Hawai`i Family Featured in Veterans Caregiving Documentary

Posted on 03/24/21

A segment on a Kauai family featured in a documentary that shows the struggles of 20-somethings and millennials caring for veterans will have a special virtual showing on April 7 for Hawai`i audiences.

The Kapanui family is one of the families profiled in the film “Sky Blossom,” a new documentary that shows the struggles of those who filmmaker Richard Lui calls “the next greatest generation.” Kaleo Kapanui, who was 18 when the documentary was filmed, and his sister Kamaile care for their grandfather, Bobby Nawai, a veteran who has dementia. Kamaile put off college and Kaleo cut back on school and hanging out with friends so they can watch and care for their grandfather.

 “School will always be here. Grandpa won’t,” Kamile Kapanui said in the film.

The segment featuring the Kapanui family and another segment with a family from Alaska will be shown in a virtual event that will be followed by a discussion and tips about caregiving with veterans service representatives on April 7 at 6 p.m. Hawai`i time. To get a free link to the showing register at http://bit.ly/skyblossomHI or go to the @aarphawaii Facebook page and click on Upcoming Events.

The full documentary will be shown on April 30 at 2 p.m. Hawai`i time through the AARP Movies for Grownups program. Register for a link to watch the film by going to http://bit.ly/MFGSkyBlossom.

Sky Blossom is a raw, candid look at the 24.5 million teens and twenty-somethings caring for a veteran parent or grandparent. Caring for family with tough medical conditions, they stay at home doing things often seen only in hospitals. They are cheerleaders, work part time, and go to college – but also live double lives.

The title of the film refers to what World War II ground troops called paratroopers. The troops called the airborne units sky blossoms and when they saw the parachutes, they knew help was arriving.

“This generation of caregivers is coming to help,” filmmaker Lui said. “It’s symbolic because they are blossoming as people. They are blossoming as caregivers and that’s why I say they are the next greatest generation.”

“I value family,” Kaleo Kapanui said to explain his sacrifices to take care of his grandfather.

 Lui said he was inspired by the Kapanui siblings.     

“I found them to be a fantastic family,” he said. “They both left school to take care of their grandfather and didn’t think twice about it.”

For more information about the film, visit skyblossom.com.

This story is provided by AARP Hawaii. Visit the AARP Hawaii page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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