As we all continue to cope with impacts of the current pandemic, our Holy Father asks: “In what way can we help heal our world?” One of the simplest ways we can start is by staying safer at home and acting with care; and by practicing physical distancing, proper hygiene, as well as refraining from large social gatherings.
Oahu is currently in Tier 5 of the COVID-19 Recovery Framework that increases social gatherings up to 25 people indoors and allows up to 75 people for outdoor activities. Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s proclamation on July 2, 2021 will be in effect until September 5, 2021 unless otherwise noted. To maximize safe distancing, please follow these Department of Health “Tips for Socializing Safely – Hawaii Style” that include recommendations to meet outdoors, staying at least 6 feet apart and greeting each other with a wave or a shaka instead of a hug.
Let us remain steadfast in the mantra that we are all in this together and we WILL get through this crisis as One ‘Ohana! We encourage all to continue practicing Safer at Home-Act with Care policies that include regular use of masks, especially in public places. The Office for Social Ministry will continue to inform you of resources to share with persons who are vulnerable in your parish community. This is one way we all can Witness to Jesus.
Agencies serving persons with disabilities, young and old, have mobilized networks to ensure access to resources where needed.
HELPING SENIORS STAY FIT WHILE SAFER AT HOME
Maintaining proper health and wellness routines during COVID-19 can often be a challenge for folks who have been used to working out in crowded gyms and public fitness centers. It is especially difficult for senior citizens with underlying health conditions to get a good workout from their own homes. Fortunately, there are many resources for our beloved kupuna to stay fit while staying safer at home!
For example, Catholic Charities Hawaii offers a variety of online fitness programs for seniors, including exercise classes on zoom especially designed for those experiencing difficulty with leg strength or mobility.
Keep in mind that when engaging in any kind of physical activity, please listen to your body. Endurance activities should not cause dizziness, chest pain or heartburn. If performed correctly, exercise can help seniors strengthen weak muscles which often cause imbalance and increased risk of falls. Fragile bones can also make elders susceptible to fractures. For our kupuna, sadness and social isolation can have negative health effects and increase the risk of serious health problems. Studies show a direct correlation between physical exercise and mental health. To explore ways of finding balance, visit the National Institute on Aging (NIA) resource page on Exercise and Physical Activity.
If you are a household with school-aged children with special needs, the Department of Health’s SPECIAL PARENT INFORMATION NETWORK offers a COVID-19 Resource page kept up to date with information from the Department of Education as well as local and national organizations representing various disability communities.
Apply for Child Care Subsidies and Preschool Open Doors!
During this COVID-19 crisis, Hawai`i has temporarily changed its rules for child care subsidies. Many more families are now eligible. Families who have been financially impacted by this pandemic are urged to apply today. For more information, go to Child Care Connection Hawai`i online at or all one of the following:
- Wailuku, Maui: (808) 249-2461
- Lihue: (808) 245-2193
- Hilo: (808) 961-6807; Kona: (808) 334-6101
- Oahu: (808) 566-2600
Hire Abilities Hawaii is a collaboration with the Hawaii’s Departments of Human Services, Education, Health, Labor, the UH College of Education Center for Disabilities Studies and statewide Workforce Development Council. The following is an important link for you, a child or adult in your care, who receives SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability); Hawaii COVID-19 Resources for Individuals with Disability Benefits.
SPECIAL OLYMPIANS STAY FIT WHILE SAFER AT HOME
While many community sports have been suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions, Special Olympics Hawaii continues to successfully engage 5,272 athletes through various programs to help them stay fit while safer at home. For example, the Young Athletes Play Program introduces young kids ages 2 to 7 to basic sports skills like running, kicking and throwing. Caregivers can also find easy-to-follow guides to continue staying active with their Young Athletes at Home.
Older Special Olympians who are training for competition are also able to continue their workout routines from the safety of their homes. STAY FIT WITH SOHI (Special Olympics Hawaii) offers a Facebook/digital option and also a Non-Digital option with downloadable exercises. The exercises are also readily available to anyone interested in staying fit, especially while sheltering at home. If you are new to exercise or experiencing health challenges, please consult your physician before you begin.
- FIT 5 is a fitness guide for athletes to achieve their personal best with physical activity, nutrition, and hydration. It includes short videos to improve endurance, flexibility, strength and balance.
- SCHOOL OF STRENGTH is a series of exercise videos that encompasses three levels: Superstar Trainer, Champion Trainer and Master Trainer.
- Three times a week, athletes can participate in LIVE EVENTS on Zoom. Team coaches can get Zoom access information from their Head of Delegation.
- YOUNG ATHLETES is a sport and play program for children ages 2 to 7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Aside from improving motor skills by incorporating activity time at home with the family, Young Athlete activities help to build daily skills for an active, healthy life.
- Young Athletes Story Time offers a schedule of weekly storytelling available on Zoom to accommodate families who are safer-at-home.
- This year, the annual AUKAKE FITNESS CLASSIC will be held virtually via Zoom on August 8. The state competition features events for athletes and unified teams of all abilities, including specific events for athletes who use wheelchairs.
Mahalo to all our Special Olympians who inspire us all with their strength, vulnerabilities and commitment to their athlete oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt!”
With the hope of following in the footsteps of Sts. Marianne and Damien, Mahalo and malama pono.
Your friends at Office for Social Ministry