Mayor receives Kaunoa grant, outlines expanded county services for seniors

On behalf of the County of Maui, Mayor Alan Arakawa and Director of Housing and Human Concerns Jo-Ann Ridao received a $20,000 donation from Alexander and Baldwin for Kaunoa Senior Services’ Nutrition Program this month.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. General Manager Rick Volner and A&B Senior Vice President Meredith Ching presented the check at the Kaunoa Senior Center during Kumiai Day – Mixed Plate, a cultural celebration of early plantation life. The event was co-sponsored by HC&S, a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin Inc.

The $20,000 grant will help Kaunoa’s Congregate Nutrition Program provide nutritious meals for seniors at several satellite centers located throughout the county, as well as support special activities and events for people age 60 and older.

Arakawa also announced more county service expansions for seniors last month during his remarks at the 41st Aloha Kupuna Luncheon. They include:

* The Community-Based Care Transitions Program, which provides fee-for-service Medicare patients who are being discharged from the hospital to the community the opportunity to access services and support to return home safely and prevent re-hospitalization. Maui County Office on Aging provides a registered nurse for 30 days to equip individuals and their caregivers with skills and knowledge to help them remain safely at home.

* The County EnhanceFitness Program uses certified trainers to assist older individuals with varying fitness capabilities in an “evidence-based” exercise program. The program is being piloted at several sites on Maui.

* Kupuna Care is being expanded to allow for more participant-directed management of services to improve the quality of individual self-care.

The last census showed that Maui County had 32,000 people ages 60 and older, a number expected to grow to 54,000 (or a third of the island’s population) by the year 2020, according to a news release.

The event, held in the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa Ballroom, was attended by several hundred senior citizens as well as Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Speaker of the House Joe Souki, Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa and Council Member Mike Victorino.

For more information, call county Communications Director Rod Antone at 270-7855.