A Retirement Dress Rehearsal Can Ease Emotional & Financial Concerns

Two emotions are likely to strike those who are nearing retirement — excitement and fear. Leaving the world of alarm clocks and offices and having time to pursue your own passions on a daily basis is liberating — but the apprehension of entering a new life stage can easily creep in. Although work-related stress will disappear, the responsibility of filling each week in a satisfying way can be a challenge. Top that off with the ever-present concern about long-term financial security in retirement and the nerves can grow even greater.

A Recipe for Conflict

I have noticed a troubling emerging trend in estate planning. More families are owning property with different generations. This could be because real estate in Hawai‘i is expensive to purchase and even harder to maintain and keep. It is further exacerbated in situations where there are multiple children beneficiaries and/or where the parents need to leverage the equity in the home for their care, and are unable to access the equity due to a lack of income.

Your Estate Plan: What NOT to Do

Problems with your estate plan may not become apparent until it is too late to fix them. Here are some common pitfalls:
• Failing to plan for large expenses, such as long-term care. • Failing to update your estate plan, including beneficiary designations on bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts and insurance policies. • Failing to take steps to avoid family strife. • Putting your kids on the title to your stuff during your lifetime.

Purpose Pals: A Kūpuna-Youth Connection

Purpose Pals is a free, virtual intergenerational program led by Christy Nishita and Colby Takeda, in collaboration with Age-Friendly Honolulu, Blue Zones Project Hawaii, and the Hawaii Afterschool Alliance. Purpose Pals matches adults 50 and over with high school through college-age students, fostering regular communication using Big & Mini’s web-based video conferencing platform. The program provides themed conversation starters to ensure pals have enriching talk story sessions as often as they like.

Annual Wellness Visits to Stay Healthy

During a Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV), you and your doctor will focus on overall wellness, prevention and early disease detection. The AWV is designed to support you in taking an active role in managing your health and improving your well-being and quality of life. Doctors recommend the visit and encourage all Medicare patients to schedule one every year.

Medicare: Increased Benefits for Veterans

Many veterans don’t understand that the Veteran’s Administration (VA) offers a healthcare plan for veterans, reservists and members of the National Guard only. This healthcare plan is not available to all veterans, as eligibility and qualifications are required to receive these healthcare services. All medical treatment provided by the VA will be at VA facilities only; therefore, the veteran may have to travel long distances to access care.

Home Cleaning Help for the Elderly

Home cleaning might be a simple activity for some of us. However, this could be the opposite to our elderly family  members and friends. Even daily upkeep might require tremendous effort on their part. That is why, as ‘ohana, it is our duty to help and share the spirit of aloha. If you are involved in your elderly family’s home’s upkeep, these four tips could save you time, effort and money.

Long-Term Care Cost Financing Options

Long-term care is expensive, whether you provide the care yourself, have caregivers come into the home or use a care  facility. If you have no assets, no savings and nothing of real dollar-sign value, and your income is not enough to pay for long-term care, the government has a plan for you — Medicaid. That is a topic for another time, but if Medicaid appears to fit your circumstances, be sure to use an expert to complete the application. For now, let’s look at just a few more creative methods for covering this cost.

To Place or Not to Place, That is the Question

The decision to move to senior living involves a variety of factors based on several circumstances, including finances. Professionals across the country have different answers to the question of whether “to place or not to place” a loved one in senior living. Some feel that older adults should stay in their home with paid caregivers. Others think that older adults would receive enhanced care and retain a higher quality of life if they were with others their own age, with more activities and socialization.

Chinese American Culture, Identity, Home

What does it mean to be Chinese American? How are we reflected in the people we love and us in them? What obligation do we have to those who share our blood? How does a woman claim her life as her own? Where is my true home? Big Island bestselling novelist Darien Hsu Gee explores the answers to these questions through her poetic memoir and award-winning poetry, which debuted last fall in Allegiance and Other Small Histories.

Ching Ming Festival Honors Ancestors

When Douglas D.L. Chong thinks about celebrating Ching Ming as a child, he remembers waking up before dawn to the smells of home cooking. Sitting in traffic en route to the Mānoa Chinese Cemetery, a line of cars backs up all the way to University Avenue. Finally, around 7am, his family would reach their oldest ancestors’ grave sites, arriving there at the same time as about 40 other relatives.

Defying the Silver Tsunami Stereotype

Doug Matsuoka started working at Hawaii Meals on Wheels seven years ago as a part-time delivery driver. But his previous computer experience opened the door to his current job as the IT and digital media coordinator, and “YouTube guy.” He was an early adopter of computer technology, building his own microcomputer from a kit in the early 1980s. Doug learned his trade through various jobs.

Silver Lining of a COVID Cloud

When we all closed our doors, fluffed our couch pillows and settled in for what we thought was only going to be a two-week lockdown, no one could have imagined where we would be in 2021. We’re here now and life has a breeze of normalcy amid the chaos. Zoom family celebrations or business meetings are regularly scheduled in our calendars, delivery drivers know our routines and we’ve become more okay with staying in.

Hawai‘i’s COVID-19 Vaccination Information

The Hawai‘i Department of Health (HDOH) is moving forward with its implementation of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. Points of dispensing (PODs) are open across the state for the initial phases of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
As Hawai‘i continues to receive more vaccine, dosages are being distributed to vaccination PODs throughout the islands as quickly as possible.

Virtually No Boundaries For Auntie Carolee

Kumu hula. Musician. Teacher. Cultural practitioner. Living treasure. True friend. These are some of the many ways that people have described Carolee Nishi. And hundreds (maybe even thousands)  now her simply as Auntie Carolee. If you ask her, she’ll tell you she’s just a community volunteer. So don’t ask her,  because everyone who knows Auntie Carolee will tell you that she’s much more than that.

Hawai‘i Woman Hits It BIG in Las Vegas!

A frequent Las Vegas visitor from Hawai‘i turned her trip to the Fremont Hotel and Casino into a nearly $790,000 jackpot playing Aristocrat’s Buffalo Inferno™ slot game in September of last year. Louise (last name not released) usually stays and plays at the California Hotel and Casino, but decided to stop by the Fremont on that lucky Wednesday morning, hitting the $789,062 progressive jackpot at 8:37am.

Estate Planning: Start With ‘Why’

Trust beneficiaries are sometimes left to wonder why a decedent instructed that a trust distribution be made in a  particular way. The trust clearly identified who the beneficiaries were, what they were to receive and how they were to receive. But unfortunately, the trust was silent as to the “why” of the distribution — the underlying reason and purpose for creating the trust in the first place.

Elder Abuse Reporting Deadlines

Recently, I received a call from a woman who wanted to report that her father had been the victim of theft. The culprit was her niece, who had taken over $100,000 over a three-year period. The caller had the evidence and her father now wanted to hold the niece accountable for what she had done. However, the only problem was that the crime was outside the statute of limitations.

Rules for Adult Kids Returning Home

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, parents saw a wave of adult children move back home. Pew Research recently found that 52 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds now live in a parent’s house. Some children may have moved back simply due to safety during the virus response or because universities switched to e-learning. Others may have returned because of financial reasons.

The Power of Healing, Harmony & Hope

Mental health is a serious concern in  Hawai‘i. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 17 percent of the state’s adult  population were struggling with some form of mental illness. Yet two out of three were receiving no treatment at all for this illness, which can contribute to chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, epilepsy and cancer, along with higher risks of adverse health outcomes.

Dementia Patients ‘Remember Thru Music’

The powerful documentary Alive Inside, created by Music & Memory, became a call to action for Big Island resident Jen McGeehan. Music & Memory is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with a wide range of cognitive and physical conditions to engage with the world, ease pain and reclaim their humanity through the use of personalized music. Jen looked for a similar program in Hawai‘i and found none, so she was moved to create her own nonprofit, Remember Thru Music.

Medicare’s Other Enrollment Periods

Every year, Medicare provides two enrollment periods that run from Jan. 1 through March 31. During the General Enrollment Period, individuals can apply for Medicare if they missed their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) or don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Coverage begins July 1 of that year. If you missed your IEP when you turned 65, you may incur late enrollment penalties that will increase your premiums.

Help for Military and Veteran Caregivers

John “Longie” Dudoit returned to Moloka‘i in 1969 after a year in the infantry in Vietnam and married his high school sweetheart. “But something wasn’t right,” John recalls. “In our first years of marriage, Lorna stood by me but couldn’t understand what was happening.” Back then, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) wasn’t widely understood.

Aging With Aloha: Caring for Your Eyes

With aging comes new challenges; our eyesight is no exception. One in six Americans aged 65 and older has a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses alone. It’s important to see your ophthalmologist every one to two years in order to check for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Early detection and treatment are imperative to prevent vision loss.

Frontiers in Cardiovascular Health

Over the past two decades, successful therapeutic cardiovascular disease strategies have focused primarily on lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) with statins, and reducing the risk of the blood clots that cause heart attacks or strokes with “blood thinners” such as aspirin. Blood pressure medications are also widely used. Despite these interventions, a significant number of patients experience recurrent events or disease progression.

Creating Smooth Transitions for Seniors

Transitioning from living at home to a community that offers independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing care can be challenging for both seniors and their families. Kūpuna may need special care, but may be hesitant to make the big move because they prefer the familiarity of their own home. Many Hawai‘i families also struggle with the change.

Green Point Nurseries: A Growing Business on the Big Island

Harold Tanouye started the beginnings of Green Point Nurseries in 1957, when Hilo’s economy had not yet recovered from the impacts of WWII. Residents were moving away due to lack of work. Harold wanted to live in his hometown, but needed employment. He recognized a demand for anthuriums, which military personnel and civilians were sending home during the war.

Vaccination – A Lesson from the Past

When the vaccine for COVID-19 is finally available, the decision to get inoculated will depend on where trust lies. When the doctor recommends a vaccine, will folks get it? The term “inoculation” was used as early as the year 1000 AD, when Chinese doctors were trying to eradicate smallpox. Their method involved grinding up smallpox scabs and blowing them into nostrils.

Your Body, Your BFF

Your body is always talking to you, and you, maybe without realizing it, are often talking to your body. For the most part, you usually respond to your body when you are hungry, sleepy or itchy… Sometimes you might get angry at it for not looking how you wish it would, or complain about the pain it’s holding. But how often do you communicate good feelings to your body?

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.