Service for aging residents living in apartments sought
By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Health Writer
Retired certified financial planner Ralph S. Matsuda worries about the growing number of aging residents of apartments and other multi-unit buildings, people who can be isolated even while living very close to other people.
While some stay in touch with relatives and friends, others can become shut-ins. They may not have a neighbor who stops to chat or notices that the mail and the newspapers are piling up.
Matsuda, 78, lives in a Honolulu condo and wants to help other senior citizens link to services for help with meals, activities, chores and social services so they can remain in their high-rise homes as long as possible.
By 2020, the state Executive Office of Aging estimates that one in four Hawai'i residents will be 60 years or older, and many will need help with daily living.
Matsuda will be among those speaking Saturday at a free conference at the State Capitol titled, "Aging in Place: How to Cope, a Conference for Condos, Co-ops, Townhouses, and Apartment Owners and Managers."
While those who are frail or elderly can run into challenges even in single-family houses, those in high-rises sometimes face other challenges, such as being hidden from those who could help them.
Attorney Jane Sugimura, who serves as president of the Hawai'i Council of Associations of Apartment Owners, thinks that discussing the issue of what she sees as "a silent problem" can help bring creative coping strategies.
She cited a building that had arranged to have a helper service available for a fee of $10 for 15 minutes of help. Residents can call and ask for help bringing in groceries, changing a light bulb or other chores. The service helps people live safely and comfortably in their own homes rather than being forced into nursing homes or other skilled care that is more expensive and not yet needed.
Reach Robbie Dingeman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 535-2429.