ESTATE PLANNING INSIGHTS By Ethan R. Okura

There is a term in Japanese culture — oyakökö — which means to love and care for your parents, although it is really a sentiment that is embraced universally, regardless of race. At our office, we oftentimes have clients who raised their families here in Hawai‘i and then sent their children off to the Mainland or elsewhere in the world to pursue their education or career or military service, or to raise their own families. Although the children try to get back to Hawai‘i nei as often as possible, or at least once or twice a year, life is hectic, and that doesn’t always happen. Even for those who do manage to come back once a year, it’s generally not often enough to really make sure their parents are safe, healthy and happy once their parents start aging.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging, 20 percent of men and 36 percent of women over age 65 live alone. These numbers increase dramatically with age, as almost half of all women over age 75 live alone. Our elderly parents face several risks that become more severe when they live alone. They include:

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