Sunday, April 30, 2006

Notes from March Meeting

Barbara Stanton, State Director AARP: AARP is undertaking a survey to cost out home improvements that will enable people to stay home longer. The information will be useful for the legislature as well as advocacy groups. AARP supported legislation to provide a refundable tax credit for caregivers and to extend income eligibility to 150% of poverty for the Hawaii Rx assistance program. Also important are aging in place and proper placement at the proper time.

Deborah Jackson, Director of Eldercare Hawaii. Her organization ( is a resource for eldercare information, resources, support, training and providers for family caregivers and seniors. The staff assists with planning, counseling, mediation, information and referrals.

Nanette Geller, a geriatric mental health consultant is concerned about how to make long term care institutions more home-like. It is possible to have a good quality of life in spite of impairments. Having loving care providers, whether unpaid or professional is most important.

While not a panelist, Kokua Council member Florence Lau shared her experience in organizing her condo to assist the growing number of aging tenants “age in place”. Her experience taught her to
1. Get support and approval from the board of directors and the building manager.
2. Start out with a socializing activity so tenants get to know each other.
3. Find out from them what their needs are.
4. Include all ages. For example, don’t call it a senior group or caregivers’ group; call it a singles’ group or a better living group.
5. Her condo now has a buddy system on each floor.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Notes from May Meeting: Elder Abuse

Presenters: Scott Spallina, Deputy District Attorney, Elder Abuse

Marilyn Seely, former director of the Executive Office on Aging, Kokua Council Board member and now consultant on Aging issues introduced the speaker with these statements: Hawaii has one of the poorest records for elder abuse and fraud because of restrictive laws, definition of “dependency” ,different agencies not talking to each other, elders ashamed to complain.

Scott Spallina: Don’t trust anybody. Family members, caregivers, helpful neighbors are worst offenders with those addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling accounting for over 50% of elder abuse.

Elders are the perfect victims; they own older homes that they are unable to keep up with repairs, often live alone, have assets, are lonely and trusting, have predictable habits (leave home same time each day) and less likely to take action.

Typically it takes eight incidents of abuse, financial or physical before a victim or neighbor will complain. Usually this is because of embarrassment, fear of being declared incompetent, ashamed to turn in a family member, will have no one to look after him or her if they do. 75% of cases are dropped because of this.

Attempts to change laws have failed in the past because other state priorities have taken precedence, administrators say they are handling all complaints, public hasn’t coalesced around the issue. (!!!)