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Kūpuna Visiting A "community Resources" Table Manned By Pear Suite Staff.

Kūpuna Support Navigator Program: Hoʻomaikaʻi to our Newest Grantees!

Through support from the office of Representative Ed Case under the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022, the Kūpuna Collective (Collective) is excited to implement a Kūpuna Support Navigator Program to strengthen the capacity of the aging network and bridge home and community-based service silos. The program includes:

  1. A workforce training series that provides regular opportunities for continuing education, learning, and upskilling of community health workers and other aging network stakeholders;
  2. Coordinated care models that integrate home and community-based services by leveraging Kūpuna Support Navigators (“Navigators”); and
  3. An impact evaluation to refine the training program, sustain service delivery models, and determine opportunities for scalable workforce development.

As part of the Kūpuna Support Navigator Program, the Collective is pleased to announce a partnership with four grantees who will recruit, train, and activate Kūpuna Support Navigators across the state:

Grantees have extensive experience serving kūpuna and meeting their essential needs, often going beyond their typical services and acting as a safety net for those who need it most. These organizations are not just service providers; they are a lighthouse for kūpuna (older adults) and caregivers searching for help, acting as a trusted source of kōkua, compassion, and care. We are grateful to partner with such incredible organizations and are excited to harness the unique skills and expertise of Kūpuna Support Navigators, ensuring a tailored and culturally sensitive approach to serving older adults, and facilitating a smoother journey for kūpuna towards their best health.

What are Kūpuna Support Navigators?

Kūpuna Support Navigators are assets to organizations and the communities they serve by understanding the needs of kūpuna and families, activating appropriate services offered by Hawaiʻi’s aging network, and coordinating appropriate services to support aging in place. Navigators are Community Health Workers* (CHWs) specializing in serving kūpuna and meeting their unique needs. Navigators act as liaisons between partners, service providers, and kūpuna and caregivers in their community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. Activities may include, but are not limited to: access to clinical support services, chronic disease management, digital literacy, food access support, lifestyle interventions, and more.

*CHWs are nationally recognized frontline public health workers who are trusted members and/or have a uniquely close understanding of the community served.

Why are Kūpuna Support Navigators important?

Kūpuna are living treasures of our community, keepers of cultural wisdom, and valued members of our society, yet many kūpuna continue to be un- or underserved by systems designed to help us thrive as we age. Home and community-based service silos abound and put a heavy strain on kūpuna and caregivers to piece together needed services to successfully age-in-place in our own homes and communities. Current resources and capacity across Hawaiʻi’s aging network are not limitless; capacity must grow to match the growing needs of kūpuna as we live longer lives. Additionally, intersecting and compounding social drivers of health inequity are readily apparent among kūpuna who have experienced a lifetime of accumulating systemic disadvantage. Among kūpuna, 80% have at least one chronic disease and 77% have two chronic diseases or more. Additionally, 43% of kūpuna struggle to make ends meet, 37% have a disability, 57,000 live alone, and 35,000 have limited or no internet access, contributing to health inequities that are only further exacerbated by gaps in our capacity to support aging in place. Solutions to increase the capacity of our aging network and ensure navigation of home and community-based services are as seamless as possible are needed for both current and future kūpuna to maximize health, independence, and engagement within our communities.

About the Kūpuna Collective

HIPHI and the University of Hawaiʻi Center on Aging co-coordinate the Kūpuna Collective, a collaborative network of partners across the state that elevates critical issues, mobilizes community assets, and drives innovative solutions that support and empower kūpuna. Together, members of the Collective work toward a vision of all generations in Hawaiʻi thriving in a vibrant, age-empowered society. To learn more about the Collective or to join as a member, visit hiphi.org/kupuna.

Lindsey Ilagan, MS

Lindsey Ilagan, MS

Program Manager: Kūpuna Initiatives
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