Friday, July 16, 2010


“Graying of Hawaii” now available on-line, documents an on-going scandal

by Larry Geller

With a growing senior population, you’d think that the state and county governments would be planning for the coming wave. More than just a responsibility, there are opportunities in caregiving that can help diversify our tourist-based economy.

You’d think. A 56 minute documentary produced by Marc Delorme and Audrey Kubota shows that Hawaii appears unprepared for the reality of its changing demographics.

The State of Hawaii has one of the fastest growing aging populations in the nation. A long term-care crisis is already here, with a shortage of nursing home beds and a lack of affordable services enabling senior citizens to “age-in-place” at home.  This documentary explores how some “inconvenient patients” from Hawaii were quietly shipped to the US mainland, in some cases without their families being notified.  The narrative questions statewide planning and the government’s response to the changing demographics.

That’s right. This film, released in 2009 and the subject of a 2-hour special on PBS Hawaii, revealed that one of our leading hospitals had been shipping its older patients out to a second-rate nursing home in Ohio. Were it not for this documentary, that practice might still be ongoing today. That scandal is just one that the documentary reveals, but for me, the most powerful.

Can you imagine Grandma is in the hospital one day and… gone?… the next? Check it out in the video. Fact.

The video is available from any public library, but you can visit Delorme’s website,, to view it in HD clarity on your computer screen.

[Disclosure: I’m in it]

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