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Kupuna Education Center at Kapi‘olani Community College Location / Contact:
Kapi‘olani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone: (808) 734-9108

Cullen Hayashida, Ph.D
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About Kupuna Education Center
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The Tsunami of Aging
While America is aging, most of us may not be aware that the speed of aging in Hawaii is much faster than the national average. Hawaii’s older adults (60+) are representing an ever increasing proportion of the total population. Older adults have grown from representing 12% of the population in 1980 to 18% in 2004 and are expected to exceed 25% by 2030. This change will affect businesses, education, health care, government services and recreation services. By way of comparison, Hawaii’s 60+ population grew twice as fast as the national average over the past decade. Only 3 or 4 states have elderly growth rates that exceed Hawaii’s. By 2011, Hawaii’s post-war Baby Boomer population will begin retiring in droves. Are we prepared for the demands on services, for more workers and more training? At the same time, the aging revolution also suggests opportunities to tap what has been called “America’s fastest growing natural resource”. In what ways can community colleges be an effective player in an aging society?

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The Role of a Community College in an Aging Society
In August 2003, Kapiolani Community College convened a meeting of the 7 community colleges and their respective community agencies to review the present and future role of the community colleges for the state (see the link to:2003 Conference Report). Given that Kapiolani Community College (KCC) has been viewed as the flagship for nursing and allied health care education among the 7 UH community colleges, the 2006 State Legislature provided on-going funding to support a new role for KCC to address the challenges from the Tsunami of Aging.

To that end, the mission of KCC's Kupuna Education Center will be:

To promote eldercare in Hawaii by promoting its workforce needs by
  • Creating a quality and committed professional and paraprofessional workforce
  • Training family caregivers
  • Promoting active aging and
  • Coordinating with the other UH Community Colleges
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What is the Meaning of "Kupuna"?
Throughout Hawai‘i, this Hawaiian word is widely understood to mean elder, grandparent or an older person. What is less recognized is the fact that the word has at least three distinct but related meanings. First, a kupuna is an honored elder who has acquired enough life experience to become a family and community leader. The term has been stated to be the embodiment of natural respect… a practitioner of aloha (love), pono (righteousness), malama (caring), and spirituality.1 In ancient times, they were teachers and caretakers of grandchildren and that bond was especially strong. Even today, the kupuna is expected to speak out and help make decisions on important issues for both the family and the community.

Kupuna also means ancestor and includes the many generations before us who by their spiritual wisdom and presence guide us through personal, familial or community difficulties. We look to our kupuna to help us find and fulfill our pathways through life. Included among our kupuna are the family guardian spirits or ‘aumakua who take physical shape, in the form of a honu (turtle) or a pueo (owl) and come to visit, warn and communicate with us.

Finally, kupuna means the source, the starting point or the process of growth. This meaning is related to the notion that that our direct forebearers and those of the distant past remain living treasures who continue to help us grow in numerous ways. They are a source of experience, knowledge, guidance, strength and inspiration to the next generations.

These various meanings of kupuna show how rich a resource they are and why they should be tapped to contribute to the betterment of Hawai‘i, for they truly represent one of Hawai‘i’s fastest growing natural resources.2

Prepared by Kahikahealani Wight, Professor of Hawaiian Language and Literature, Kapi’olani Community College

1 Ed Lindsey
2 Marc Freedman, Primetime: How the Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America. Public Affairs (1999:16-17)

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Cullen Hayashida, Ph.D. -- Long-term Care Coordinator
Dr. Hayashida is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i (Sociology) and the University of Washington (Ph.D. -- Sociology). He has also been trained at New York University, University of West Indies (Trinidad), and Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan). Dr. Hayashida has taught at the University of Washington (Seattle), Willamette University (Salem, Oregon), Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio) and most recently at the University of Hawai‘i as a graduate affiliate faculty with Sociology, School of Nursing and the Center on Aging. Dr. Hayashida is an active member of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and its Community college Committee as its Co-chair.

While trained as an academic, he has had the opportunity to help build and deliver long-term care services in Hawai‘i. Over the past 30+ years, he was involved with long-term care service development in the hospital, nursing home, case management and home health care settings and has provided technical assistance to other organizations locally, nationally and in East Asia. His experience as an educator, and as a long-term care service developer have all been directed towards finding more cost effective solutions to long-term caring.

Toni Hathaway, LSW, ACSW -- Education Coordinator
Ms. Hathaway is a social worker with a specialty in gerontology. She is a graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota (B. A. in Psychology) and the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (Master of Social Work). She is a Licensed Social Worker in the State of Hawaii and has an Academy of Certified Social Workers credential with the National Association of Social Workers.

Ms. Hathaway has worked with elders and their family caregivers for over 30 years in various positions: program supervisor, caregiver support group leader, outpatient clinic team member, geriatric specialist in mental health, and social work student services. She was with the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa School of Social Work for 8 years as the Student Services Coordinator. Most recently she was with Child and Family Service's Honolulu Gerontology Program as the program supervisor for Caregiver Respite and ‘Ohana Care (a case management service for elders and their family caregivers). She grew up in Honolulu, was a family caregiver for numerous years and is actively involved in Hawai‘i's Aging Services Network.

Emelyn Kim, MS, NCC - Project Coordinator
Emelyn Kim is the Project Coordinator for the Kupuna Adult Care Home Project. The Project is developing training material to help improve the quality of care of small residential facilities as they admit increasingly frail residents. Eme has over fifteen years of experience in case management and elder care education. She has a Masters degree in Gerontological Counseling from San Francisco State University and is a National Certified Counselor (NCC). In 2007, she started the Elder Care Counseling and Education to assist family caregivers and professionals cope with difficult behaviors and manage complicated situations. She has developed hands-on workshops for family and professional caregivers of older adults to increase their knowledge about aging issues and improve their communication.

ref no:10460

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