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Best Assisted Living in Hawaii

For many, retiring to Hawaii is the ultimate fantasy. Year-round warm weather; luxuriant greenery; gorgeous beaches; breathtaking waterfalls; views of oceans, mountains, volcanoes – what could surpass all that?

Hawaii is made up of hundreds of islands and islets, all part of a volcanic chain, though there are eight main islands, all of which are populated, to one degree or another. Five of these have senior housing. Starting with the northernmost, here are the five islands that currently offer senior housing, along with the island nickname and a few details as to what makes that island special:

  1. Kauai“The Garden Isle.” The fourth largest of the main islands lives up to its nickname, boasting a wealth of public gardens, parks, beaches, mountains and caves. There are at least three assisted living facilities here.
  2. Oahu“The Gathering Place,” home to Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Kaneohe Bay and Kailua Bay.
  3. Molokai“The Friendly Isle” has its own laid-back, rustic appeal. Though it has several tourist attractions there are also pleasant small towns, perfect for a low-key lifestyle.
  4. Maui“The Valley Isle.” The emphasis of life on Maui is less focused on after-dark entertainment and crowds (Oahu) and more on enjoying the great outdoors. Besides great beaches and luxuriant terrain, there’s Whale-watching season which runs from approximately December to April.
  5. Hawaii Island“The Big Island.” This island draws a tremendous number of tourists with its four distinct climate zones (tropical, arid, temperate and polar), exotic jungles, endless beaches, and the Hawaii Volcano National Park (among many other charms). For those who want to live there, you can choose between the bustle of a tourist-teeming city or select one of the little, out of the way towns like Hilo and Puna, where life is much less hectic and crowded.

Because relatively few of the assisted living communities on these islands have been reviewed and rated, six of the seven properties shown below are situated on Oahu, with the last in the popular Kailua-Kona area on the Big Island. Additional senior housing facilities are being constructed at the time this article was published.

What People Like About Hawaii

  • There is no tax on Social Security benefits.
  • Due to the state’s proximity to the equator as well as to the constant ocean breezes, temperatures generally range daily, and throughout the year, between 65 F to 90 F. Only at higher elevations do temperatures begin to drop, and only on the tallest mountains might you ever see snow. Unlike some other islands elsewhere in the world, hurricanes here are rare.
  • This is an ideal destination for those who – whether residents or guests – enjoy sports. Among the choices are golf, biking, hiking, climbing, boating, parasailing, swimming, conventional surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, skimboarding, and more.
  • Hospitals: there are five on the island of Hawaii; three on Kauai; one on Lanai; three on Maui (including the Cancer Institute of Maui); one on Molokai; 13 on the island of Oahu (seven of which are in Honolulu).
  • Crime statistics: 2016 saw the lowest number of reported crimes since 1975 when the state’s government began recording these statistics. The bulk of crimes reported involved property, not persons.

Other Considerations for Hawaii

  • It is the most expensive state to live in, whether you purchase your own home or choose to live in a facility. So much of the everyday let alone more unusual items must be imported, driving costs up. According to mercer.com’s 2013 report, Honolulu ranked 49th among the world’s most expensive cities to live in.
  • Even with the local hospitals, depending on your health concerns, and how far your residence is from a hospital or clinic, you might want to look at another state.
  • Those who love seasonal changes won’t find them here.
  • Some people may find the warmer temperatures uncomfortable, although the heat is relatively dry.
  • We are talking islands, which may result in a sense of claustrophobia for some. If you enjoy long road trips, this isn’t the place for you.
  • Because these islands are so remote, friends and family will have to pay a pretty penny for airfare and hotel reservations.

Best Assisted Living in Hawaii – Who Makes the List?

A look at the best assisted living in Hawaii.

Dignity Senior Living at Oceanside – Hauula, HI 96717 [Oahu]

Dignity Senior Living at Oceanside offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Short-term Stays.

  • Caring– 16 Reviews, Average Rating 3.5
  • SeniorAdvisor– 2 Reviews, Average Rating 5
  • SeniorHomes– No Reviews
  • GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: Although remote it offers transportation for residents to town, very nice upscale place, It's out in the country…very beautiful, [facility] located away from the crazy real estate prices of the city [so] their costs are lower and they pass that on to their clients, one person in each room — nobody's sharing a room, absolutely beautiful, plants all around, birds, paradise!

Affordable, four stories with two large [and] long wings, family atmosphere with friendly staff, qualified professionals onsite who are RNs (registered nurses) and LPNs (Licensed Practitioner Nurses [Licensed Nurse Practitioners]), satisfied with the medical assistance, staff…was wonderful, staff is very friendly and warm, [after father passed] comfort and care from the hands-on staff as well as management was something that my family and I appreciated immensely, staff is very helpful.

Management is very responsive [to] the needs of residents and their family members, Great service, Warm and attentive staff, memory care section had own dining room and activity room, carpeting and lanais in each room, peaceful and quiet, dining room…restaurant-style and looked good, Rooms are very nice size, rooms were really beautiful and had a variety, Abundant activities, [facility transport] takes them out to shopping…and to doctors' appointments or to go visit friends and relatives, Bingo, Scrabble, cards, live music, a TV room with a huge TV screen

What they didn’t like: Oceanside…promised “aging in place” — however, when his needs increased Oceanside did not honor that promise, too remote, building inside was stuffy, you could smell the odor, too expensive

Hawaii Kai – Honolulu, HI 96825 [Oahu]

Hawaii Kai provides Assisted Living and Retirement Communities.

  • Caring– 36 Reviews, Average Rating 4.3
  • SeniorAdvisor– 17 Reviews, Average Rating 4
  • SeniorHomes– 9 Reviews, Average Rating 4.3
  • GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: can have [a] pet, facilities are awesome, the building was beautiful, the atmosphere…really calming, clean and bright, a lot of freedom to move around and…visit different parts of the building, quiet, facility was…spacious, clean [and] huge, upscale, not within walking distance of shopping but [facility supplies shuttle] transportation, most wonderful quality of this community is its spaciousness, very open and very nice facility, reasonable rates, rent includes everything, doesn’t have a buy-in requirement, parking lot was adequate, almost like a resort or country club, well-maintained, very homey, light and airy, home-like atmosphere, didn't see anybody there that wasn't happy, staff members very accommodating, very professional, management staff is good, a lot of support from the staff.

They get to know their residents very quickly, a very caring environment, very responsive to [family] concerns, staff was fantastic, [tour guide] very knowledgeable and very caring, They were all having fun, a friendly atmosphere, three meals a day, dining area pretty close to where the rooms were, [assigned seating] for meals…makes the serving of the meal very easy for everyone, food good, very healthy food, food was very good, definitely nutritious, food is excellent, Good variety of meals in a relaxing environment, can order from a menu, casual dining, more than willing to accommodate special dietary needs, low-salt and low-sugar, [Staff] walk you to your meals and back to [your] room, They'll even bring a tray to [apartment] if [resident] doesn’t feel up to going down to the dining room, Very airy feeling in the hallways, a good bus service.

Everybody talks to one another, koi pond, fountains, good security, nice and very secure area, separate cottages, rooms are very nice, rooms very spacious could bring your own furniture, rooms…were very light and open, a little kitchenette and a nice bathroom, a lot of different [living] options, some apartments have a washer/dryer, change of linens every Friday and [apartment] clean once a week, very large studio, can have an apartment or…a cottage, library was great, puzzles, some outdoor space, activity room, Hanafuda, Bingo, mahjong, exercise, yoga, puzzles, walking areas, light weights, treadmills, work out machines and a lot of exercise equipment, exercise classes, dancing, singing, movies, card games, chair exercise for arthritis, a woodworking shop, [facility plans] trips out on the town

What they didn’t like: food inferior like it was frozen food, seemed too commercial, only drawback was the price, Hawaii Kai is too small for the two of us, the rent is too high, [some of the units are] near the canal…When there is a flood it gets stinky, housekeeping wasn't that great, too much like a hotel, rooms were small and sparse, food was horrible, only one toilet for two bedrooms, dinner at 5 way too early, would like to have more to do at night time [other than watch TV], [facility] shows its age, doesn’t have assisted nursing on premises, [in assisted living unit] workers need to be a little better trained, once a week cleaning but only diligent when family is around, apartments…were small and plain

‘Ilima at Leihano – Kapolei, HI 96707 [Oahu]

‘Ilima at Lehihano provides Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care.

  • Caring– 7 Reviews, Average Rating 4
  • SeniorAdvisor– 6 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
  • SeniorHomes– 2 Reviews, Average Rating 5
  • GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: rooms were very nice, awesome facility, clean and roomy, very clean, peaceful, new and sparkling, uncluttered and un-busy environment because it was out in the country, food very good, serve three meals a day, variety of the meals…outstanding, area very nice, staff very nice [and] very helpful and very informative, staff was awesome, living conditions were great, [staff] checked on [resident] all the time and encouraged her to be active and do stuff with the [other residents], staff and the residents were very nice, price sounded very reasonable for the services they offered.

If you require assisted living you can stay in your room and they would come to your room to assist you, the people are very accommodating, everything from exercise to a few trips, a pool, gym, several large gathering rooms, arts and crafts, happy hour, different social functions, art classes and excursions, [resident] had a refrigerator and a microwave in her room, a garden to walk around and sit in, had transportation, memory floor was on the ground floor so that the residents can go outside within the gated community, activities that were along the lines of education and entertainment, The staff was wonderful, a lot of group activities, lectures, bingo

What they didn’t like: price too high, sales follow-up very poor

The Plaza at Mililani – Mililani, HI 96789 [Oahu]

The Plaza at Mililani offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Hali’a Memory Care, and Short-term Respite Stay.

  • Caring– 7 Reviews, Average Rating 4.6
  • SeniorAdvisor– 1 Review, Average Rating 5
  • SeniorHomes– 1 Review, Average Rating 4
  • GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: memory care unit very nice, [facility] clean…and well kept, lovely, they had a lot of activities, very beautiful and in a nice location, well maintained, clean and airy facility, centrally located and close to one of the hospitals, a lot of doctor offices around the area, rooms were very beautiful and had nice views, just right and spacious, rooms were homey, rooms were very nice and very clean, rooms were small but more than enough for a senior living alone, large dining areas also nice, three meals a day, laundry, once-a-week cleaning, bistro was also nice, The staff was nice and always seemed to be around, an emergency nurse on site, cable in the rooms, they have [both] a meal plan [and] a little kitchen in their apartments, have a call button that went down to the main desk, If they didn't see a resident at meals or they think something is wrong they…call into their apartment, have shuttle services if the residents needed to go shopping or go someplace, crafts, board games, bingo, trivia questions, exercise programs

What they didn’t like: Don’t allow wheelchairs, private pay [accepted and] doesn’t accept Medicaid, [rooms] small and the whole area was small, very expensive

The Plaza at Moanalua – Honolulu, HI 96819 [Oahu]

The Plaza at Moanalua provides Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Respite (Short-term Stay).

  • Caring– 5 Reviews, Average Rating 4.6
  • SeniorAdvisor– 2 Reviews, Average Rating 5
  • SeniorHomes– No Reviews
  • GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: facility is beautiful, staff goes in and cleans it once a week, [Staff] wash their sheets and towels for [residents], They have a podiatrist and a physical therapist [who come] one or 2 days a week, staff is very friendly and they’re happy to be there, [facility has] a shuttle [residents] can use if [their] doctor’s appointments are in the morning, [staff] would check in on [residents] on a regular basis and several times during the night, this facility partners with VA which could help lower costs, They serve 3 meals, really liked their dining room…It was more family-style so residents can sit down and socialize really well, the food there…is awesome, lunch was very good, restaurant-style, dining room area is beautiful.

My father is in a two-bedroom so he has a roommate, [resident’s] room has a refrigerator [and] a microwave and a sink area; there is no cooking though, rooms are good, [rooms] spacious, a garden and a nice walking area, a path that goes around the premises where they take the residents walking, seemed like they had more outside areas for the residents to walk and get fresh air, exercise classes, exercise class was packed – it was so popular that they needed a second class, All the residents looked very happy, upbeat place with lots of activities, mahjong, games, trips to stores and shopping areas, tai-chi, chair aerobics classes every day, bingo, they have someone who does hair, field trips, movie nights, tailgates in the theater room

What they didn’t like: need to work on the nursing staff [who] are too young…[and] not efficient enough

The Plaza at Waikiki – Honolulu, HI 96815 [Oahu]

The Plaza at Waikiki offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Respite (Short-term Stay).

  • Caring– 21 Reviews, Average Rating 4.2
  • SeniorAdvisor– 17 Reviews, Average Rating 4
  • SeniorHomes– 9 Reviews, Average Rating 4.33
  • GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: [Facility] is new and very clean, gorgeous, open floor plan, well laid out rooms, bright and spacious common areas, right in Waikiki, location…away from tourist areas and across from Hawaii Convention Center, very quiet, like a hotel, staff was very friendly, sales staff answered all of our questions, residents looked happy and not bored because it's in a resort area, dining area was nice, [staff] really nice and very accommodating, staff took very good care of their residents and [were] very patient, a locked entryway so you can only get in and out when the door is opened by one of the staff, [tour guide was] very knowledgeable, rooms were very nice, each room has a view.

Activities are pretty good, field trips to different places, a theater where they show movies with popcorn, a barber shop, a hairdresser, a terrace where they have get-togethers with family, barbecues and things like that, impressive…barbecue area, activities depend on the floor the resident is staying on, [facility] very expensive but very nice, apartments were nice, rooms well designed and there was more closet space, The service is good, The meals are good, nice dining area, very good desserts after lunch and after dinner, food is fattening and very salty but it is very good, food was delicious, blown away by the staff friendliness and the tasty food, very good food…is restaurant quality, families are welcome, music programs, morning exercises, movies, daily activities are stimulating and fun, look out the windows in the apartments [and] the view will blow you away, [residents form] a dance group, mahjong groups, shopping centers nearby

What they didn’t like: don't have a patio, need to lower price, they raise their prices every year, food was very bland, couldn't open the windows [in apartments], a little bit too expensive especially because you had to share a room, rooms are small; even their gathering room is quite small, the rooms were very small, we would have to get three meals per day, The Plaza was nice but…the service [provided not worth the cost], too industrial [an atmosphere], extremely expensive, wanted a community that was more spacious, they furnished the room for us [and] charged quite a lot of money to rent that furniture

Regency at Hualalai – Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 [Hawaii Island]

Regency at Kailua-Kona offers Retirement/Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Respite Care.

  • Caring– 2 Reviews, Average Rating 4
  • SeniorAdvisor– 4 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
  • SeniorHomes– No Reviews
  • GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: building always clean and tidy, immaculate, staff very friendly and courteous, helpful, [management staff] are the best, swimming pool, recreation room, staff really good at integrating [residents] into the community, doctor is right across the street, activities all day, musical events, dining, dancing, weight room, barber shop, a nice lounge area, exercise areas, rooms are beautiful, really like a hotel, you [can] sort of decorate your front door…with your name, seems…a little bit more personal than some of the other places that I have seen, the dining room is terrific, food was OK, food is wonderful, [views of] the beautiful ocean and sunsets [and] Kailua Mountain

What they didn’t like: looked like a hotel, they only want a certain type of resident