Working Caregivers Can Get Some Relief Through New State Program

Kevin Y. Kawamoto
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Are you taking care of a kupuna (older adult) while also working at least 30 hours a week? If so, you and the person you are caring for may be eligible for a new program that was established by the Hawai‘i state Legislature during the 2017 session. The bill, which Gov. David Ige signed into law in July 2017, provides up to $70 a day to pay for various home- and community-based services that can help an older adult “age-in-place” at home while the caregiver of the older adult continues to work.

Called the Kupuna Caregivers Program, it can help pay for services such as adult day care, chore services, home-delivered meals, homemaker services, personal care, respite or transportation, according to a press release issued last December by the state’s Executive Office on Aging.

“The landmark initiative is a first step in recognizing the significant contributions and sacrifices of Hawai‘i’s working caregivers as they celebrate and honor their kupuna,” Ige said in the release. “Support for our caregivers is critically needed, as Hawai‘i’s population is aging more rapidly than the national average and our seniors live longer than seniors in any other state.”

In order to participate in the Kupuna Caregivers Program, caregivers must be employed at least 30 hours a week and providing direct care to an older adult 60 years or older. The older adult cannot be covered by “any comparable government or private home and community-based care service, except Kupuna Care services,” according to the Executive Office on Aging. Kupuna Care services help qualified older adults in Hawai‘i who are not eligible for Medicaid and are aging in place at home.

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Kevin Kawamoto is a longtime contributor to The Hawai‘i Herald.

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