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Hawaii Business Senior Living Guide

Innovative options, solutions, services and advice offered by Hawaii’s top senior care professionals offering tips on planning, premium facilities and transport.

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Darlene Canto, Director of Marketing, Kahāla Nui

Empowering Individuals

For those in the know, the main reason to live out your golden years in Hawaii is the people.

“I once asked a couple who had moved to Kāhala Nui from out of state about their reasons for living here. Without hesitation, they responded, ‘The people of Hawaii treat seniors with much more respect,’” says Darlene Canto, director of marketing at Kāhala Nui. “Our island culture reveres our kūpuna, and it is this sense of community that we seek to preserve at Kāhala Nui.”

Preserving that community feeling means fostering an atmosphere that caters to residents’ overall health, medically, spiritually and intellectually. On any given day, seniors can enjoy Tai Chi, Qi Gong, stretch and balance, and strength and circuit-training classes. Then, they can follow up with Mandarain language, photography, painting or computer-instruction classes.

“Residents are self-motivated to maintain their independence and overall health,” Canto says. “We also have a movement to change health care and related services from provider-directed to person-centered, person-directed.”

What this means for Kāhala Nui residents is greater autonomy and self-determination.

“It is our belief that this cultural change will help to create a healthier, more positive and respectful society for everyone by empowering individuals to achieve and maintain their fullest potential,” Canto says.

When it comes to medical professionals, Kāhala Nui provides the Hi’olani Care Center, an on-site, six-story care center that comprises 41 assisted-living suites, 22 memory-support suites, and 60 nursing beds, each tailored to support residents’ specific needs. They also provide scheduled transportation to medical appointments in downtown Honolulu and Hawaii Kai, Tripler Medical Center and Kaiser Moanalua.

When it comes to costs, Kāhala Nui stays true to its not-for-profit standing and its mission to serve residents with top-notch care by supporting programs that allow them to balance both.

“We work diligently to keep our costs in line,” Canto says. “We support programs that allow for lower cost settings, and we carefully evaluate and weigh cost without compromising quality of care.”

Looking ahead, the 8-year-old Kāhala Nui will push to preserve the sense of community its residents have come to know.

“Kāhala Nui is a proponent of the spirit of ohana, where residents and associates live and work as family,” Canto says. “We provide services that enable our residents to live a gracious Hawaiian lifestyle in an environment of dignity, respect, trust and friendship.”

A Little Extra Care

There comes a time in life when people need a little extra care. And when it comes to care, who better to provide it than family? A family feel and home atmosphere is exactly what guests find at Kaimuki Care Home, a subsidiary of the Calucag Care Home group.

“I lived with my grandma growing up,” says company owner Nestor Calucag. “I know how important it is for seniors to feel comfortable and at-home.”

His experience led him to open up senior living residences with the hope of providing family-style care for others, given by trained professionals.

“We treat the guests like family,” Calucag says. “Their family members come when they want. We don’t have visiting hours.”

Striving to mimic environments to which guests have grown accustomed, Calucag built Kaimuki Care Home to look and feel like the other homes in the neighborhood, in the same way he modeled the Calucag Care Homes.

“I aim to provide what guests are accustomed to or better, and I think it’s really important that they enjoy their time here,” he says.

Part of that enjoyment comes with the freedom to live as one chooses with the security of knowing there is always someone there. While the residence employs a 24-hour nursing staff and is licensed for wheelchair, ambulatory and even expanded-care residents, it also provides its own transportation for off-site trips.

“We have our own van, so guests don’t have to wait for other transportation to get here,” Calucag says. “We make their medical appointments for them and also have a caregiver accompany them. We know their status better than anyone else because we live with them.

For exercise, guests workout at the residence and some take advantage of World Gym in Aina Haina, of which Calucag is an owner.

“We give them free sessions, with assistance,” Calucag says.

While the gym is open to all ages, it has programs in place tailored to the senior population.

“We have a silver fit program with Kaiser,” Calucag says. “This allows Kaiser members to join our Aina Haina World Gym with Kaiser paying the monthly fee.”

The idea is to get seniors to become more fitness-conscious. Looking ahead, Calucag plans to expand the care home residences to other locations throughout Oahu as well as to open another senior-focused gym in Downtown Honolulu.

“I have always enjoyed helping other people,” Calucag says. “I love the elderly and have a lot of respect for them.” 

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