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HIPHI Table At Hilo Kūpuna Expo. Chart Paper That Asks, "How Do You Stay Active?"

Information, Conversation, and Connection at the Hilo Kūpuna Expo

There was a buzz about the venue as soon as I walked in. A line of kūpuna waited patiently for the vendors to get set up and ready to receive them. I could tell it was going to be a worthwhile day. The Kūpuna Expo got underway at 9 AM with people filing in. They completed a registration form and received an insulated cooler bag to gather the beneficial information provided by a variety of local services. Held at Aunty Sally’s Lūʻau Hale in Hilo and hosted by AlohaCare and the Hawai‘i Island Community Health Center, the Expo intended to connect kūpuna with local resources for banking, health care, insurance, legal aid, mortgage assistance, and much more. And WOW, how they delivered! Service providers, such as the Hawai‘i State Department of Health, AARP, the Affordable Connectivity Program, HFS Federal Credit Union, the Alzheimer’s Association, and Hawai‘i Public Health Institute provided useful resources, created meaningful connections, and had robust conversations about topics kūpuna are most interested in. In addition to the various vendors present, the day featured fun and entertaining performances by vocal groups, hula practitioners, and country and western line dancing. The event was punctuated by giveaways provided by the providers in attendance.

The kūpuna were encouraged to speak to the representatives at each table using a “bingo” card to be stamped at each location. Some of the 150+ in attendance referred to it as Halloween or early Christmas for kūpuna, since they received so much valuable information and great swag throughout the event. The HIPHI table received accolades from attendees and other vendors, stating that our information seemed to be the most helpful and our giveaways were unsurpassed! At the HIPHI table, the kūpuna were engaged in meaningful conversations regarding healthy eating and increasing water intake. I asked them to share the types of physical activity they take part in. Of the 20 participants that provided insight, many stay active through walking, swimming, dancing, and doing yoga. Some mentioned practicing hula and tai chi, while others participated in structured sports like golf and softball. And yet others, aware of their limitations, stated they stay mobile through chair exercises and by simply breathing. Those I spoke with were inspirational and enthusiastically encouraged others to stay active. Most people recognize the role that healthy eating and active living play in their ability to enjoy life and thrive as they age. For me, it was refreshing to see so many people living a healthy lifestyle. There was a wonderful exchange of knowledge. I felt honored to hear their stories.  

Overall, the Kūpuna Expo was a much-needed and appreciated time to gather valuable resources, engage with friends, make new acquaintances, share stories and laughs, and become aware of the essential services available in the Hilo area. Many kūpuna mentioned that this was one of the few avenues they had to find out what was going on, with many not associated with social media or other opportunities for information dissemination. In the future, they hope for more events like this to stay informed about the topics that will enable them to continue living life to the fullest. I wholeheartedly agree. I had a wonderful time providing information and received a wealth of valuable wisdom. The day was about sharing our knowledge for the betterment of all. We can learn so much from our kūpuna and those interactions can assist the younger generations in their quest for healthy living. It is in these moments of mutual sharing that we all benefit, that we all find a way to thrive! 

Patti Hatzistavrakis

Patti Hatzistavrakis

East Hawai‘i Health Eating + Active Living Initiative Coalition Coordinator
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