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Senior Living & Retirement 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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Residential Needs

Kāhala Nui

Darlene Canto
Director of Marketing, Kahāla Nui

Take a stroll around the Kāhala Nui senior living community and you might just see residents enjoying Tai Chi or Qi Gong. They might even be taking Mandarin, photography or painting classes. “Residents are self-motivated to maintain their independence and overall lifestyle,” says Darlene Canto, Kāhala Nui’s director of marketing. “Many residents have intellectual pursuits, and our Lifestyles Department is exceptional in providing an array of lifelong learning opportunities.”

A not-for-profit organization, Kāhala Nui opened its doors in 2005. “Kāhala Nui started out as a dream by an extraordinary group of visionaries who recognized the need for senior housing and care,” Canto says. “Years of planning and hard work under the leadership of Charles ‘Chuck’ Swanson, the former Commander of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, came to fruition.” Now, Swanson enjoys the fruits of this labor as a Kāhala Nui resident.

Part of Swanson’s vision was to provide high-quality residential and health care services to seniors who wish to live a Hawaiian lifestyle in an environment filled with dignity, respect, trust and friendship. Kāhala Nui’s staff, with their unprecedented service, accomplishes much of this today.

“We strive not only to attract, retain and promote outstanding associates, but also to inspire them to be proficient family team members,” Canto says. 

Kāhala Nui’s Life Care plan provides residents with opportunities to live an active, independent lifestyle without the worry of future health care. “Life Care allows independent-living residents priority access, if needed, to our on-site assisted living and skilled nursing areas at a significant discount,” Canto says.

And the needs of seniors are always at the heart of Kāhala Nui’s efforts. “Our primary obligation is to serve the seniors that reside at Kāhala Nui,” Canto says, “but we have also continually expanded our outreach efforts in the greater community by supporting organizations that provide care for seniors.”

This overwhelming consideration for seniors may be the secret to Kāhala Nui’s continued success. Now serving more than 460 seniors, the community plans to continue its tradition of friendly and compassionate service, Hawaiian style. “Kāhala Nui is a proponent of the spirit of ohana, where residents and associates live and work as family,” Canto says.

The Plaza Assisted Living

Rick Skelton
The Plaza Assisted Living

While many might imagine senior living communities to come with out-of-reach costs, The Plaza Assisted Living provides just the opposite: All-around, top-notch communities built for moderate-income seniors.

The product of a partnership between MW Group and Sound Health Hawaii, The Plaza came as a result of one of the partner’s struggle to find care for aging parents in Hawaii, especially for families with moderate income.

“By catering to this segment of Hawaii’s population, we are offering an alternative option to families,” Skelton says. The Plaza helps to achieve their goal by offering rentals. “Residents are not required to purchase or put a large entrance fee down in order to move in,” Skelton says.

Once they arrive, residents can enjoy a home-like environment, complete with meals, housekeeping, linen service, activities, scheduled transportation and nursing services. “Our goal is to foster each resident’s independence and allow them to live in a community where they have options,” Skelton says.

He also points out The Plaza’s exceptional care programs, the Memory Care Program in particular. “This program is specially designed to provide care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias,” Skelton says. “The staff receives specialized training and the activities and programming caters to their unique needs.”

The Plaza is fully licensed as assisted living and can offer services with a licensed nursing staff 24 hours per day. “Our mission at The Plaza is to anticipate and meet the needs with the highest levels of expertise, compassion and quality care,” Skelton says.

This includes providing an atmosphere in which residents find comfort, perhaps in the familiar faces of their neighbors or in the areas the community is located. “Often residents run into old classmates or former coworkers they haven’t seen in years,” Skelton says. “The size of our community is small enough to feel close to all your neighbors, but large enough to offer many different options for meals, activities and companionship.”

Looking ahead, The Plaza plans to add to its three communities on Oahu. “We have found that our residents want to live in the same neighborhoods that they have been living in, or in the areas that their children are living,” Skelton says. “We look for areas that moderate-income seniors are living, and attempt to build in their neighborhoods.”

Holiday Retirement

Denise Bilodeau
MSW, NHA Assisted Living Administrator,
Holiday Retirement

Holiday Retirement, North America’s largest provider of independent retirement living has two properties in Hawaii: Kalama Heights Independent Living Community on Maui, and Hawaii Kai Independent and Assisted Living on Oahu.

Centered on providing guests with relaxed, independent living, Holiday Retirement residents enjoy all-inclusive, month-to-month rents, which include three chef-made meals per day. “Our one-of-a-kind travel program allows our residents to stay up to seven nights free of charge at nearly all of our more than 300 communities across the U.S. and Canada,” says Assisted Living Administrator Denise Bilodeau, MSW, NHA. “The all-inclusive lifestyle is there at no additional expense, allowing for more freedom to enjoy traveling with the familiarity of home.”

The community buses allow residents hassle-free travel to appointments, shopping and community events, while licensed, professional nurses and trained caregivers are on hand 24/7.  “We extend a resort quality lifestyle to all our residents, allowing them to relax and enjoy life,” Bilodeau says.

Pohai Nani

Patricia “Tish” Camero
Executive Director,
Good Samaritan Society Pohai Nani

Imagine waking up every morning to the breathtaking views of the majestic Koolau Mountains and the tranquil, turquoise-colored waters of Kaneohe Bay. What a way to feel nurtured by nature.

Pohai Nani is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, who owns and/or manages 240 facilities in 24 states. The Good Samaritan Society Pohai Nani is located on the Windward side of the island of Oahu, 12.5 miles from downtown Honolulu.

Established in 1964 the Good Samaritan Society Pohai Nani, a not for profit retirement community, offers a continuum of care , including Housing with Services, Assisted Living, Care Home, and Skilled Nursing Care. The 16-acre campus consists of 184 apartments, 16 cottages, 20 Care Home beds, and a 44 bed Skilled Nursing Facility. The Good Samaritan Society Pohai Nani celebrated its 48th anniversary in January 2012.

Pohai Nani’s mission is “To share God’s love in word and deed by providing shelter and supportive services to older persons and others in need, believing that ‘In Christ’s Love, Everyone is Someone.’ ” This heartfelt mission guides their remarkable staff to serve the residents well. A solution-oriented service program is encouraged, and employees are empowered to provide a positive experience for all with whom they come in contact.

The location, quality service and low staff turnover are what set Pohai Nani apart. Perhaps it is because of the company’s vision of creating an environment where people are loved, valued and at peace, that so many compassionate staff members have been assisting residents for at least ten years.

The Wellness Program is offered to residents and to the community at large. This program has done so much for preserving independence and a sense of dignity for residents. Tasty nutritional meals and regular exercise can do more to enhance good health and healthy attitudes.  Other amenities include a computer room with Internet access, an art studio and craft room, beauty and barber shop, library, and walking paths among mature Hawaiian flora.

With the beauty of the Koolau surrounding it, Pohai Nani’s future can only be bright for residents, staff, families, and management who care about each other.

Kaimuki Care Home

When it comes to living with assistance, one of the most daunting things to overcome is reaching the delicate balance between care and independence. Lucky for one family, they found this at Kaimuki Care Home. “Dad now knows where he is at is a care home, not a nursing home, where he was before,” says one guest’s son. “He wakes up when he wants, he goes to bed when he wants, and his needs are provided by professionals.”

This particular guest also appreciates the efforts of the incredibly caring staff, especially his main caregiver. “He is a very good caregiver, and he is a blessing,” the son says. “What touches our hearts and makes the whole ohana feel great is that dad is happy. Mom is happy knowing that dad is doing better, and I am very happy, too.”

Content guests are common at Kaimuki Care Home, which is a licensed Expanded Care Adult Residential Care Home. Here, they cover everything from care-home-level to skilled nursing-care level residents. And what is perhaps most extraordinary is the incredible amount of thoughtfulness they instill in everything they do. “We serve delicious home-cooked meals, and we have no restrictions on visiting hours,” says owner Nestor Calucag. “We are also one of the very few care homes that admits hospice residents. We make them feel loved and important.”

Senior Move Managers

Dan Ihara
Co-Founder, Senior Move Managers

Sometimes one of the most difficult challenges a senior can face is right inside the home. “They become handcuffed in their home and think they can’t leave because they don’t know what to do with all their things,” says Daniel Ihara, who co-founded Senior Move Managers with his wife, Julie, in 2010.

As experienced realtors, they founded Senior Move Managers to help seniors who wanted or needed to move.

“First we ask why they need to move. If there is no need to move, we can help them age in place and de-clutter,” Ihara says.

After de-cluttering the home, they plan the layout and items for the new home. This includes where furniture will go and what belongs in which drawer. “Mentally, they can see themselves going from one house into the new one,” Ihara says. “This hope helps them get there.”

Next, movers transport the items to the new home, and Ihara’s team unpacks everything according to the plan. If the old home needs to be sold, Ihara’s team can help with that step as well.

As full-fledged members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, Ihara and his team have been trained to work with and recognize the intricacies of seniors, which resonates with their clients. “It has made me understand and appreciate how to take care of people of this generation,” Ihara says. “We don’t see ourselves are realtors as much as people who help people transition life.”

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