Ann Okahara, nominated several members of the Masamitsu Family
Ann received several nomination letters.
Ann is always smiling. Her beautiful smile and gentle laughter worth million to brighten up entire house hold as well as bring smile to Tony’s face. Ann gets along with everyone and anyone and she is a great team player. Ann is always caring, kind, gentle, tactful and professional to take care of client, Tony. For example, when she wakes my husband up in the morning, instead of ordering him what to do, with her very gentle voice, she tells him some interesting stories such as how beautiful today’s weather is , how children are playing near the pool side etc. So, by listening her stories, my husband is encouraged to get out of the bed with his will. What a nice and professional way to encourage seniors! Ann is always alert and makes sure my husband is in safe position. For example, Her both hands are always free ready to support my husband when he walks, when he gets up from the chair or when he moves one place to the other. She assists my husband’s mobility with maximum safety! Ann always makes sure my husband is comfortable. For example, she has to apply medical skin lotion on his feet after each shower. Instead of just applying the lotion, she massages his feet with the skin lotions to make sure he feels comfortable and lotion can penetrate in his feet evenly. How caring ! Ann is very efficient to use her time wisely. When Tony is resting, Ann takes initiative to always look for jobs which can keep her work environment clean and neat and easy to manage. Ann is also an great assistant and an excellent coordinator for Tony’s medical appointments and day time activities . She is also very good at utilizing modern technologies which can monitor Tony’s health condition as well as his daily schedules in place. What a great idea! We, entire Masamitsu family feel very lucky and fortunate to have Ann for my husband’s care taker. Most of all, Tony love her professionalism and she is his favorite care taker ! That is why we think that Ann is the best candidate for upcoming “ Caregiver of the Year!” - Norie Masamitsu
My name is Sue Eguchi, I am the personal secretary of Tony Masamitsu for last 25 years. It was very hard for me to see that my boss Tony ‘s spiritual and physical health were declining after he became 85 years old. For a while family was worrying about how to find the best care which fits his needs. Thanks to the BrightStar for sending the right and the perfect caregiver to Tony. After Ann started taking care of Tony which was almost 5 years ago, I can clearly see that Tony’s mental and physical condition were stabilized and even improved a lot in some parts! Before Ann comes, his sleeping schedule was so messed up and he ended up sleeping all day long which caused him to have massive dehydration. Since Ann started coming in as a morning shift caregiver, she patiently and gently tries to wake Tony up each morning, with her consistency and caring, now Tony has the schedule which he gets up in the morning and go to sleep at night. The normal cycle of sleeping pattern was crucial for Tony’s health and it was as crucial to the rest of the family who needs to maintain their normal life style . Ann is liked by everyone and anyone not only by the family but also people around her like me. Since I have a chance to communicate with entire family quite often, every family member highly talks about Ann ‘s great personality and her professionalism as a caregiver. Wife Norie has an elderly mother living in Japan, therefore she needs to go to Japan to take care of her own Japanese mother, however, she always tells me that as long as Ann is around, Masamitsu family has nothing to worry about !! Now Once again, his warm smiles came back to Tony’s face as well as to the family. What a great transformation! By seeing these great contribution Ann gives to the entire family, as the personal secretary of Masamitsu family, I highly recommend Ann to be “ The caregiver of the year!.” I think She deserves it! - Sue Eguchi
Ann Okahara has been helping our family take care of my dad since 2013, and she has been the rock of all caregivers who have come and gone within the BrightStar family in the past 5 yrs that we have utilized your services. Not only is she a role model caregiver, but she has patiently instructed all other caregivers on the particulars of how best to motivate my father, who has severe dementia on top of other ailments, as he is 91 years old. Elderly dementia patients are as diverse as the rest of society, and even more so, in that their needs and moods can change by the day, or even by the hour, and Ann is exceptional when it comes to being in tune with those changing needs, and working accordingly to accommodate those needs. There are so many reasons why I would like to submit my nomination for Ann as “BrightStar’s Caregiver of the Year," but there is one thing that stands out in my mind: the way in which she is able to get my father out of bed, to start off his day in the most positive way possible. My father has many physical ailments—he needs assistance to walk with his cane (his balance is not very good, but his doctor feels he needs to keep moving, as long as he can physically manage it), he has severe back problems, he often has headaches, and feels extremely fatigued, even upon waking from a full night’s rest. On top of that, because of his dementia, sometimes he can’t remember how to do basic functional things, and he gets frustrated and confused. Task initiation for him, has been thrown out the window. All of these things combined, and most days, he does not want to get out of bed, and he often refuses to comply. Ann has developed a way that works particularly well for my dad: she never tells him specifically to wake up, or that it’s time to wake up (or that he even has to wake up), or to hurry and get out of bed because of an appointment! Rather, in her naturally cheerful (she is the most cheerful person I have ever met in my entire life), highly energetic manner, she slightly opens his drapes, she constantly talks to him about various things and does her best to engage him with questions, she gets his morning routine items ready as she continues to talk to him, opens the drapes a little more, and keeps at this cycle, patiently, until he is “naturally wakened and drawn out of bed" under her positive influence and energy—she has been doing this day in and day out for over 5 years, and never loses her patience, and never succumbs to boredom from repeating the same things constantly. I have even seen her patiently re-teach my dad how to best brush his teeth, and while that was difficult for me to take in, I was so struck and touched by her kindness and gentle instructions. She multi-tasks like nobody’s business, and has been as energetic and cheerful this week, as she was 5 years ago when she started! Even on my dad’s worst of days when he is ornery and combative, Ann maintains her compassion, her patience, her constant cheerfulness, and she is one of the few people who can consistently get my dad out of bed to start his day. This may sound like a simple step, but without being able to get him out of his bed first, my dad wouldn’t be able to drink his medicine, eat his meals, get to his PT or doctor appointments, or anything else—without being able to get out of bed, he wouldn’t be able to do all the other “routine” things he does daily with Ann, and I’m sure he would simply deteriorate at a faster rate. Specifically, I could list so many things that Ann “does” for my parents, all of which I personally feel is "above and beyond" and deserves recognition in its own right, but Ann is much, much more than simply the services she provides. She is incredibly empathetic, full of compassion, her patience and cheerfulness know no bounds—but most of all, her inner energy, her exuberant, always positive personality, and her constant smile fill my parents’ apartment with laughter and happiness, and that is more important to me than any “service” a caregiver could provide. Thank you for your consideration of Ann’s nomination. Ann Okahara is a wonderful human being, and I am grateful every day that she is there taking care of my parents. I live in NYC and only see my parents in Hawaii for one month out of the year, and the peace of mind I have, experiencing for myself in that one month per year, how well Ann is taking care of them, and to hear from my parents directly when I’m not there, how much positivity, stability, and happiness she brings to their daily lives—it is beyond anything I could adequately describe in words. She is a truly exceptional person, and that shines through in everything she does, especially in the detailed, caring attention she gives to my parents. Thank you for bringing Ann into our lives! - janet masamitsu
Thank you for the opportunity to nominate my father’s caregiver, Ann Okahara, for the 2018 BrightStar Caregiver of the Year Award. She is one of the most compassionate, patient, honest, hard-working, loving, respectful, and genuinely caring person I have ever met, and my 90-year-old father (and our family) is so lucky that Brightstar Care Honolulu had chosen her to care for him almost five years ago. Before Ann became my father’s primary daytime caretaker, my mother spent a great deal of time in the morning, nagging him to get out of bed. I think sometimes, he stayed in bed just to spite her. They both seemed very unhappy. I was doing most of the driving to his various appointments and seeing his doctors with him. While I felt it was my duty to help out my parents, I found myself spending less time with my two young sons with ADHD and learning disabilities. Five years ago, I was in a difficult and stressful situation where I sometimes had to choose between taking care of my father or my children. Many times, I felt I had to choose my father. My own family started falling apart, and I lost an excessive amount of weight due to stress, anxiety, and depression. I even started feeling resentful that my mother expected me to help so much with my father’s care when my own family needed me. I finally realized that we needed help caring for my father so I can be there for my own family. I contacted Alison Lee at BrightStar in Honolulu. My father had a few other caretakers from BrightStar before Ann came to us. While I was happy enough with the initial few caretakers, Ann is the one who changed my family’s life. My father started getting up at regular hours in the morning. It’s probably hard to be grumpy and refuse to get up when a smiling ball of energy pops in and says, “Good morning, Tony!!” Ann set up a good morning routine that gets Dad started on a positive note. Because Mom wasn’t nagging him so much anymore, my parents’ relationship has become much better. Ann has always been self-driven, self-motivated, and proactive. She doesn’t need to be told what to do. She can see what needs to be done and gets them done efficiently. She never needs reminders. She does her best to encourage my father to get out of the house (not easy), by, for example, showing him movie trailers on his iPad to get him interested. She knows exactly when and how to get him started to get him to appointments on time. She speaks respectfully and kindly to my father, even when he’s in a bad mood. She writes detailed notes daily so other caretakers know exactly how my father was and what she did during her shift, also noting what needs to be finished or done next. She communicates with our family members so we are constantly aware of anything we need to know about Dad or our parents’ home. She really cares about Dad and our family. She’s always going way above and beyond what we expect of her, just because of the goodness of her heart, and because that’s just the way she is. I can go on and on about why she’s such a wonderful caretaker, but I better stop here. Ann deserves an award just for being able to put up with my fastidious mother and to meet her standards for Dad’s caregiver. In fact, Ann has created a problem where now, my mother judges all other caregivers against her. While we are looking for another caregiver to fill other shifts, we are trying to get our mom to lower her expectations because Ann is simply extraordinary, and it would be unfair and unrealistic to expect another caregiver to be as amazing as she is. Even after almost five years, Ann strives to provide the best care possible. After five years at a job, some people get a little too comfortable and start to slack off or let little things slide. Not Ann. It goes without saying that Ann continues to be very punctual, but Ann has also managed to find ways to improve on her already high standard of care. She clearly takes great pride in her work. Because she has gotten to know my father better over the years, she can anticipate his needs and prepare accordingly. Ann is therefore able to calmly and patiently respond to my father’s needs as opposed to scrambling to react to whatever happens. As far as my family and I are concerned, Ann Okahara is the BrighStar Caregiver of the Century. I simply cannot sing enough praises about her as she continues to impress us in so many ways. It is thanks to Ann that our father Tony is still going strong and will be turning 91 next week. Five years ago, I felt guilty that my parents had to hire “strangers” to provide care for my father. Today, the only slight guilt I feel is that Ann is taking better care of my father than I am! Thanks to Ann and everything that she does—always with a big genuine smile on her face--I am a better daughter, a better mother, better wife, a better person. Please choose Ann Okahara to be this year’s BrightStar Caregiver of the Year, since you don’t have the Caregiver of the Century category. - Mahalo, Lillian Kam