Thursday, June 28, 2007

Kokua Council is podcasting! Tune in from wherever you are

Enjoy Kokua Council meetings when and where you choose to listen. We've started to record and podcast our meetings.

Although the word "podcast" seems to be related to the "iPod" music player, it's not necessary to have an iPod to listen to these programs.

You can listen from the computer simply by clicking on a link. That's all there is to it. Just click and listen.

Podcasting makes the program available online for automatic downloading via a "feed." Once you have it in your computer, mp3 player or iPod, you can then listen to the podcast whenever and wherever you want. How about while folding laundry or doing the dishes?

If you are already listening to podcasts, you know how to add Kokua Council to your subscriptions. Just grab the link over on the right side of this page and you'll receive new programs each month. Automagically.

2007 Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans Legislative Report: "The Good, Bad and Ugly"

The Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans held a review of the 2007 legislature on June 13. A report, dubbed "The Good, Bad and Ugly," is available here (pdf) from our website.

The meeting was very well attended. There were 73 attendees, seven legislators, and representatives from twenty government and non-profit organizations.

June 25 Meeting: Mae Mendelson--Integrating Elders in the Community

Click here to listen.

For those who were unable to attend, you can hear Mae Mendelson's presentation and her replies to questions in this audio recording. Just click on the link above to begin playing.

Mendelson is currently involved in intergenerational projects nationally and internationally. Intergenerational means those 50 plus in age and fewer than 18. She has found these programs increase social support for both groups, teach the younger generation about growing older and help them better plan for their future. One of the best programs mixes the generations in elder housing. Liveable communities should have restaurants and shops on the ground floors of the housing open to the general public. Other examples are mentoring and tutoring in elementary schools- the older mentor seems to calm the kids with behavior problems, high school students helping Alzheimer patients create memory books, grandparents raising grand children, art courses with both generations –Japan has published coloring books for adults.

Mendelson has created travel opportunities for elders including teaching English to pre-schoolers in Japan.

Related articles:

The Yomiuri Shimbun--Experts to hold intl symposium on therapeutic effect of nuri-e

USA Today--Proposed legislation would help caregivers with financial, day care aid

President's Letter: June 2007 -- Let your congresspeople know that Medicare Part D needs fixing

All the bad predictions about Medicare Part D are coming true, and the reality is cruel for many seniors. Far from reducing the cost of prescription drugs through competition between the private plans, costs have increased faster than the rate of inflation and faster than seniors' cost of living adjustments. In fact, the median increase is approximately three times faster than COLA, leaving seniors hard-pressed to pay for the medicines they need.

The biggest beneficiaries are the drug companies, of course, whose profits are protected. They threaten the long-term viability of the Medicare system since their huge profits drive up Medicare costs.

When politicians have to deal with the growing Medicare expense, seniors will have few friends. It's critical that everyone affected—seniors and their families—push their Congressional representatives now for relief from this poorly conceived plan with its absurd and damaging "doughnut hole" that places their wellbeing in jeopardy.

Hawaii families concerned about this issue should write or call our Congressional delegation and ask them to push for sensible control of prescription drug prices and an end to the "doughnut hole." Recent attempts to put a weak drug negotiation provision into Medicare failed to pass. We need to push them to do better.

Sitting over in Washington, can they understand the reality of falling into a "doughnut hole" and having to bear an incredible expense for necessary medicines? Tell them about it. Their phone numbers are in your phone book.

Please also support Kokua Council through your membership and donations. Consider becoming a life member. Ask us how you can join in the fight for better medical care for all of Hawaii's citizens. If you have special skills or areas of expertise, please let us know.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 25 program: Integrating Elders in the Community, Locally and Globally

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Miyama Main Hall, Harris United Methodist Church
Nuuanu Ave. and South Vineyard Blvd.

Ample parking - driveway off Nuuanu Ave.

11:30 Luncheon: Govinda's Vegetarian Buffet, Salad, Dessert by Eloise. $5.00 donation

11:45 Welcome, Introductions and Remarks, Larry Geller, President

12:00 PROGRAM: Mae Mendelson, Using her experience from her former work with Hawaii Intergenerational Network and AARP, she will speak about Integrating Elders in the Community, Locally and Globally. Integration includes recruiting seniors to do stints teaching English in Japan and planning senior educational study tours in Europe, Asia and Africa.