Hawai‘i’s 154,000 family caregivers help their parents, spouses and other loved ones to live at home — where they would wish to be. They help with medications, medical care, meals, bathing, dressing and much more.
Many do it while working full – or part-time. Some are sandwich-generation caregivers, taking care of older loved ones while raising children.
Family caregivers do what they do out of love. It’s not easy. Caregiving can be expensive, stressful and isolating. Family caregivers sometimes sacrifice their own physical and mental health and put their careers and retirement savings at risk to do what they do.
“Some of the memories that I had caring for my father are just magical and wonderful. They were some of the best moments I had with him when I was taking care of him, but it’s also some of the most heartbreaking and stressful experiences I’ve ever endured,” said Terri Madden, who wrote and will perform a play about Hawai’i’s caregivers titled Malama the Caregivers at Kumu Kahua Theatre in November.
“It’s so financially breaking, difficult for people and when they’re taking care of people at home, that’s extremely draining,” Madden continued. “I think our society as a whole needs to take responsibility and not put it all on the shoulders of caregivers to take care of our kupuna or our children.”
Caregivers in Hawai‘i put in an estimated 144 million hours of free care worth $2.6 billion. Many spend their own money to pay for adult day care, equipment, transportation and home modifications. On average, caregivers spend about $7,000 a year on caregiving. When family caregivers keep their loved ones out of costly nursing homes, it saves Hawai‘i — and taxpayers — money since nursing home care is mostly paid for by the state, through Medicaid.
Family caregivers deserve our support and AARP Hawai‘i is committed to helping them. We hold regular webinars and in-person workshops to give caregivers information on how to care for loved ones and, at the same time, care for themselves. We also have a website at aarp.org/caregiving and a Facebook support group.
AARP is working in Washington, D.C. to implement the recommendations of the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council to improve access to service and support for caregivers nationwide. We’re also supporting the Credit for Caring Act to provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to eligible working caregivers.
At the state Legislature, AARP Hawai‘i supported Gov. Josh Green’s proposal to expand the earned income tax credit for dependents. A scaled-down version of the credit passed the Legislature, which should provide additional tax credits for some family caregivers. Next year, AARP Hawai‘i will lobby for expanded caregiver tax credits to help more family caregivers. We’re also advocating to increase the paid caregiver workforce. Anyone who has tried to get a care home or nursing home bed, respite care or in-home care knows there’s a shortage of caregiving workers — a shortage that will only worsen as the state ages and more people live past 80, when they’re more likely needing support.
If you’re a family caregiver or want to help caregivers by helping us pass laws, contact AARP Hawai‘i Advocacy Director Audrey Suga-Nakagawa at email@example.com. We’re especially looking for family caregivers willing to share their personal stories with lawmakers.
AARP HAWAI‘I (501(c) nonprofit)
1001 Bishop St., Ste. 625, Honolulu, HI 96813
866-295-7282 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for Caregivers:
To receive emails on events and advocacy:
Local AARP events and webinars: