My Reflections on Caregiving

Aloha! When we hear the words “kūpuna care,” it can bring forth many thoughts, perhaps of taking care of a parent, grandparent, neighbor or friend. For me, “kūpuna care” has also meant a career of three decades working in senior care communities in California and Hawai‘i. As a licensed administrator, I’ve been there in the continuum of care: independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. I strived, with other staff members, to provide the highest quality of care and services.

Give Yourself Credit For Caregiving

Stayin’ Alive: the Bee Gees’ message remains important for those of us involved in caregiving. Too often we allow our own health and wellbeing to decline while we try to keep our loved ones safe and content. Here are a few easy to do things that can help keep you — the caregiver — alive… Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother!

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.

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.

Dementia Patients, Caregivers & COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in some way. But our most vulnerable population, our senior citizens — especially those with dementia — are being particularly challenged. Our normal routines have been altered during the pandemic. This can be devastating for dementia patients, who thrive on the consistency of a regular routine.

Caregiving During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has all of us dealing with additional stressors in life, and many of us may
find that our abilities to deal with conflict and issues are short-fused. People living with dementia (PLWD) rely on their care partners to provide assistance with activities of daily living with kindness and compassion. PLWD also require mental stimulation, socialization and a reason to live just as much as you and I do. COVID-19 has changed our world into a place where we no longer feel safe, and social distancing has left many people feeling lonely, depressed and isolated.

Shim Kanazawa: A Pioneer for the Ages

Shimeji Kanazawa, or “Shim” as most of us know her, is Hawai‘i’s original pioneer of aging issues. She has advocated for programs and services that help our senior population for five decades. In doing so, she Shim has worked with every governor, from Gov. Quinn to Gov. Abercrombie.

Positive Physical Approach to Dementia Care

People living with dementia need guidance, human connection and a sense of independence. In my professional practice, we use the Positive Physical Approach. This innovative modality developed by Teepa Snow teaches family caregivers more effective ways to understand and communicate with their loved ones and all people with dementia.

3 Tips to Help Discuss Aging in Place

There is no perfect time to discuss end-of-life care. Most seniors would prefer to age in place at home, as independently as possible. But too few take the time to discuss their preferences with their family, leaving family caregivers
stressed and scrambling. The most important thing any family can do to prepare for a loved one to live at home is to talk about it today.

Keeping Seniors Happy, Healthy & Strong

When a senior member of your family is in need of 24/7 care, it is fortunate that Hawai‘i has many professional, caring and dedicated homes and facilities to welcome them. What every family wants to know is: “Will my mom or dad be happy living in someone else’s home, eat right, and stay mentally and physically strong?”

Being a Better Caregiver

Home healthcare providers are often asked what makes a better caregiver. The answer is that, while many factors come to mind, an interest in learning is high on the list, and essential to a caregiver’s progress. For example, an important role caregivers have is recognizing when an individual’s health condition is changing. Those who can reflect and learn from these changes often develop into better caregivers.

Caregiving in the Cycle of Life

Former first lady Rosalynn was a caregiver herself and she believed that family caregiving is a cycle of life that touches everyone. Here, four people, each at a different point on the cycle, share their care stories from the heart, offering words of wisdom and points of caution. As you read, consider your journey on the Cycle of Caregiving. Where are you? Are you prepared?

Caregiving Overseas

Many family caregivers come home to Hawai‘i to assist aging parents. But how about caregiving overseas? When my mother died, Dad was 93 and slipping into dementia. His younger brother had retired to the Philippines, with his wife and insisted on providing care for his older brother, who had done so much for his family.