Lending a hand to Maui’s caregivers

Senior Companion Program specialist Fran Takamiyashiro shares information about the agency during Maui County Office on Aging’s 16th annual Family Caregivers Conference at the Grand Wailea on Thursday. The well-attended conference featured keynote addresses by Sandy Markwood, CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging in Washington, D.C., and AARP Executive Council member Patricia Bemis. Topics included “Caregivers: You are Not in This Alone,” “Understanding Advanced Directives and POLST” and “Handling Difficult Conversations.” Takamiyashiro said the Senior Companion Program provides support to seniors to help them remain independent as long as possible. Healthy seniors are paired with seniors who are more frail. By stopping by to socialize, read or do other things like assisting with shopping or driving to doctor’s appointments, senior companions improve their new friends’ quality of life and extend their independence. The 16th annual conference was sponsored by the County of Maui, Aging and Disability Resource Center Hawaii and AARP Hawaii.

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo