Geriatric Care and Medicine
"Haven for the Aged - 75 Years of Kuakini Home"
Members of the Imperial Family of Japan have met with Kuakini Home residents several times, beginning with the first visit of Prince and Princess Hitachi in 1968.
Also, the residents have enjoyed performances by local amateur singing and dancing groups as well as visits from well-known entertainers from Japan. Civic organizations, local businesses, churches, students, schools and individuals have generously donated goods and services to Kuakini Home over the years.
When Kuakini Health System President and CEO Gary Kajiwara joined Kuakini in 1976, one of his first administrative responsibilities was overseeing Kuakini Home.
“Kuakini Home pretty much ran on its own. They had their own kitchen, they did their own cooking and had their own supplies,” said Kajiwara. “They did a good job of getting donations from the community like fresh fruits and vegetables from people’s yards and commercial growers would donate their products. Kuakini Home took whatever came in and then their cooks would make the best of what they got for free.”
In 1977, Kajiwara was involved in the integration of female residents into Kuakini Home when a separate four-bed women’s unit was created. Kuakini’s Board of Directors and Administrators worked with the Japanese Women’s Society of Honolulu (JWS) to develop a larger women’s program through the relocation and expansion of Kuakini Home. JWS members raised over $300,000 to help Kuakini construct new facilities for Kuakini Home in the Hale Pulama Mau building.
On April 10, 1980, Kuakini Home moved from its original one-story wooden structures to the newly constructed Hale Pulama Mau building. In addition to the private and semi-private rooms for residents, the new facilities provided a solarium, dining room, TV room, library, and a spacious auditorium for special events.
After the move, one Kuakini Home resident compared the new facilities to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
Today, Kuakini Home has 34 licensed beds and serves men and women of all ethnic backgrounds who require residential care home services. Currently, there are 24 female residents and only 6 male residents.
“It was predicted that there would be more women, but who would have known that Kuakini Home would eventually have mostly women residents,” said Kajiwara. “I think it’s amazing how well Kuakini Home has done over the years. On the financial side we just want it to break even, but it never does. We recognize there will always be more expense than income. Kuakini Home is part of our legacy, and we’re committed to keep it going as long as it continues to meet the needs of the community.”
A photo exhibit commemorating Kuakini Home’s 75th Anniversary is on display in the Hale Kuakini Ground Floor Showcase at Kuakini Medical Center until July 20.
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