How Hawai‘i Parents, Grandparents Can Connect Across Generations

HONOLULU Magazine asks community experts how we can help ourselves, family and friends handle change, challenges and some anxious times ahead in our June 3 webinar.


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While the pandemic affected us all, different generations have felt the challenges in different ways during often difficult times. Now that vaccines are offering a potential end to isolation, we grapple with what we’ve been through, where we are now and what to expect.


Join us Thursday, June 3 for the latest virtual talk story in HONOLULU Magazine’s free virtual mental wellness series: Life Interrupted: Navigating What’s Next, Caring for Parents/Grandparents. Sign up for the Zoom session here and get your questions answered.


SEE ALSO: Hawai‘i Experts Share Strategies for Getting Through Pandemic Exhaustion


Here in Honolulu, we strive to care for each other: families, friends, neighbors and the whole community. But in the past 14 months, we’ve been kept away from our normal activities, traditions and each other. At a time when we needed comfort and familiar faces, we had to work out safety precautions that separated us. We missed spending time together at weddings, graduations and memorials that stopped or shifted to prevent risky large gatherings.


We’ll ask experts how we can pull together now. We will identify struggles that older adults are dealing with. We’ll discuss issues of the “sandwich generation,” people who are helping to care for younger children and older parents and grandparents. We’ll talk with caregivers to learn about their challenges and receive their tips for bridging generational gaps. And we will tackle some tough questions: How do we communicate so each generation better understands each other? How can we convince a senior who doesn’t believe they need help to get help?


Mahalo to Dr. Jason Keifer, Brain Health Hawai‘i and the Kāhala Clinic for Children and Family for joining us as presenting sponsor for this year’s webinars. Our series began in May, which is Mental Health Month to help draw attention to the issues, nudge us toward solutions and illuminate resources available to all of us. Thank you to our silver sponsor, Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools, and mahalo to our community partners Mental Health America Hawai‘i and NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness)–Hawai‘i.


 SEE ALSO: HONOLULU Magazine Launches a Free Virtual Mental Wellness Series “Life Interrupted: Navigating What’s Next”


Our panelists offer a wide range of expertise from the community and mental health:


Pokii BalazPokii Balaz, is a family nurse practitioner serving our kūpuna, those with dementia, caregivers, and underserved populations such as Native Hawaiians.  She received her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Executive Master of Business Education from Shidler College of Business. Currently she serves as director of nursing at Lunalilo Home and a clinician at Kōkua Kalihi Valley while serving the community in her many advocacy roles.


Mestisa GassMestisaC. Gass, who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, is the program director for Mental Health America of Hawai‘i. She is a member of the Mental Health Task Force, the Statewide Suicide Prevention Task Force, Co-chair for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention-Hawai‘i chapter, and an advisory board member for the Waipahu Aloha Clubhouse. 



Kealii Lopez 1026 2eAARP Hawai‘i State Director, Keali‘i Lopez has been with AARP—the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age—for nearly two years. The organizations has 140,000 local members in Hawai‘i.  She previously served as director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs from 2010 to 2014. 



Kumi Macdonald Headshot 2019jpgKumi Macdonald, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Hawai‘i, has a background in hotel management, education, and director in church ministry. Born in Japan, raised in California and Hawai‘i, she is also a volunteer family advocate, sharing her story of hope.  




Vonceil YaraVonceil Yara is a first generation Korean-American, born and raised in Southern California and a counselor/marriage and family therapist, who practices at The Kāhala Clinic for Children and Family. She is dedicated to multiculturalism, diversity and supporting underrepresented communities in the mental health space. And she focuses on the intersection between early childhood trauma, family systems, mindfulness and overall brain health for optimal relational functioning. 


Moderator: Robbie Dingemanis editor at large of HONOLULU Magazine. The award-winning journalist tells the stories of Hawai‘iin daily newspapers, magazines, television and on the web.  Co-author of two books, she serves as co-artistic director of the Gridiron show, which raises money for internships for the Society of Professional Journalists.  



If you can’t stay for the whole session Thursday, come back to where we will make the session recordings available to watch or listen to at your convenience.