Kupuna Caregiver: Dr. Balaz discovers silver lining during crisis

Kupuna Caregiver

HONOLULU (KHON2) — “The best advice right now is to try to find a positive in these moments,” says Dr. Poki’i Balaz.

From the moment we met Dr. Balaz last year, she has been a ray of sunshine. As a provider, caregiver to her father and board member of the Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter, she continues to do so in the new normal.      

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

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

“On Saturdays we do a lot of activities, like the pool outside. Mayor Kawakami posts a lot of videos like tie dye eggs and butter beer. You know the pool I bought, it has fishes and my dad was a diver his whole life so when we take him outside now, he just smiles! There’s the other side to it because he’s progressing with the disease. He’s sleeping a lot more. But we are still enjoying his smile, he still does that things with his eyebrows. We are having a great time, that extra time, especially with my mother,” says Dr. Balaz.

“Mom is 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. And a lot of times, I catch my mom cracking up and talking to someone. So I think there’s 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,” says Dr. Balaz.

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

“We will get through this, we will get through this together and we will come out of this stronger than ever,” says Dr. Balaz.

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