Supporting family caregivers in West Hawaii since 1996
It takes a whole community to care for our caregivers.
Meet the HCCN BOARD OF DIRECTORS, 2023
Judy Bell, BA, Treasurer; Founding Member of HCCN. Former family caregiver; retired from the health care field after 45 years. She has been actively involved in a number of community and senior volunteer organizations, e.g. Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) and State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Judy is currently a Powerful Tools for Caregivers class leader and Master Trainer, and the North Kona representative to the Hawaii County Committee on Aging. Click Here to read Judith's story.
Katherine Buckovetz, M.S.,EdD; Director. Former family caregiver, retired director of governmental social services, Medicaid, food stamps, housing, welfare, immigration, counseling, aging and economic development programs, school psychologist, national consultant. National Employment Counseling President and National Counselor of the Year, AAUW HI Public Policy Secretary, Susan B. Anthony Award, volunteer in various West Hawaii programs. Kathy grew up on O'ahu and spent school vacations on the Big Island.
Roxanne Cedor, DPT; Director. Former family caregiver for her father, who passed away due to congestive heart failure, lung cancer and brain cancer. Doctor of Physical Therapy with 25 years of experience in inpatient and acute care, ICU, rehab and home health settings. Owner of a private practice mobile physical therapy company serving West Hawaii.
Joann D'Addio, M.Ed.; Director. Former family caregiver for Mom; retired after 34 years from Chicago Public Schools as a high school teacher of students with learning disabilities as well as counselor to the general student population. Former volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter Kona, and currently facilitating the HCCN caregiver support group.
Karen Klemme, RN; Director. Former family caregiver to parents; retired RN after 40+ year career in rehabilitation; case management and nurse life care planning. Karen opened the Kona Adult Day Center in 1988 and has been a resident of Kona since 1986. She facilitates the Kona Brain Injury Support Group meetings (since 1994) and volunteers with Hospice of Kona's Memory Lane Thrift Store.
Heloise Lochman, BA; President. Former family caregiver; retired kite maker, musician. Has been a volunteer reading tutor with Ignite Literacy Program at Holualoa School and Reef Teach volunteer.
Eileen Mena; Vice President. Former family caregiver to husband and mother; retired in 2006 from Department of Justice Office of the U. S. Attorney. Has volunteered with Kona Elk's Lodge in the Drug Awareness Program, and AARP on the Big Island.
Dr. Karen von Kaenel, Director. Karen is a former professor of nursing, developer of a nationally recognized Health and BioScience Academy and a certified Master Teacher. As a developmental psychologist, Karen brings her nursing expertise to the areas of family behaviors and gerontology.
The Board of Directors is responsible for spearheading the organization’s work; exploring opportunities to serve caregivers, such as sponsoring Powerful Tools for Caregivers classes; and assessing community resources. We keep records of activities and resources. Officers and directors serve the Board on a voluntary basis. Board members are directly involved in project planning, implementation and evaluation. We form subcommittees from time to time, drawn from HCCN volunteer membership, to fulfill the aims of a particular project or program, such as our periodic conference for family caregivers.
SPOTLIGHT ON JUDY BELL
Here's a profile of our board member, current treasurer and past president, who is a founding member of HCCN.
Kailua Kona resident Judy Bell was 48 years old in 1993 when she became a family caregiver to her mom, who had de1nentia. "Mom was living in a personal care home in Pennsylvania near n1y sister. They were expecting a harsh winter there. My sister asked if I would take mom for six months," Judy, now 75, recalls. "It definitely was a role reversal - I became the mother, she was the child. And then she'd suddenly snap back to being my mom and I was the rebellious child again."
Though she knew in advance that she'd be a caregiver, it didn't give Judy much advantage in knowing what to expect or to how to prepare for the unknown. "Some things you just have to learn by doing," she reflects. Now that she's on the other side of caregiving, Judy strongly urges family caregivers to:
"My husband Greg and I had 1noved to Kona just a couple years before mom ca1ne. We were building our house and didn't know anybody here," Judy recalls. She schmoozed the carpenter contractor who put her in touch with a friend caregiving his dad who also
had Alzheimer's. That led to contacting Services for Seniors, an islandwide social services agency, which provided a public health nurse case manager to establish a physician relationship as well as ho1ne health care.
Judy with her mom, Sarah, and sister Terry.
"Mom was taking an arm-length list of medications and they were affecting her mood, sleep pattern and eating habits. The nurse consulted the doctor's physician desk reference (PDR) and found that some of the pills were ineffective when taken with others at the same time. She helped me group them correctly which I then put into a segmented pill box for morning, noon and evening distribution. I noticed a big difference in her overall behavior after that," Judy said. She recommends having a full month's supply of medications on hand, organizing them bi-weekly.
While caregiving, Judy attended a free six-week course for family caregivers offered by the Hawaii County Office on Aging. Her husband, Greg, kept an eye on mom while she was gone. At one of the classes, a nonprofit that helped seniors referred Judy to a respite care worker, who would spell her for two hours twice a week so she could run errands or take a break. "I felt refreshed and renewed after having time for myself, ready for the next challenge."
Judy was a caregiver for more than a year. After moving back to Pennsylvania, her ,nother broke her hip, developed pneumonia and died less than a year later. "I'm grateful for the time I had caring for her."
The experience led Judy in 1995 to become a founding board member of this nonprofit, Hawaii Community Caregiver Network (HCCN), a grassroots all-volunteer organization in West Hawaii that offers fan1ily caregivers support through infor1nation, education and networking. HCCN sponsors a conference for family caregivers every 18 months; publishes a local resource guide; and has a network of trained volunteers who co-lead free classes on a national self-care program, Powerful Tools For Caregivers (PTC).
"Caregiving is stressful, isolating and lonely work. PTC classes teach family caregivers the tools to learn how to take care of themselves first, so they can be better caregivers and avoid burnout," said Judy. Among the topics covered are ways to manage stress, enlisting family 1nembers to share care, techniques to co1nmunicate with family, care receivers and medical professionals, and developing action plans.
Since 2014, nearly 200 fan1ily caregivers have participated in PTC classes in Hilo, Wain1ea and West Hawaii, including 4 who had completed half of the classes before they were cancelled by the COVID-19 outbreak.
"I felt like I was abandoning them," Judy said, adding that two participants are caring for spouses with Alzheimer's. "There's a greater emotional toll of caregiving a loved one who isn't fully present." Nonetheless, Judy offers a bright note from her own experience. "I could never have a kitten when I was growing up because mom hated cats. Well, she forgot all about that when she moved in with me. Because Shadow, my gray long-haired fluffy cat would walk all over her, swishing his tail in front of her face and all she'd say was, what a nice cat!"
You can find the HCCN resource guide, which focuses on local resources for West Hawaii family caregivers, on the "Resources" tab above. Contact us, and we'll mail you a printed booklet of the guide, or email it to you in .pdf format if you prefer. You can also use the Contact button join the HCCN email list, and receive information about future Powerful Tools for Caregivers classes and our current efforts to develop a strong online presence.
-Roberta Wong Murray, February 2020
In 1995, a group of healthcare professional women joined with the Senior Planner from the Kona office of the Hawaii County Office of Aging (HCOA) to evaluate the needs of family caregivers in West Hawaii. With input from HCOA, Hawaii Community Caregiver Network (HCCN) was formed and developed its Mission and Vision statements (see below), which would be our guide into the future. Funding was provided by a grant from Hawaii Island Rural Health Association, which also acted as the group’s non-profit 501(c)(3) umbrella. During the initial years a needs assessment of family caregivers in West Hawaii was completed, which determined that respite and education were among the priority needs of caregivers.
Over the years since, HCCN has presented more than a dozen successful conferences to provide caregivers with pertinent topics, informed speakers, and a chance to network with local agencies and services as part of the Resource Fair.
Starting in 2014, HCCN took on the responsibility of providing the national evidence-based program, "Powerful Tools for Caregivers." With these free classes, HCCN has provided over 120 caregivers in West Hawaii with the skills needed to handle the challenges of caring for a loved one. These include an introduction to local resources; learning communication skills; how to deal with stress through relaxation techniques; how to manage emotions, such as anger, guilt, and depression; and how to take care of themselves.
During 2019, HCCN created a pilot program together with Regency Hualalai Assisted Living, to fund respite stays for care receivers. This program provided family caregivers with a week of much needed “me time” to take care of them-selves. We plan to continue this program when it is again safe to do so.
We promote, enhance, and support caregiving though education, networking, planning, coordinating, and advocacy.
We envision a community in which caregivers are valued for their contribution (and receive social, educational, economic, and emotional support) and where the care receiver is able to live life meaningfully, with dignity and self-worth.
Many thanks to our sponsors from 2015 through 2020:
West Hawaii Healthcare Council ◊ Hawaii Community Foundation ◊ Hawaii County Office of Aging ◊ AARP ◊ Powerful Tools for Caregivers ◊ Young Brothers ◊ Kona Adult Day Center ◊ Services for Seniors ◊ Hawaii Alliance for Community Health (HACH) ◊ Regency at Hualalai ◊ Project Dana ◊ Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union ◊ Walmart ◊ HMSA ◊ Tutu's House ◊ Ho'oNani Place ◊ PFI Rubbish Service, Inc.
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