The October-November 2019 Issue features Anona and Joseph “Nappy” Napoleon and their love of the sea, “Kō ā Moana: Those of the Ocean.” Youʻll also see stories about our long journey on Earth, a local prostate cancer support group, how to handle your aging parentsʻ finances and much, much more.
When purchasing items with a credit or debit card online or over the counter, there are precautions you need to take.
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.
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.
The people of Hawai‘i are generous with public charities. On the other hand, most of us do not have money to burn. The following are some good ideas about choosing where and how to give.
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.
I’m trying to figure out how much to save for my retirement. Does the government offer any help with financial education? Will my son be eligible to receive benefits on his retired father’s record while going to college?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, is also known as kadō — the way of the flowers. Based on an ancient Buddhist ritual of using flowers to honor the spirits of the dead, kadō is one of the three Japanese arts of refinement.
It’s always comforting to have a best friend to share in the journey of life every step of the way. For seniors, while the idea of caring for a furry friend can seem overwhelming, the benefits are highly rewarding; pets can provide a whole new experience of joy and purpose.
Over 30 percent of the people who work don’t have full-time jobs. In a few years, that will increase to almost 50 percent. Working even one day a week will provide psycho-social advantages to an engaged senior. There are plenty of options.
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.
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.
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.
Starting with the 2020 primaries, all statewide elections in Hawai‘i will be conducted by mail. This will be a big change for some Hawai‘i voters, especially those who are not accustomed to voting by absentee ballot. For those who vote by absentee ballot, the all vote-by-mail system is nothing new.
Anona and Joseph “Nappy” Napoleon love the sea. Their kuleana is to respect and care for the sea by practicing and perpetuating cultural traditions of their ancestors who lived on and near the ocean. We call them “watermen.” Kō ā moana may be men or women, surfers, fishermen, paddlers, sailors or divers.