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Capitol Rally to Celebrate Hawaii’s Elderly and their Caregivers

Elder advocates will gather in force at the State Capitol in Honolulu on March 29 to celebrate family caregivers and protect the Kupuna Care program that supports Hawaii’s elderly.

AARP Hawaii and Lanakila Meals on Wheels are organizing the event to encourage legislators to fund Kupuna Care and educate the community about the problem of senior hunger. The gathering is part of Family Caregiver Awareness Day and will include a resource fair featuring exhibits by more than 50 organizations that provide services to older adults and those who care for them.

The purpose of the event is to:

Support Funding for Kupuna Care – a state funded program administered by the counties, which contracts with organizations to provide home-delivered meals, personal care, help with chores, and transportation assistance. These services form an important safety net that provides basic care to the elderly and prevents them from being forced into more costly institutional care settings.

Raise Awareness about Hunger – Lanakila Meals on Wheels is a Kupuna Care provider that delivers 250,000 meals each year to seniors in need. The base budget for Kupuna Care services has remained flat for nine years while the number of seniors in Hawaii has kept growing. Meanwhile, more than 11 percent of Hawaii residents age 60+ are threatened by hunger.

Celebrate Caregiver Awareness Day – Provides legislators, family caregivers and the public with opportunities to learn more about the issues involved in meeting caregiver responsibilities. Participants are invited to visit the booths of more than 50 organizations that provide services to older adults and caregivers.

Please join us in honoring our elders and celebrating our caregivers by taking part in the March for Meals and Kupuna Care Rally. Participants are encouraged to register online so we can anticipate the approximate size of the gathering.

The schedule of activities is as follows:

10:30 – 10:50 a.m. – March for Meals (Capitol Rotunda)
10:50 – 11:30 a.m. – Kupuna Care Rally (Capitol Rotunda)
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Resource Fair on 2nd Floor of the Capitol

One of AARP Hawaii’s legislative priorities this year is maintaining the 2010 funding level for Kupuna Care and home delivered meals by making the emergency appropriation of $3.5 million from the 2010 Rainy Day Special Fund part of the base budget for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

Kupuna Care helps address the need for affordable home and community based long-term care services in Hawaii that help people remain at home for as long as possible as they age. Services include adult day care, personal care, help with chores, home-delivered meals, and transportation assistance. Kupuna Care is not a Medicaid program. It provides an important safety net that helps moderate-income adults avoid slipping into poverty and being forced into more costly institutional care settings.

Unable to attend? Please call AARP Hawaii at 808-545-6006 to learn how you can support family caregivers and their loved ones in other ways.

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