Hawaii has the highest percentage of multi-generational households in the nation, yet many families don’t have the skillset or resources to provide necessary round-the-clock care for elderly relatives.
About 43.5 million adults in the nation care for a family member age 50 or older — in addition to working full time, raising kids, and juggling their own activities. Lanai families can now rest a little easier. Home health services are available through Ke Ola Hou O Lanai, thanks to Na Puuwai (a Native Hawaiian healthcare nonprofit servicing Molokai and Lanai) and Arcadia Home Health, an Oahu-based company specializing in retirement homes and communities, home health care and community health services.
Home care clients are able to receive assistance with errands, housecleaning and meal preparation. Home health services require a registered nurse to administer medication, dress wounds, place IVs and monitor vital signs.
The need for home health care on Lanai
Ke Ola Hou has been working for years to bring home health care to Lanai. As Val Janikowski, nurse at Ke Ola Hou, noted, “There was a need for it — simple as that. Before this, our elderly population had to go to neighbor islands for long-term care because the services simply weren’t available here.”
As a nurse, Janikowski is on the front lines of the home health operations. She feels blessed to be able to help patients in their own homes. “We’re allowing people to stay in their homes, where they’re most comfortable, instead of relocating to Oahu or having to go to the doctor’s office three times a week for treatment. Getting care at home instead of from a hospital bed is a very basic desire that holds true for almost anyone.”
Opportunities to volunteer
For those looking to get involved, opportunities are available and you don’t need to be a nurse to make a difference. “One of our volunteers said he could mow lawns,” Janikowski said. “It’s something people might not think about. If you’re taking care of a sick relative, you don’t have the time or energy to do something like that. I also had a patient whose husband loved to work in the yard, but was busy caring for his wife throughout the day. We asked one of our volunteers to sit and read to his wife so he could go out and do some yard work — it was very therapeutic for him.”
For those seeking services, call Ke Ola Hou at 808-565-7204 and ask for Val or Mae Ulep. Ke Ola Hou will soon be able to provide services through Medicare and Medicaid. For now, it is offering affordable care on an income-based sliding scale to make sure the program is meeting the needs of all our kupuna, without turning anyone away.