Caregiver walk to honor Maui family and seniors

Maui Adult Day Care Centers’ 2013 Family Caregiver Walk will be held Saturday beginning at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center at 7 a.m.

The 3.5-mile course will wind through Keopuolani Park and end at the shopping center. Elderly and physically challenged participants may choose to do the miniwalk through the mall instead. The event will include refreshments, prize drawings, a health fair and entertainment by Ahumanu, Friends Forever and Danny Couch.

Since 1974, Maui Adult Day Care Centers has provided day care services for adults in a safe family environment while lending support to the clients’ families and caregivers. The private nonprofit organization operates five centers on Maui, offering a social daytime therapeutic program for individuals who are frail or elderly, including those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other related forms of dementia, and adults who are physically and mentally challenged.

Each year, a client family is selected to represent the people whose lives have been enriched by their involvement with Maui Adult Day Care Centers. Stephen and Phyllis Ross are the Special Family for the 2013 walk.

Stephen Ross, a retired Maui County firefighter, suffered a debilitating stroke and requires 24-hour care and supervision. Phyllis Ross was forced to retire from her job at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel in order to care for her husband. Stephen attends the Lahaina facility six days a week, and Phyllis is a member and facilitator of the Lahaina caregiver support group.

“I hope people will come out and walk with us,” said Phyllis, “even if they don’t have a connection with Maui Adult Day Care Centers. Who knows, someday they may need these services.”

The annual event also recognizes centenarian clients as royalty. This year, 102-year-old Louise Lucas will reign as queen. Satoshi Akiyama, 97, and Arthur Nakamura, 96, will be honored as kings.

Maui Adult Day Care Centers are funded by the County of Maui, Maui United Way, Hawaii Community Foundation, Maui Hotel Association, private fees and donations. The annual Caregiver Walk is Maui Adult Day Care Centers’ largest fundraiser of the year, attracting hundreds of walkers who have raised tens of thousands of dollars in pledges.

Besides the regular weekday programs at the Lahaina, Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei and Hana centers, Maui Adult Day Care Centers offers a Friday Night Sundowning Program and Saturday Respite Program.

Family support services include six caregiver support groups across the island, quarterly caregiver workshops that are open to the public, and ongoing counseling and education.

To learn more about Maui Adult Day Care Centers’ programs or the Family Caregiver Walk, call the Kahului facility at 871-5804.