Hawaii Legislates Assistance for Family Caregivers

State offers voucher to help families pay for support services for elders, a growing segment of the population.

In a development that could mean good news for providers and their patients in the aloha state, Hawaii has passed the Kapuna Caregiver Assistance Act, which was sponsored by State Representative Gregg Takayama. 

The program, named after the Hawaiian word for elder or grandparent, provides a voucher of up to $70 per day for elder care support services, giving a break to family caregivers of HME patients.

According to Caring Across Generations, a national campaign to improve care for elders and people with disabilities, there are currently “43.5 million family caregivers in the United States, providing $470 billion dollars worth of care annually.” Many of these caregivers are women who sacrifice their careers through decreased work hours, declined promotions, leaves of absence or early retirement, losing an average of $324,044 in wages and benefits over her lifetime.

“This act will help Hawai’i’s family caregivers balance their responsibilities to both their employers and their kupuna,” said Senator Roz Baker, in a prepared statement. “Nobody should lose their job or their own retirement benefits in order to take care of their aging loved ones.”

This issue of particularly relevant to Hawai’i, where the senior population is growing four times faster than the total population. By 2030, 30 percent of the population may be seniors in the state, which also has the nation’s highest life expectancy at 82 years.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a freelance writer covering a variety of industries. She can be reached via email at leilameyer@gmail.com or on the web at leilameyer.com.



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