Grief & Bereavement — Part I

Grief is a natural response to the loss of someone special. The process of grieving allows the griever to adapt to a new world of existence without the loved one. If allowed to proceed through the grieving process with minimal guilt, anxiety, stress, unresolved issues and conflict, we can help each griever experience their grief fully and allow the griever to validate and honor the life of the deceased, and affirm and strengthen relationships with survivors.

Choosing a Dignified Death

A Provider Order regarding Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) says what measures should be used to keep you alive in a medical emergency. It is different from an Advance Directive in that it will be followed by emergency personnel, provided that they are aware of its existence. If you don’t have a POLST, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are required to do whatever they can to restore and stabilize your heartbeat and breathing and take you to an appropriate facility for treatment.

Help Protect Our Kūpuna Against Crime

Every year, Hawai‘i residents are swindled out of money through many forms of crime. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 2.4 billion robocalls made every month. Over 3,500,000 older adults are swindled out of nearly $5 billion in personal savings each year. The average loss is $34,200-plus for every senior who falls victim to a scam. More than $17 million per year are lost to internet crimes (2021) — and cases are expected to rise by 10 percent this year.

Talk Story: A Favorite Senior Pastime

Talk story is a special and cherished activity among seniors at Roselani Place. Our activities  director conducts a talk story twice a month and I also offer them from time to time. Talking story with our residents allows us to not only engage with them, but also encourages them to reminisce about the good old days, and learn more about one another.

Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome

Work-from-home “virtual” employees must take precautions in order to preserve the health of their eyes. Computer vision syndrome (CVS) isn’t a specific set of symptoms — it’s an umbrella term to describe the varying eye discomfort and symptoms caused by screen-related issues. It is almost impossible to avoid progressive vision issues with regular computer use.

Clean Your Closet Like There’s No Tomorrow

It’s shocking! How did I accumulate all this stuff? An embarrassment of riches may be a first-world problem — having too much of too many good things — but it is a reality for many of us, even those who don’t qualify as full-fledged hoarders. But even simple clutter has its own risks; for starters, the chronic and repeated stress caused by frantic and frustrated searching, and the risk of falling over precious possessions left in precarious places.

The Rarified Air of Acceptance

Our friends, old and new, are sweetly awed when we tell them our love story. We met in college in the mid-’70s. We fell in love. We knew beyond a doubt that we were meant to be together. Yet, as fate would have it, we met at the wrong place and the wrong time for our relationship to flourish.

The Slap Heard Around the World

Last March, many witnessed the slap that was heard round the world. The unrehearsed and unscripted incident played out in front of the planet’s best actors, with 17 million viewers watching from home. It occurred in supposedly one of most civilized and curated places in the land. But everyone saw that even “winners” are not immune from knee-jerk reactions when messages perceived as offensive produce hurt feelings.

Zooming Into the Future

The US Census Bureau has reported that people aged 65 and older will outnumber those under 18 years old by 2034. Every year, millions of these senior citizens look at life after retirement as an opportunity to expand their horizons and learn more. It’s a time to take special-interest lessons or even earn a degree. For some, it may  even mean going back into the workforce and starting a new career.

A Pioneer in Neurosurgery

Dr. William “Bill” Won, one of Honolulu’s foremost brain surgeons, was the first Hawai‘i-born Chinese American neurosurgeon in the state and only the second person born in the state to become a neurosurgeon. Dr. Won, now age 90, practiced from 1965 to 1996. After a stellar career, the quiet and humble retired brain surgeon continues to contribute to the community through a scholarship fund that was made possible through a beloved, lifelong hobby.

Protect Pets After You’re Gone

Growing up, my family always had a pet. From dogs to cats to frogs and even a chicken for a day, pets have always been a part of my life. Today, our pet family consists of three dogs, a guinea pig, a bunny and frogs. Our pets are not just animals but members of our family. And like our family members, we want to ensure that they are taken care of after we are gone.

Is Task-Based Home Care Right for Me?

You may think that in-home assistance is only for people who are very old, very ill or recovering from a severe injury or surgery. But nowadays, capable and self-reliant seniors are employing a new kind of assistant to provide task-based in-home care. A task-based assistant can help you with those burdensome chores that are becoming challenging or that you just don’t like to do anymore.

The Long Goodbye

Usually, events that necessitate a goodbye are seen as sad… or at least poignant. In our younger years, we expected these goodbyes to be temporary — we knew we were going to see them again! As we get older, we start to understand that a goodbye may mean moving so far away that visiting will be unlikely and the relationship we loved may be permanently changed. And then come the goodbyes we know are final — the farewells at the end of a life that leave us with only memories of a loved one.

Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Diabetes disproportionately affects older adults. Approximately 25 percent of Americans over the age of 60 years have diabetes. The aging of the US population is widely acknowledged as one of the drivers of the diabetes epidemic. Although the burden of diabetes is often described in terms of its impact on working-aged adults, the disease also affects longevity, functional status and risk of institutionalization for older patients.

The Genteel Sport of Lawn Bowling

While the sport of pickleball has swept across Hawai‘i, there’s another game that has been enjoyed by seniors for a much longer time but often goes unnoticed. Lawn bowling is a genteel sport particularly liked by seniors because it demands little physicality.

Home is Where the Heart Is

Throughout our lives, we can call a variety of places home. For me, one of those places was my grandmother’s house. I’ve been going  in and out of her house since I was a baby. I knew every inch of my grandmother’s house, like which rooms had the best hiding spots or which drawers held my grandma’s fancy scarves.

My Heart’s Song

The compassion at the heart of Ginny Tiu’s advocacy for those who have no voice is a great source of joy in her life. Her God-given talent as a piano prodigy at age 5 gave her the opportunity to travel the world, where she witnessed heartbreaking poverty and harsh inequities, calling her caring nature to action during a lifetime of humanitarian and animal welfare efforts.

Estate of Mind

Remember the classic Abbott and Costello comedy routine, “Who’s on First?” The longer they banter, the more their  frustration grows due to their seeming lack of understanding of the game they are discussing — and hilarity ensues.
Similarly, the language of estate planning can give rise to problems for the uninitiated, but the problems that arise may not be funny at all.

Navigating Your First Year in Retirement

Like most Americans, you’ve probably spent years working to achieve the retirement of your dreams. Then there comes a point when this career milestone changes from a distant goal to an imminent reality. You can make your first year away from work more rewarding and less stressful when you take the time to anticipate  potential challenges and prepare for how you will handle this important life change.

Recognizing Substance Abuse in Older Adults

When people think about substance abuse and addiction, they often imagine young adults. While it’s true teenagers are at a higher risk for substance abuse as a group, research done on the elderly population is lacking. Despite the lack of research, it’s widely believed that substance abuse and addiction in the elderly is a hidden epidemic.

The Art & Science of COVID-19 Prevention

It has long been established that consistently wearing a proper-fitting mask over your nose and mouth is critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19. In January, nearly two years into the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mask recommendations, because as the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus changes and mutates, producing a bounty of variants, we must adapt.

A Medical Marijuana Odyssey

Elton Goo was surfing in Peru when the government closed its borders to fight COVID-19 in March 2020. As an avid surfer, being temporarily stranded in one of the best countries in the world to score some “epic surf” might not have been such a bad thing, but unfortunately, Elton, who was diagnosed in 2016 with terminal lung cancer at age 55, was running out of his medication.

‘No Mom, I’m Not in Jail’

I recently received a telephone call from my mother. Given that I was in a meeting, I didn’t answer it, but instead let it go to voicemail. Almost immediately, the phone started buzzing again from her same number. Usually, my mom would just leave a message, so this second call was very unusual. I excused myself from the  meeting and answered the call. Mom immediately asked, “Scott, are you in jail?”

Paving the Way for a Healthy, Secure Future

One year ago, I made a lifestyle change. I went from a vegan diet to pescatarian diet. After adding fish over a year ago, I lost a few pounds. Then my wife and I decided to go on the keto diet together. I also started an exercise program. Seniors must exercise to stay physically and mentally fit to help prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Seniors also need to prepare financially.

Humility Meets Compassion

Twenty years ago, I was hired as the assisted living director for a Jewish community, where I learned about their culture, faith and life experiences. Some of the residents I cared for were Holocaust survivors and I listened to their stories. One survivor, who I will call “LL,” lost his mother and sister during this horrific time in history. He showed me a photo of his mother and sister, as well as the number tattooed on his forearm that served as a constant reminder.

Create a Safe Home Care Environment

When planning for the in-home care of  their kupuna, family caregivers may have difficulty looking at the home environment and adapting it to provide proper care. For example, a room layout that worked well when the loved one was mobile may not be ideal when circumstances change and bed-bound care is required. Back injuries, sprains and  preventable falls can have significant consequences that can adversely affect quality-of-life. Here are some tips to ensure the care environment is safe…

Common Misconceptions About Hospice

Despite hospice care’s increasing popularity, there are still widely held misconceptions regarding end-of-life care. This article by members of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors (www.csa.us) seeks to dispel many myths about hospice care and to present accurate information on this growing segment of our healthcare system. By doing so, it is hoped that hospice benefits will be accessed more widely.

Living in Harmony With Nature

Lot Lau is putting his lifelong love of trees to good use. At age 81, he is a member of a Citizen Forester group whose efforts are aimed at helping to save the planet — one tree at a time. “When I was young, I thought of trees only for climbing to get the fruit,” he recounts. “I preferred the Samoan palm variety. They bear coconuts much lower to the ground and are tall, stately, durable and strong. They sway gently in the breeze like a hula dancer. They give of themselves to benefit others.”

Ransomware

Major corporations, government agencies, healthcare organizations, small businesses and private individuals are all being targeted by ransomware. The law enforcement and cybersecurity communities believe many of the cybercriminals behind these attacks are connected to organized crime, anti-US entities or even terrorist groups. It is an ongoing challenge to identify hackers and bring them to justice.

Longevity Benefits of Working Longer

In 2010, I wrote a booklet for Career Partners International, a leading outplacement counseling firm, in which I compared the 20th century workplace with the 21st century workplace. In simple terms, I made the case that the once-upon-a-time dominant workplace of regular, full-time workers was fast becoming a workplace of workers who work part-time, some of the time, for free or for a fixed fee.

A Welcoming Rainbow After a Storm

When the phone rings at Jessica Lani Rich’s office, it can be a really bad thing. And her phone rings a lot. Sometimes, the police call to tell her about a crime or a tragic accident. Other times, a social worker will call about an illness, an injury or even a death. And each time she answers the phone, Jessica answers the call. As president and CEO of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai‘i (VASH), Jessica leads a team of trained volunteers who provide comfort and support to visitors who have been victims of a crime or other adversity, and help them create a positive memory of their stay in our islands.

Navigating Today’s Housing Market

In many parts of the country, home prices have been soaring. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median existing-home price rose more than 17 percent in the one-year period ending in March 2021. This reflects just how competitive the market has become for homebuyers. If you are among those looking to purchase a new home, you should have a solid strategy in place before entering the market.

It Takes Our Entire State to Protect Kūpuna

We’re home, still feeling isolated during the pandemic. The phone rings; a welcomed sound. We look forward to hearing from a family member or friend — a warm voice to spend time with. We answer the phone, and minutes later, our whole life is turned upside down. Does this sound familiar? Too often, unfortunately, many of our kūpuna fall victim to scammers who want their health, financial or other personal information.

What is a Fiduciary?

We hear the word “fiduciary” used more and more. But what does it mean? The origin of the word comes from the Latin word “fidere,” which means “to trust.” Today, we use “fiduciary” as a noun, meaning a trustee, a word most of us are familiar with. Fiduciary is also an adjective, referring to a relationship of trust and good faith between the fiduciary and the person for whom the fiduciary acts.

Better Posture, Better Health

Mention posture and everyone sits or stands straighter. But are you truly aligned? Most people have some type of asymmetry and don’t even know it. It’s impossible to correct an imbalance you aren’t aware of. Properly aligned spine and joints, and functionally balanced muscles allow your body to move with optimum efficiency and minimize the risk of injury or permanent structural damage. Achieving this state requires self-awareness.

3 Steps to Help Kūpuna Cope With Change

Change continues at each phase of life and is not always easy. That is why changes like retirement, new living arrangements, health diagnoses, and the loss of close friends or a spouse can leave kūpuna feeling vulnerable and insecure. Whether you are in a season of change or helping an older loved one navigate new circumstances, there are practical steps you can take to make change a positive process.