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Friday, December 1, 2017

MY VISIT TO KAHALA NUI

There is a range of senior living options in Honolulu.  Like most things in life, it's mostly a matter of what you can afford and what  you want.  Some have no choice, so those of us who live in one of the choice Purgatorial locations feel blessed.  Kahala Nui is considered by many as the most desirable in Hawaii, mostly because the waiting list has stood at more than a hundred for a decade and more.  

At Kahala Nui, you purchase an apartment ($600,000 for one bedroom to $1.2 million for 3 bedrooms) and in addition pay a monthly fee in the range of $4000/month for singles and $6000 for couples, with variations.  You are promised eternal care, with a hospital section when that time comes.  Best of all, your family will be provided the initial (minus 10-20%) original investment when you do pass away.  However, keep in mind that if the move-in was 2007 and the end is today, if the original payment was a million dollars, the family would receive the equivalent of $600,000 in terms of real worth of money.

There is another seniors community set, sister properties Arcadia and 15 Craigside.  Except for the ownership factor, all three are equivalent in most ways, including on site hospital care and clinic. The advantage (for people like me) is that 15 Craigside has relaxed dress standards for meals, and we have a higher percentage of "local" dishes.

At Arcadia/15C we pay something like $400,000 (gets more expensive on higher floors) to move in, and a $4000 ($6000 for a couple) monthly fee for three meals/day, room cleaning once/week where your sheets and towels are changed, and a comfortable/secure environment with more activities than you would ever want.  You are provided lifetime care even if you run out money.  However, they won't let you in if they think you will fall into this category.  In any case, if you die within a few months, 15 Craigside is that much richer, for they can re-sell your apartment.  We joke that the optimal business plan would be to seek those nearing their end, and otherwise try to rid you as soon as possible, but, of course, we are run by a church, so they truly mean well.

Comparison of the top three senior's communities in Hawaii:

                               Opened     Number of units

Kahala Nui               2005              383

Arcadia                    1967               250

15 Craigside            2012               170

A third type of senior living accommodations is something like The Plaza, where there is no move-in charge, and only a monthly fee (rental).  The danger is that there is no secure ending.  If you get real sick, you are forced to move out and either find a way to pay from $9,000 to $12,000 per month, or stay with someone who will take care of you.  There are other retirement living systems, but the above are the more traditional senior accommodations if you don't remain at home or live with family/friends.

I've previously been to Kahala Nui (KN) in the past, mostly for invited dinners.  Here, you pay a monthly fee depending on the size of your apartment ($5000 for a single or $7000/couple in a 2-bedroom apartment, which costs around $1 million to move in today) and are promised, essentially, one meal/day.  As I only use our dining room at 15 Craigside 25 times/month, where 90 meals are free, the KN system would be far better for me.  Several of my university colleagues live here.

I like their proximity to Kahala Mall, which has a movie complex, and Zippy's.  The Bus stops at their entrance, same as Arcadia and 15 Craigside.


My host was Fujio Matsuda, who once was president of the University of Hawaii.  His family had a saimin restaurant a couple of blocks away from where I grew up in Kakaako.  I can still savor their barbecued meat on a stick which had that special taste rarely found today anywhere.  

Those are the flavors you can't find today, as for example those Red Dye #2 Pistachios, that I think came from Iran.  I don't think I've ever seen a pistachio tree before.  The California pistachios have no character.

I splurged and had an iceberg lettuce with blue cheese and medium rare ribeye steak with corn and baked potato.  The cut was so large that I took home two-thirds.  I also attempted to eat Ted's pineapple cheesecake, but wasted most of it.  Mind you, this was for lunch.

Fuj is 93, and went to high school with Dan Inouye.  We didn't talk too much about the good old days, but focused on the future.  He started at the University of Hawaii in the Civil Engineering, and I did, too.  For the past few decades we have served on several boards together.

His major project today is a new Hawaii networking company with huge potential.  He found a billionaire to fund the effort.  

I asked him to come up with a second billionaire for the Blue Revolution.  He was on the original board of Blue Revolution Hawaii:

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Tropical Cyclone Ockhi at 80 MPH is still projected to only graze Mumbai:


Tropical Cyclone Dahlia is heading for a largely unpopulated portion of Australia:


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