Ken Takeya submitted testimony to the Hawaii Committee on Judiciary and Labor to support passage of the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, SB2264 SD1. Part of his testimony follows. Ultimately, the state legislature decided to create a task force to determine how best to implement the CARE Act in support of the state’s 247,000 family caregivers — including Ken.
“Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony in strong support of SB 2264 SD1 Relating to Caregiving.
“My name is Ken Takeya, and I am a family caregiver for my wife who has dementia. We live in Enchanted Lakes, Kailua. The passage of this bill is vital, as it addresses the many frustrations I have encountered caring for my wife.
“Being a dementia patient, my wife can’t articulate how she feels. After three visits to the emergency room and a three-to-four-day stay in the hospital for each visit, I finally learned how to identify that she was experiencing the same problem with different symptoms. This could have been avoided if I was told what to look out for to begin with.
“While in the hospital, I have to make sure all their questions are directed to me because my wife does not understand what she is being told or asked. She just smiles and nods her head. During my wife’s hospital visits, I have tried to be a patient advocate for other patients by telling their loved ones what questions to ask the medical staff and where to get resource information for their particular situation. The hospital staff is so busy, their main focus is to get the patient well enough so they can be discharged.
“I have been taking care of my wife for the last 7 ½ years. Of this time, the last five years have been as a full-time caregiver. The first 2 ½ years, I had a caregiving service come in to take care of her — but at $4000 per month, it got too expensive, so I retired to take care of her.
“I have some help from my sons and my wife’s family so I can get some respite care for what is a 24/7 job. I get up every night every two to three hours to check on my wife or take her to the bathroom. I do not wish this “job” on anybody, but everyone should experience it for a week and they will understand how demanding the ‘job’ is.
“My main goal is to ensure the quality of life for my wife is the best care she can get, but it is taking a toll on my family and myself.”