taking the time to sort through possessions accumulated over the years will make downsizing or aging in place less stressful and improve your overall health.

What’s Happening to Papa?

Pomai has become worried as she sees Papa, her grandfather, become more forgetful. She wants Papa to play with her, but he is losing his memory and is no longer able to make poi with her or take her to the beach. In Pomai and Her Papa: Growing Up with Memory Loss and Holding On to What Matters Most, a short, illustrated storybook, Pomai sets off on her journey to learn how to help Papa and her family.

Help Is On The Way During COVID-19

With the reopening of the state after shutdowns mandated by local government in recent months, kūpuna and other vulnerable people have become more fearful of venturing out into the community to shop and run errands as the coronavirus continues to spread with more people out in public. The demand for food, supplies and assistance has grown in response to unemployment. An increasing number of kūpuna say they do not have sufficient resources to feed themselves.

Timeshares Pt. 3: Scam or Investment?

As I indicated in the last issue, under Hawaii Revised Statute §514E-9, timeshare companies are required to give clients all information regarding the unit for purchase, including all the fees attributed to that unit that are due immediately and the “hidden” fees that require seemingly endless future payments — the monthly mortgage, property tax, maintenance fees and interest.

Now’s the Time: Charities Need Our Help

In these challenging economic times, many worthwhile charitable organizations find themselves in a precarious financial position. Meanwhile, they are experiencing unprecedented demand, especially those charities that provide basic needs like food and shelter. Thankfully, new, unique provisions in the tax code have been implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis, creating more incentives for giving.

A Toolkit for Choosing Health Plan Options

Preparing yourself with the proper tools helps to make any job a bit easier. If you are baking, you need the proper ingredients. When building something, you need hammers, nails and other related items. It’s the same when you are preparing for your Health Plan Open Enrollment session; or if you are a caregiver, for your person’s Medicare Annual Enrollment.

When’s the Right Time for Memory Care?

Memory care communities that first began appearing in the 1990s are an important care option today for the growing number of families caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. When considering memory care, look for a community with a rich and lively activity program, and staff who are well-trained in dementia care, and exemplify a caring and kind spirit.

Reflections on a Caregiving Journey

Having been exposed to what it takes to be a care manager at a very young age as I watched my mother tend to disabled clients in our home, I followed in my mother’s footsteps. I pursued a social work degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and eventually worked at HMSA as a care coordinator, supervisor and manager. After nearly 20 years at HMSA, I realized that my husband and I had become members of the “sandwich generation,” caring for three children and aging parents.

Regain Your Posture as You Age

Forty years ago, medical exercise specialists Debbie and Norm Compton met in Hawai‘i and made fitness the key element in both their personal and professional lives. Personal training, stunt work, injuries and their continual quest for excellence compelled them to write Stacking: Your Skeletal Blueprint for Posture. In their book, the Comptons share techniques for regaining posture as you age.

Sugar is Bad for Your Teeth & Mind

I love sugar! Sugar makes desserts, candies and drinks taste wonderful! The bacteria in our mouth love sugar, too. Eating foods that contains sugar instantly activates bacteria for 20 minutes. As bacteria devour the sugar, their waste is acid. Acid is one of the few things that can destroy your enamel and may contribute to dementia.

Healthy Smiles Can Prevent Alzheimer’s

It’s no secret that poor oral health can lead to many overall health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes and other ailments. But studies show poor oral health may also lead to an increased risk of dementia. People who have gum disease for 10 years or more are 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who have healthy gums.

Healthy Heart, Happy Brain

According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, chronic heart disease factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity can quicken the pace of cognitive decline.
High blood pressure and diabetes can accelerate shrinkage of the brain, especially affecting the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus. When combined with other cardio risk factors, the rate at which cognitive decline advances, leading to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Using Light to Improve Brain Health

One would expect that an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) would be  pharmacological. And yet, 99 percent of AD drug trials fail. The last time the FDA approved an AD drug was 2003. Acupuncturists might focus on neuroregeneration using neuroacupuncture. In a similar fashion, a new modality — photobiomodulation (PBM) — has been building its case as a credible treatment alternative for AD. Rather than targeting a single biological mechanism, it helps the brain repair itself.

The Benefits of Pilates

Joseph Pilates truly was ahead of his time with his holistic approach to exercise. “Contrology [now called ‘Pilates’] is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play and in the way you work,” Pilates said. “You will develop muscular power with corresponding endurance, ability to perform arduous duties, to play strenuous games,to walk, run or travel for long distances without undue body fatigue or mental strain.”

How You Can Help Fight Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association, formed in 1980, is the country’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its mission is to continue to lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia by driving risk reduction and early detection, and by advancing vital, global research regarding treatment and prevention in it’s continuing efforts to find a cure.

A Great First Lady Cares

Hawai‘i’s first lady, Dawn Amano-Ige, is a wife (married to Gov. David Ige), a mother of three, a sister and a daughter. Dawn’s mother, Mitsue Amano, provided childcare for the Ige kids when Dawn was a young, working mother and David was a new legislator. Today, at 94 years old, Mitsue is no longer the family’s caregiver. That’s now Dawn’s role.

Love, Patience, Planning: Tips for Caring for Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s Disease

During the coronavirus pandemic, most adult day centers and community senior centers have closed or cut their services, and families across the state have had to scramble to provide caregiver services at home. If you’re now caring for a loved one with memory or other health issues, follow these tips and find links to resources below.

How You Can Help Fight Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association, formed in 1980, is the country’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its mission is to continue to lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia by driving risk reduction and early detection, and by advancing vital, global research regarding treatment and prevention in it’s continuing efforts to find a cure.

Community Living Centers

As a veteran who is “getting up there,” how to live out my last years comfortably without being a burden is more than a passing thought. Fortunately, there are 100 Veterans Affairs Community Living Centers (CLCs) across the country. Their mission is to restore the veteran to his or her highest level of physical and/or psychological well-being before being discharged to their own home.”

Donating with Care

Hawai‘i’s residences are often targeted by door-to-door solicitors asking for donations. Here in Hawai‘i, we are a generous people. We take pride in living the Aloha Spirit, but we must exercise caution as well. We must know the basic things about charitable giving in the event that anyone tries to take advantage of our good nature.