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.

Tax-Aide for Seniors

Tax season is officially under way, and Hawai‘i residents can count on AARP Tax-Aide volunteers to help reduce tax stress. Beginning Feb. 1, AARP-trained and IRS-certified volunteers will be available at 45 locations throughout the state to help taxpayers prepare basic federal and state forms.

Body-Proofing II – Motion is Lotion

Last month, we emphasized the importance of exercise to combat the natural aging process. Specifically, exercises like Pilates, Tai Chi and Yoga provide coordinated full body workouts with an emphasis on core muscle strengthening, balance and fluidness of movements. But what if you have pain in your knees or back making even simple movements like walking difficult?

The Art of Pressure

Have you ever instinctively held your forehead or temples when you’ve had a headache? Everyone at one time or another has used their hands to hold tense or painful places on the body. This is the healing touch of acupressure. Acupressure is an ancient Chinese healing art that uses the fingers to press key pressure point to release muscular tension and promote blood circulation and the body’s natural healing abilities.

March into Medicare

Hawai‘i’s Sage PLUS (SHIP) counselors are often asked, “What is Medicare, and how does it affect me?” Medicare is the United State’s federal health insurance that is available to those 65 years and older, and to people at any age with certain disabilities. You can choose to use the government’s Original/Traditional Medicare, or a commercial Medicare Health Plan or a Medicare Supplement (also known as “Medigap” insurance).

Heavyweight Volunteer: Stuart Ho

The men in Stuart Ho’s family have been heavy weights in business for three generations. His father, legendary developer Chinn Ho, turned the ‘Ilikai into the state’s first high-rise luxury resort in the 1960s. Stuart served on the boards of such notable companies as Aloha Airlines, Gannett Co., and Pacific Resources in a long and successful career as state legislator, attorney and executive. Today, son Peter Ho is continuing the family tradition of business stewardship as president and CEO of Bank of Hawai‘i. At 75, Stuart is busier than ever in retirement.

Elderhood Project

In early February, seniors enjoyed the company of each other and a number of middle school students at the annual Senior Valentine Dance at Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. Oh, and by the way, there were some celebrities on hand to take a spin or two around the dance floor. I have had the pleasure in the past of taking part in this frivolity.

Healthy Heart, Happy Heart: Medicare’s Preventive Benefits

This February share your heart with those special people by using your Medicare Preventive Benefits. As of January 1, 2011, under Original/ Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans there are no co-pays for preventive benefits. That means if your doctor feels that you could benefit from a cardiovascular screening you will pay nothing out of pocket for the screen.

Body-Proofing Combats Aging

Growing older is inevitable but the rapid physical deterioration we call “aging” does not have to be.  In fact, the aging process can be slowed down or in some cases reversed with a consistent exercise program. Numerous studies show adults who make regular exercise a part of their lifestyle are biologically younger by almost 10 years than those who do not exercise.

More Than Just a Vegas Hotel

The ‘jewel’ of Downtown Las Vegas, Main Street Station Casino, Brewery, and Hotel is nestled just a few steps north of the Fremont Street Experience, and played a significant part in the revitalized downtown Las Vegas. Possibly the best-kept secret in all of Las Vegas, Main Street Station is set in the splendor of the Victorian Era and home to a fabulous collection of antiques, artifacts and collectibles.

Moving Made Easy

Anyone who has ever moved, regardless of age, knows how stressful it can be. But it’s particularly challenging for older adults and their families when it’s time to pack up a home filled with a lifetime of possessions and memories. Just the thought of moving and starting all over somewhere else can be overwhelming.

Crisis Communication

If a parent suddenly fell unconscious or required emergency medical attention, would you know what do? Would you know what paperwork, insurance cards and medical records to bring with you to the hospital? Once a medical crisis occurs, it’s too late to prepare for the large amount of information that is needed by doctors, hospital staff, family and relatives. The solution? A medical organizer.

Let the IRS Take a Bath for Change

Nobody likes to pay taxes, but most of us like to take baths. Unless the bath is the kind where money flows out of your pocket and down the drain. If you feel like paying taxes is a lot like seeing your money go down the drain, you will be glad to know about an exciting estate planning opportunity that can help make the IRS take a bath after your death instead of your loved ones.

Elderhood Project

Mrs. Matthews, Linda Coble, and I just celebrated our birthdays. I’m not going to say how old we are but I will say that we’ve had our AARP cards for quite a while. We are boomers and our generation has often been referred to as the “Me” generation. That may have been appropriate at some point in our lives and it may still be an apt description for some, but I get the feeling that more and more of us are looking for ways that we can give back to a community, a society that has done so much for us.

Ward off the Flu

It’s the holiday season, meaning most of us will be out and about more often than usual. Shopping malls, restaurants, parties, church services— wherever we are, it’s a good idea to remember that crowds provide the perfect environment for influenza viruses (the flu) to spread by coughs and sneezes.

Work After Work: Our new age of life and the moral necessity for “returnment”

At the turn of the 20th century, the average life expectancy was only 47. Today, it is rapidly approaching 80. Our fastest growing age group is folks over the age of 85, with someone in this country turning 50 every eight seconds. More importantly, older adults are healthier than previous generations and this has created an unprecedented average lifespan.

Come Zumba with Us!

The greatest party has arrived here in Hawai‘i. The Zumba® Fitness craze is exploding in popularity across the Islands. The Zumba program fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms with easy-to-follow moves for all ages, shapes and sizes. This one-of-a-kind fitness program aims to get you hooked and make you want to workout.

Dr. Rio Banner, MD: Health Visionary

In Hawaii, we live an average of 81 years— longer than almost anywhere else in the world. But when it comes to successful aging, the key is to not only live longer, but to live longer as a healthy individual. The way to better health is taking care of ourselves as we age, which helps prevent the decline of our physical and mental abilities. And although any doctor would agree with that, the health care industry has traditionally emphasized treatment over prevention.

Beware: It’s the Return of the Estate Tax

The good news is that the federal estate tax took a vacation in 2010. The bad news is that it spent the whole year lifting weights and taking steroids. The estate tax is coming back in 2011, as big and bad as it has been in a long time. Now is the time to review your estate plan and make changes that could drastically affect how much of your estate goes to your loved ones, and how much goes to the IRS.

Tis the Season for Holiday Scams

The holiday season is a happy time celebrated with food, family and friends. Unfortunately, it’s also a time for fraud at the hands of identity thieves, computer hackers and deceptive sellers. Hawai‘i’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers advice on how to recognize and avoid common holiday scams.

The Secret of Happy Holidays: Spending with Discretion

As we enter the third holiday season after the onset of the “Great Recession,” American consumers may be battling penny-pinching fatigue. We’ve scrimped. We’ve saved. When do we get to reward ourselves? Sure, it would be fun to celebrate the holidays with a big spending binge, but if there’s one lesson to be learned from the recession, it’s the importance of fiscal prudence.

Elderhood Project

Last week, Mrs. Matthews—Linda Coble— had back surgery. The doctor was pleased with the results and four days later, she came home from the hospital. The doctor said to me, “This will be tougher on you than it is on her.” In some ways, he was right. I watch her like a hawk so she won’t do anything she’s not supposed to do during recovery. I bring home the groceries, vacuum, do the dishes, laundry. But in another way, the doctor was wrong. It has been a meaningful experience.

Do You Really Want to be a Trustee?

You were named as successor Trustee of a trust created by a family member or friend, and that person just died. What now? Before you rush in, think about what awaits. Until you sign on the dotted line, the fact that you have been named as a trustee does not obligate you to accept that position. Decide carefully, because once you accept the job, you accept all that goes with it. It is a position of great honor, and it involves great responsibility.

Medicare and Las Vegas

Now that we have your attention … Medicare is available in all 50 states and territories, including Las Vegas. Now is the time to review your Medicare options for both health and drug plans. Medicare Open Enrollment is November 15th to December 31, 2010, but you can compare options beginning October 15, 2010.

National Hospice Month

For many years, we in Hawai‘i have joined our colleagues across the nation in celebration of National Hospice month. Observed in November, it is a time when we come together to give thanks, reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. We remember those who have passed away and we recall our own experiences as that special person’s life was lived out. Almost 40 percent of all those families who experienced a loss received hospice care to help guide them.

Fit for Life

The objective at Club 50 Fitness is simple and direct: to improve the lives of people who are 40 years of age and above with fitness training and overall good health. As many Club 50 members will tell you, exercise is medicine! Just ask Rose, who says that exercise has been the best thing for her mentally and physically. “The days I’m tired or stressed, I have learned to let it go with exercising. I feel so much better after I leave,” she says. “I have maintained my weight for four years by just exercising. Everyone here is friendly, including the staff.”

Peopleʻs Open Market

More than 1 million people shop at the 25 market sites each year. Each market operates once a week and lasts about one hour. Prices are usually 35% lower than retail stores. The POM staff closely regulates the markets. The staff conducts weekly price surveys at various stores to determine a recommended price for the POM vendors to follow. Vendors may sell below, but not over, the recommended prices.

Talk Story with Lisa

Sonya Mendez, Entertainer, Founder of The Well of Hope How do you live your life? I live in the moment, because tomorrow is promised to no one. I approach my life and each project with energy and passion. When I helped bring clean water to 10,000 people in Ethiopia for generations to come, I felt that I’d finally made my rent on earth.

About Hypertension

Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure readings include two numbers, such as 120/80 (say “120 over 80”). The first number is the systolic pressure. This is the force of blood on the artery walls as the heart pumps. The second number is the diastolic pressure. This is the force of blood on the artery walls between heartbeats, when the heart is at rest.

The Donut Hole

On May 29, 2010 my husband and I were enjoying a vacation in the Pacific Northwest when we received a “frantic” call from my sister-in-law who was staying with my 92-year-old mother-in-law. We had ordered a refill of Mom’s medication through her Medicare Part D plan. The plan called to see if it was okay to put a $1,200 charge on my credit card. “But I thought Mom has Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage” my sister-in-law exclaimed. Mom does have a Part D plan but she had reached the “donut hole” or coverage gap in the plan. How did this happen?

Who Gets My Stuff?

You may have heard the old joke, “where there’s a will … I want to be in it.” That may be true, but is estate planning really all about “who gets my stuff?” Who gets your stuff is important, but when you sift through the reasons for doing estate planning, you may find that identifying who gets your stuff takes a distant back seat to far more important considerations.

Behind the Scenes with Kirk Matthews

GM: Where did you grow up? In a big city? Or small-town America? KM: I grew up in little towns all around Oregon. I went to high school on a former Indian reservation, Siletz. Graduating class of 12. GM: What was your first job? Was it in media or in a different field?
KM: My first broadcasting job was in Coos Bay Oregon at a small radio station. I had the opportunity to do EVERYTHING. It was a great learning experience.

Talk Story with Lisa

Sharon Hayashi, Interior Designer What are some of the things that’s fulfilling in your life? I joined the Rotary Club of Metropolitan Honolulu in 1989 for its local and international projects. I have enjoyed renovation projects at Princess Kaiulani School, Hale Kipa Youth Housing, and Clubhouses for the Hawaii Adult Mental Health Hawaii Division. And I serve on the board of Friends of the Library of Hawaii.

Elderhood Project

My mother just got her first cell phone. It doesn’t take pictures or play music — it just makes phone calls. It took her a while to get used to the idea — she would talk into the wrong end of the phone in the beginning. But she’s got the technology figured out and now she can call me any time. ANY TIME. But I’m glad about that.

Retirement: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

It’s safe to say that your retirement will bear little resemblance to that of your grandparents—and even your parents. The world has changed so much in the past 20 years that even the savviest prognosticators couldn’t have predicted all changes in society and technology that have transformed our daily lives. We now know there is no turning back from the life we’ve become accustomed to, but it begs the question: What’s next?

Sneaky Scams

Work-at-home and make $500 dollars a day, lose 30 lbs. in one week, and the secrets of becoming financially secure for the price of shipping and handling all “risk free.” Hawai‘i’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns against offers that claim a “risk free” trial but takes your payment information up front. Many consumers allege that after providing credit card or banking information that they are bombarded with fees and other charges before the free trial is over.

Divorced? Youʻre not separated from Social Security

If you are divorced, there are several things you should know about Social Security. A divorced spouse may be eligible for benefits on more than one work record—such as one’s own record and an ex-spouse’s record. This applies to both divorced men and women. If you’ve never asked Social Security about receiving benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work, you should consider it. Some divorced people may get a higher benefit based on their ex’s work.

Survey Says: Seniors Arenʻt Ready to Age

An AARP survey of Hawai‘i residents age 50 years old and over shows a gap between the importance they place on health and financial security and their confidence in meeting those needs. More than 9 out of 10 older residents in Hawai‘i say staying healthy, mentally sharp and having adequate health insurance coverage are extremely or very important to them. Yet only 3 out of 10 say they have everything they need relative to these concerns.

Nā Tūtū – Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

For generations grandparents in Hawai‘i have helped raise their grandchildren while the parents worked the farms or harvested the crops. While things changed in modern Hawai‘i, the tradition continued as busy parents headed off to work, grandparents often took the grandchildren to school or after school activities. And, by the late ’90s, many grandparents found themselves caring for their grandchildren on a full time, 24/7 basis.

Lanakila, a Place to Thrive

Given the rapidly growing senior populace, Catholic Charities Hawai‘i remains dedicated to creating and providing services that keep seniors engaged and independent. Services include case management, transportation, chore and housekeeping, affordable housing, respite for caregivers, socialization and volunteer opportunities.

Senior Tuition

SECOH, a private, not-for-profit provider of adult day care services, is offering tuition assistance to individuals 65 and older who are in need of but can’t afford out-of-home Adult Day Care services. The tuition assistance is made possible by a generous grant from the May Templeton Hopper Fund administered by the Hawai‘i Community Foundation.

An Interview with Leslie Wilcox

Our “can do!” island culture values resourcefulness and cooperation when faced with challenges. “We know a guy” and where to get things, and have honed skills tūtū taught us. We don’t expect anything in return for helping out. “If can, can; if no can, no can.” We put ourselves to the task. PBS Hawai‘i (KHET or KMEB call letters in your guide) is our TV station. Our donations built it and it serves us. But don’t take it for granted.

How to Avoid Charity Fraud

It may be hard to believe, but during natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes — and even the current COVID-19 pandemic — unscrupulous scammers set up fraudulent fundraising operations to take advantage of Good Samaritans who want to help.

Meaningful Estate Planning

In medicine, there is cure and care; in finance, there is worth and value. In estate planning, there is wealth and meaning. Most people see the estate planner’s role as writing a document that transfers wealth at death. Just as significant is our role to communicate our client’s meaning clearly. This meaning is the foundation for estate planning.

COVID-19 and The Market

Historic market volatility has washed over the globe in recent weeks. The spread of COVID-19 (the disease caused by coronavirus) has precipitated a record drop in the stock market and a sharp plunge in bond yields, sending the U.S. into its first bear market in over a decade. People around the world are facing a health crisis that’s driving an economic crisis, which are leading to high levels of anxiety for families and individuals regarding their well-being and financial situation.

Using Hawaii Relay Conference Captioning

There’s a service available that can help you feel empowered and stay engaged with individuals or co-workers. Relay Conference Captioning (RCC) is a free* service available to Hawai‘i residents who are deaf or hard of hearing that enables them to actively participate in multiparty teleconference calls or web conferences. The service enables you to participate in teleconference calls or webinars by reading live captions through a web browser on your computer or mobile device. Saving a copy of the RCC transcript is one of the available options.

Solution for Loneliness & Housing Shortage

In response to this epidemic of isolation, a strategy called “home sharing” has been implemented in many U.S. cities for over 40 years. Recently, the nonprofit Hawaii Intergenerational Network (HIN), with funding from the HMSA, Kaiser and Atherton Family foundations, began a project called “Homesharing Hawaii” to offer a similar program in the state that will help seniors safely age in place and secure very affordable housing for low- and moderate-income renters. It is also a cost effective program because it doesn’t require building new housing or providing ongoing rental subsidies.

Exercise: A Panacea for Heart Disease

Exercise is the closest thing to a complete remedy — a panacea — for heart disease. The heart fuels the entire body. If the heart gets too weak, it cannot sufficiently provide nutrients to organs and the body slowly deteriorates. Unfortunately, this is quite common for people in hospice care. Thankfully, prevention is readily available.

Going to the Dentist After COVID-19

Hopefully, the COVID-19 virus is now under control and life is back to normal. Regardless, one of the lessons we learned through this pandemic is better personal hygiene. Dentists were asked to help contain the spread if the virus by limiting their care to only emergency visits. The main concern was patients spreading it to each other while in the office. Just as concerning was the direct exposure of the virus to dentists and their staff — and possible spread to their families.

Mindfulness & Memory

If you have ever forgotten why you walked into a room or you find yourself making small mistakes, you’ve probably chalked it up to an aging brain. Age is only a minor contributor to this condition. The main factor is how you utilize your brain. Learn how to guide your brain instead of following or trying to catch up to it and you’ll find you not only recall things easier, you’ll enjoy the moment more and feel better overall.

Tighten Your ‘Internal Belt’

Core training is one of the most popular concepts in the field of fitness and physical therapy. Core stability training is often associated with strengthening your abdominal muscles — the “abs.” The ab muscles play a very important role, but the core also includes multiple muscles in he mid-lower back, pelvic floor, hips and buttocks. This ring of muscles, or the “internal belt,” holds us up during the day, reducing falls, decreasing back pain and improving posture and even bladder control.