Hawaii families grapple with high costs for long-term senior care

Priced Out of Paradise: High Cost of Long-Term Care
(Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
(Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Professional photographer Anthony Tortoriello is very close to his mother. But because of her dementia, life isn't picture perfect.

"If I start going and taking pictures or have something that comes up, there's no one to cook my mom lunch, breakfast, dinner," he said.

Like so many others in Hawaii, Tortoriello needed to find long-term care for an aging parent. It's expensive.

The costs for private nursing home care in Hawaii exceed the national average by about 40 percent -- at 141,000 a year. It's about $57,000 a year to pay for an aide to come into your home.

"Unless you have long-term care insurance or you qualify for the state Medicaid program, you're going to be paying this out of your own pocket," said AARP Advocacy Director Audrey Suga-Nakagawa.

She recommends families start their search for help with the Aging and Disability Resource Center.

"They will be able to give you some information, help you lay out the options that you may have and do some of the legwork for you so you know exactly what type of service is appropriate for the kind of care that you need," she said.

Cuts to the state's Kupuna Care progam have decreased financial asistance for home care services and adult day care, putting an even greater burden on families to become caregivers.

Tortoriello's mother is on Medicaid. He did his homework to find her the right adult foster care home.

"I got names and went to some and got interviews. I could already tell of course there's going to be better ones and not so good ones," he said. "it's a lot to take on. Even if you know there's help you still feel that responsibility."

For more information on resources for seniors and their families, click here.

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