Monday, November 15, 2010
Fred Hemmings figures he's spent a lifetime on the vanguard of rising opportunity and crashing change. A champion surfer, he joined with Randy Rarick to found the first professional surfing tour. And while his endeavors as a Republican state legislator were often stymied, he nonetheless led the way in numerous efforts to reform government, promote business and protect the environment.
When Paul McCartney asked the musical question, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" he likely had no idea how profound his sing-song query might one day seem to the Beatles' legions of baby boomer fans. The eldest of America's largest generation are, in fact, 64 right now.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Even at 98, suffering from dementia and no longer able to bathe or dress herself, Harriet Matsuyama has the carefully drawn eyebrows of a lady who wants to look her best. Her only daughter, Suzanne Kobe, knows appearances matter to her mother. That was always a point of contention between them.
Caring for elderly relatives seems like it should come naturally, but it can be risky. And the job gets tougher over time, unlike looking after children, who keep learning new skills. With Hawaii's senior population expected to soar in the coming decades, support and education for elders and their families will be crucial, experts say.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Unlike recessions that can hit with little warning, the approaching economic impact of Hawaii's aging population is like a freight train loudly sounding its horn in the distance to give those in its path time to prepare.
As she was nearing retirement in 2003 after 37 years as a nurses aide at Straub Clinic & Hospital, Milaina Felisi was eagerly anticipating the opportunity to do some traveling with her husband and spend more time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But four years later, the idle time was starting to weigh on her.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The state has set aside nothing to pay for retiree health benefits for its aging public workers over the next three decades, leaving future taxpayers on the hook for the estimated $10.8 billion cost. "There's just no money — the liability for the state is so huge," said Barbara Annis, administrative service officer of the state Department of Budget and Finance and a trustee for the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund.
When Ruth Anne Tomlinson, a Wyoming pediatrician, and her husband, David, an anesthesiologist, shopped around for jobs in Hawaii in 2006, the starting salaries for anesthesiologists were as much as $100,000 less than most places on the mainland. And the costs of living and doing business here were significantly higher.
Lorna Ota, who is in her 70s, is among a growing number of seniors who have become accustomed to using technology to monitor their health and visit the doctor without actually seeing the doctor.