Older Americans Month Fair held

LIHUE — Linda Tani of the band Limited Edition waited patiently as the line moved through the senior identification card station during Friday’s kupuna resource fair at the Kukui Grove Center food court.

“I just had my birthday, which makes me eligible for the senior ID,” Tani said. “I’m getting mine so I can get some of the benefits of having a senior ID.”

During the Older Americans Month Fair, the senior ID entitled bearers to special pricing on meals at participating center restaurants.

The county Agency on Elderly Affairs hosted the day-long resource fair as part of its celebration of May being Older Americans Month. Many of the kupuna were thrilled by a visit from Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.

Kauai has about 17,400 kupuna age 60 years and older.

“In 2020, we are projected to have more than 50 percent of our population 60 years and older,” said Marilyn Okamoto, county Department of Parks and Recreation senior activities coordinator. “That’s in just three years. I don’t know what the projected population is going to be, but we’re going to have more kupuna than keiki. What are we going to do to take care of them?”

The Agency on Elderly Affairs recognizes the redefinition of “to age,” and has committed to support na kupuna as they Age Out Loud, this year’s Older Americans Month theme, and take charge of their health, explore new opportunities and activities and focus on independence, Carvalho said.

“Older Americans are taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence and advocating for themselves and others,” said Kealoha Takahashi, Kauai executive on aging. “They expect to continue to live their lives to the fullest, and they are insisting on changes that make that possible.”

The fair was highlighted by Rachel Bachran of the state Department of Health Kauai District Health Office, who spoke of the rising interest and growth of pickleball, a sport she and Okamoto participate in. Bachran used it to demonstrate her point of falls prevention.

“We should have had a court set up here,” Bachran said. “We could do it, and people could have hands-on experience playing the game.”

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