Forum: Aging with Dignity


Special Events
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Start Time: 

8:15 AM

End Time: 

5:00 PM
The Modern Honolulu and Hilton Hawaiian Village and Resorts

Registration Fee: 


Elder Abuse through the Victimʻs Eyes: Why these Crimes Leave Seniors Devastated and why Elders are Targetted (Scott Spallina)

Time: 8:15am-9:15am (Honolulu 3, TAPA

 This presentation will explore how crimes against our kupuna are perpetrated, the lasting effects on the victims, why seniors are vulnerable to certain crimes, and warning signs one needs to know to prevent such offenses.

Photo: Scott Spallina

Scott Spallina

Scott Spallina has been a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in Honolulu for over 21 years.  During that time, he became the supervisor of the Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Unit where he handled thousands of cases involving intimate partner violence as well child abuse cases, including shaken baby homicides. 

In 2008, he created the Elder Abuse Unit – the first and only one in the State of Hawaii dedicated to prosecuting crimes where the victims are 60 years of age and older.  He is on-call 24 hours a day/7 days a week to assist the police when an arrest is made in an elder abuse case.  In addition to his courtroom work, Scott has lectured in Hawaii and the mainland on subjects ranging from domestic violence and elder abuse, to care home liability and forensic investigation techniques.  He has also given over 350 presentations to various community groups, senior centers, law enforcement and financial institutions.

Scott sits on the Board for KHON’s Elderhood Project, as well as the Governor’s Policy and Advisory Board for Elderly Affairs.  He is an active member of the Kupuna Caucus, and is a board member of the Autism Society of Hawaii.  


Older adults with disabilities:  Interest, Needs, & Concerns

9:30 – 11:00 am, Honolulu, Tapa Tower


Using current research from AARP, this session will provide insights and advice on using research to advocate for older adults with disabilities.  Three distinct topics will be covered in this session:  Caregivers with disabilities, consumer fraud, and important community features to older adults who have a disability.

Opinions and Experiences of Family Caregivers who have a Disability

This section will provide participants with both insights as well as practical advice on using research to advocate for caregivers. A secondary data analysis of over 5,000 AARP members who report that they are caregivers and have a disability will be utilized to frame a discussion about the impact of providing care on a caregivers’ work, home, health, and personal time.

Older Adults with Disabilities: Behaviors that Increase the Risk of Becoming an Internet Fraud Victim

This section will examine concerns about fraud, online literacy, victimization, isolation, debt, and online behaviors of older individuals with disabilities.   An analysis of 15 particular behaviors, life experiences and knowledge attributes that make a person more vulnerable to online fraud will be presented.  Differences in race and gender have been identified and will be discussed in this session since these demographic features are often determinants of victimization.  Presenters will also provide an overview of the methodology used to conduct this survey.

Community Features

Using age-friendly community studies conducted between 2015 and 2017, this session will look at more than 60 community features and examine which are most important to older individuals with disabilities.  An analysis will also be presented showing which important community features are missing from their communities. Differences in race and gender have been identified and will be discussed in this session since these demographic features are often determinants of the area in which one resides, and therefore the availability of services and resources.  Presenters will also provide an overview of the methodology used to conduct these community surveys.

Learning Outcomes

  • This seminar will:
  • Provide a profile of caregivers who report having a disability, their life experiences, concerns and interests;
  • Address policy implications for the growing number of family caregivers;  
  • Have a better understanding about which of how 15 particular behaviors, life experiences and knowledge attributes can make people with disabilities more vulnerable to online fraud;
  • Learn about successful strategies to empower and educate older individuals with disabilities and help them to avoid becoming a victim of fraud;
  • Have a better understanding of AARP’s role as an advocate for stronger legislation that protects seniors from becoming victims of fraud;
  • Understand which of the community features are most important to residents that are disabled; 
  • Know what changes may be needed in communities to make them suitable for those with disabilities to age in place;
  • Have a deeper understanding of AARP’s role as the United States’ affiliate for the World Health Organization’s Networks of Age-friendly Cities and Communities;
  • Be familiar with the methodology used for the communities’ surveys and will have the resources to replicate the survey elsewhere.

Seminar Leaders

Photo :Cassandra Cantave

Cassandra Cantave Burton is a Senior Research Advisor at AARP focusing on supporting the AARP state offices with their research and advocacy initiatives. As a research professional, she has conducted extensive research on issues affecting marginalized populations while tackling issues such as caregiving, consumer protections, workplace protections, age discrimination, livable communities, and utilities regulations. Cassandra believes in the concept of cross collaborative research while building relationships that create impactful results and help create policies to protect all older adults.

Prior to joining AARP, she was a Databank Associate for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, where she helped spearhead a statistical database about multicultural populations that extended her expertise on both the African American and Hispanic populations. In this role, she effectively educated others regarding the disparities that plague people of color. Cassandra has experience in utilizing federal databases such as CDC WONDER, The American Community Survey, and The Bureau of Labor Statistics.  She also served as the liaison for The Census Information Center in which she leveraged and disseminated recently released Census Bureau data about minority and underserved populations.  

Cassandra completed her Master’s degree in Sociology from Howard University. She has also obtained her Bachelor’s in Sociology from SUNY at Buffalo. Cassandra is also involved in a number of professional organizations such as, American Association of Public Opinion Researchers (AAPOR), American Sociological Association (ASA), Aging Society of America, and Gerontological Society of America (GSA).  

As an enthusiastic researcher, thought leader, and strategist of aging issues and long-term care, Cassandra’s specific areas of interest include examining positive aging, consumer protections, and advocacy. Her most recent project involves evaluating the AARP Community Resource Center and several studies that gauge public support for the CARE Act. She is adept at engaging diverse audiences as a lecturer.

Photo: Aisha Bonner-Cozad

Aisha Bonner-Cozad, PhD, received her PhD. in 2012 and her MSW from Howard University in 2005.   Her current research interests include health care disparities, poverty, and technology utilization with aging populations, specifically telemedicine intervention.



Older AARP LGBTQ Members: Opinions, Experiences and Concerns

11:15 am – 11:45 pm


Data from AARP will be analyzed to explore the experience and concerns of AARP LGBTQ members.   This session will explore the experiences, concerns, issues of importance and areas of opportunity for outreach in the LGBTQ community.   Additionally, successful engagement strategies will be presented.


The Built Environment for All: Charting the Course for Age-Friendly Communities


  • Overview of the Age-friendly City initiative and Implications for the Built Environment, Christy Nishita
  • The Use of Surveys in Rating the Age-friendliness of Communities, Cassandra Burton
  • What is Visitable Housing and Why It’s Important for Aging-in-place, Curt Kiriu
  • Inclusive Transportation and Roadways, Michael Packard

Moderated by Dr. David Leake

About the Panelists

Photo: Christy Nishita

Christy Nishita, Ph.D. is an Associate Specialist at the University of Hawaii Center on Aging and Center on Disability Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Gerontology from the University of Southern California. Her focus is on improving community-based long-term care, with publications on aging in place, nursing home transitions, intergenerational programming, and health promotion. She is the consultant for the Mayor’s Age-Friendly Honolulu Initiative, fostering community intergenerational partnerships and conducting the evaluation. Dr. Nishita is also Principal Investigator for Hawaii’s Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative, a 3-year grant from the Federal Administration for Community Living. She is also evaluator for the Hawaii Going Home Plus project, a federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services grant. She is the recipient of the 2016 Na Lima Kokua Award in the Research/Teaching category, given by the Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society. She is also Co-Coordinator for the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, From the Field section as well as member of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s Intergenerational Learning and Research Committee.


Photo: Mike Packard

Mike Packard is a licensed professional engineer and certified traffic operations engineer with over 15 years of progressive traffic engineering and transportation planning experience. Mike recently joined the City and County of Honolulu as the first Complete Streets Program Administrator after spending the prior 8 years working for a local engineering and planning company. Most of his complete streets efforts center on leveraging opportunities to adapt national and global best practices to Honolulu.


Photo: Cassandra Cantave

Cassandra Cantave (Burton) holds a Master of Arts in Sociology from Howard University, and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from SUNY at Buffalo.  She has 20 years of experience conducting research.  Her areas of expertise are research methods and analysis, caregiving, consumer protections, multicultural populations and long-term care issues.


Photo: Curt Kiriu

Curt Kiriu has been in the construction industry for almost 30 years and has been a licensed general contractor in Hawai’i for almost 9 years. As a General Contractor and Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist professional, he specializes in accessible home modifications, in which he both design and build various barrier-free projects.



About the Moderator

Photo: David Leake

David Leake, PhD, MPH, has been with the Center on Disability Studies since 1990, focusing on transition to adulthood, child and adolescent mental health, culturally responsive curricula, and self-determination. He was lead author of Hawaii’s 2016 report to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on impediments to fair housing for people with disabilities.


Homes Designed For Your Active Independent Living



Chances are, you are like 90% of adults 50+ that want to stay in your current home for as long as possible. But the important question is; can your current home support you and your family's current and changing accessibility needs, so you can continue to live a healthy active independent lifestyle?

Ask yourself:

  1. Have you been given several remodeling recommendations by your healthcare provider, but have no idea where to start and have no one to do the work correctly; that you can trust?
  2. Are you a healthcare professional who has home remodeling recommendations, for your client, that will allow them to live at home safely, but have no idea who is experienced in implementing your remodeling recommendations properly?
  3. Do you want to learn cost effective and simple easy to do ideas, that you can do today to make your home safe, accessible for you and your loved ones, that would still make your home look nice?
  4. As a healthcare professional, do you want to learn how to perform a comprehensive detailed home assessment, with an understanding of both construction and healthcare recommendations?
  5. Are there family and friends who are not able to visit, because your home is difficult for them to access, and would like to know how to make it “Visitable” for all to visit?
  6. Do you have a physical challenge that will progress and make it more difficult for you, but still want to live in your home, rather than move into a nursing home?
  7. Are you a planner, who wants to ensure that you can continue to live in your home independently as you age gracefully?

If you answer “Yes” to one or more of these questions, I invite you to attend this mind opening informational presentation, where you may find answers to one or more of the questions you have.

Professional Outcomes (for designers, contractors and builders):

  1. Learn how working with a Certified Aging in Place Specialist professional can be beneficial to you and your clients.
  2. Learn how during a home assessment, to perceive various design challenges to make a home livable, when working with a client that has a progressive change or traumatic change needs.
  3. Learn how utilizing Aging in Place methods and Universal Design concepts and products that may make your client’s living area adaptable as their needs change.
  4. Learn why a properly designed modification to your client’s home may increase the marketability and value.

Learning Outcomes (for general audience):

  1. Learn simple, inexpensive and moderately cost modifications ideas that you can use today, to make your home safer and accessible. 
  2. Aging-In-Place, Independent Living, Universal Design, Adaptable and Visitability, what do these phrases mean?
  3. What types of options you have (as you mature) regarding living at home or living in an institutional elderly care facility.
  4. How to find a qualified Certified Aging in Place Specialist professional to perform home modifications specific to your needs.
  5. Why properly designed modification to your home may increase the marketing value of your home.
  6. Learn how to make your home visitable for keiki, kupuna and/or physically challenged family and friends; that may otherwise not be able to visit.

About the Workshop Leader

Photo: Curt Kiriu

Curt Kiriu has been in the construction industry for almost 30 years and has been a licensed general contractor in Hawai’i for almost 9 years. As a General Contractor and Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist professional, he specializes in accessible home modifications, in which he both design and build various barrier-free projects.

Mr. Kiriu is a NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) CAPS (Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist) and an approved instructor for this course, and their Universal Design/Build course. He is also a SME (subject matter expert) working with a team of colleagues, developing the new CAPS III course. He was honored to be chosen as the 2016 NAHB’s Certified Aging-in Place Specialist Educator of the Year and 2014 Certified Aging-in Place Specialist Designee of the Year.

On the National level, I currently serve on the NAHB Remodelers Board of Trustee, Executive Board, Board of Directors, Learning Content Committee Chair, Designation Subcommittee member and State Rep. for Hawaii.

Locally, he serves on the BIA (Building Industry Association) of Hawaii’s Executive Board, Board of Directors and Education Committee Chair, and the Housing Domain Coordinator for Honolulu’s Age Friendly City Implementation Committee. Mr. Kiriu was proudly his father’s primary caregiver for 17 years, when his mother passed in 1992. This caregiving experience plus my continuous passion as a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist Professional provides me with a unique perspective for working with seniors, caregivers and the physically / cognitively challenged; by designing and modifying safe, accessible homes for an active independent lifestyle.



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