According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, via a couple of visiting officials from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Hawaii ranks first in the nation in longevity and last for nursing home beds. While that sounds a bit ominous- like what are we to do about housing and care for a fragile, aging population that lives longer- there is apparently some good news in that Hawaii is far ahead of the national curve in finding more home-based and community-based solutions to the nursing home situation.
And these solutions help to ease the strain of moving the elderly into nursing care, with its ever-rising costs. An evolution, if not revolution, is taking place with smaller units, eco-friendly care homes, foster care, and changes to medicaid and other insurance systems. The need in Hawaii will only increase as our population ages, housing and land costs remain far above the national norm, and the stress grows on baby boomers and their offspring to care for our elders in an island environment.