The dimensions of health

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai kupuna Violet Aceret, Elethia Okuno, Elizabeth Redongo, Emmaline Wong and Carol Manoi digest the information they got from the county’s health and wellness fair Friday at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Maria Almeida, Kauai long-term care ombudsman, tries out special goggles that simulate the vision distortion experienced by motorists under the influence of alcohol Friday during the county’s health and wellness fair at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Grace Delos Reyes, seated, and Rose Manago, standing right, of the county’s Agency on Elderly Affairs, distribute information on AEA programs Friday during the county’s health and wellness fair at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

LIHUE — More than 15,000 flavors of e-cigarettes are not meant as an aid to quit smoking, said Val Saiki of the Tobacco-Free Kauai coalition Friday.

Instead, the large amount of choices appeals to younger smokers, she said.

“This was very interesting,” said Emmaline Wong, one of the kupuna attending the county’s health and wellness fair.

“It was good they added the police department and the Kauai Fire Department. The police had those glasses that let you see how things are when you had too much to drink. And the vaping? I never knew that much about it. Both are problems we have, and it’s good that we can learn.”

A steady stream of people flowed through the doors of the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club ballroom where at least 60 vendors offered a variety of services like flu shots and free blood-pressure screening, to information and giveaways.

“I was looking for information on cardiopulmonary resuscitation,” said Mary Pigao, an employee of the County Housing Agency. “The Kauai Fire Department is here, but there is no training. We, as county employees — especially the ones that deal with the people — should know how to do CPR. You’ll never know when you need that basic training.”

The theme of the health fair is “Together, We Are Stronger,” and demonstrated by Pigao’s search for basic CPR training.

“We’ve held these fairs before,” said Theresa Koki, the Life’s Choices coordinator.

“In the past we held the fairs as part of recovery efforts from substance abuse. Today, a lot of what is being offered overlaps into the eight dimensions of health, including physical, emotional/mental, social, spiritual, intellectual, occupational, financial and environmental.

“From keiki to kupuna, the fair not only gives people access to dozens of organizations aimed at helping them to improve their lives, it also offers programs that are designed to motivate employees or clients to lead healthier lifestyles and can help to reduce healthcare costs.”

Jordyn Nuivo of Hale Opio said the fair is also a great place to network.

“We have everyone from everywhere here,” Nuivo said. “Some of these people, we never get to see because usually we’re at places where it’s the same-o, same-o. It’s nice to see that we can all get together to tackle the problems that exist.”

Debra Thompson of Friendship House said she gained four new contacts.

“We have four new people who stopped by and offered to speak to our members about services they offer that can potentially help them and the staff,” Thompson said. “This networking is great.”

Maria Almeida is one of the new faces in the field of health and wellness, having started in February as the Kauai long-term-care ombudsman who speaks on behalf of residents of nursing homes, care homes, community care foster family homes, and assisted living residents.

The position is through the state Executive Office on Aging, and on Kauai is contracted through the county’s Agency on Elderly Affairs. Almeida’s tasks include visiting long-term-care facilities on the island and listening to residents’ concerns, and working to rectify the issues.

“These are free services,” Almeida said.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or


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