Families don’t always agree on the best way to care for their beloved kupuna. But there is an agency that can help.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
Ron Matayoshi and his siblings don’t always agree with each other, including how to take care of mom and they don’t always have the opportunity to talk about it.
“Because in our past, it was one-on-one, two-on-one. And a lot of issues were going and going and coming out and falling off the edges. We weren’t addressing stuff,” Ron told KHON2.
So they had a family conference at the Mediation Center of the Pacific.
“It wasn’t critical stuff, like death and dying. Though we did talk about that. We even talked about transportation, food.”
He said it was also a chance to hear what his mother had to say and wanted.
“The real benefit, I think, of us looking back at these notes and having these discussions now.”
It’s all part of the program called Kupuna Pono, designed to help families talk about issues and create plans for loved ones.
“So the way that program works is our client specialist will talk to each family member, find out what’s important to them and then we’ll create an agenda. We bring everybody together,” said Tracy Wiltgen, Executive Director of the Mediation Center of the Pacific.
Wiltgen said families work with facilitators to discuss wants and needs and find out ways they can work together. The center can also act on big conflicts but acts as an impartial mediator.
They don’t take sides or provide counseling.
“But what mediators do do is listen to the issues, help them talk to each other in a way they haven’t been able to, help them listen to each other to gain a better understanding of where each person is coming from,” Wiltgen said.
Families continue the program as needed. Matayoshi and his family returned four years after their first meeting about mom.
“Things have changed to driving, meal preparation. Again, a lot more focus on finances because now, she was in this stage where she was getting a little bit more needy,” Matayoshi said.
If family members can’t be there in-person, they can also join with the help of technology.
There’s a flat fee of $250 for a three-hour conference. But if kupuna is in a low-income bracket, that fee is waived.
More information can be found on The Mediation Center of the Pacific’s website.