Kupuna Caregiver: Doctor adapts to the new normal all while taking care of father with Alzheimer’s

Kupuna Caregiver

HONOLULU (KHON2) — From the moment we met Doctor Pokii Balaz last year in 2019 as a provider and caregiver to her father, and as a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter, she continues to do so in the new normal.

“Everything is virtual now,” said Kupuna Caregiver Dr. Pokii Balaz. “I feel like I do more screen time than anything because webinars are here, we’re doing pau hanas, meeting conferences, all virtual but it really helps me to have more flexibility to talk with my patients.”

Working from home has its benefits, like more family time with Dad, who’s in the end stages of Alzheimer’s.

“On Saturdays, we do a lot of activities, like the pool outside,” said Dr. Balaz. “The pool I bought has fish and he was a diver his whole life so when we take him outside. Now when he sees it, he just smiles! There’s the other side to it because he’s progressing with the disease. He’s sleeping a lot more. We are still enjoying his smile. He’s doing that with his eyebrows like that. So we are having a great time, that extra time, especially my mother.”

“She’s enjoying time with my dad. She’s catching up on old projects, she’s cooking all these things that I haven’t seen mom cook in a while.”

“I think there are some really good things that have come out of it for her. She’s still finding a way to keep in touch with those closest to her”

And Dr. Balaz understands that everyone is sacrificing for the greater good.

“We will get through this,” said Dr. Balaz. “We will get through this together.”

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