Kapanui Family
The Hawaiian word “kuleana” (responsibility) defines Kaleo and Kamaile’s work caring for their grandfather. College is on hold. Grandpa is the only family they have left.
Kapanui Family
The Hawaiian word “kuleana” (responsibility) defines Kaleo and Kamaile’s work caring for their grandfather. College is on hold. Grandpa is the only family they have left.

Kapanui Family

Waimea, Hawaii

The Hawaiian word “kuleana” (responsibility) defines Kaleo and Kamaile’s care for their grandfather. College is on hold. Grandpa is the only family they have left.

College on Hold

Twenty-six-year old Kamaile Kapanui dreams of one day studying oceanography and setting sail on a research boat from her home in Waimea, on Hawaii’s Big Island. But for now, she’s putting those dreams on pause. These days, Kamaile is rarely far away from home. She looks after her grandfather, Bobby, an 80-year-old Korean War veteran with Alzheimer’s. “School will always be there,” says Kamaile. “Grandpa won’t.” As Bobby’s primary caregiver, working as a deckhand on a snorkeling tour boat and hanging out with her grandfather keeps her busy enough.

Bumps in the Night

Kamaile’s younger brother Kaleo, 18, has had to pull back on his upcoming college course load to help with his grandfather. The help Kaleo provides is subtle, but crucial. For example, Kaleo sleeps in the same room as his grandfather, “Just to watch him to make sure he’s all good,” he says. “Sometimes he wakes up at 3 o’clock in the morning and doesn’t go back to sleep until, like, 6, so I’m up all night trying to get him to go back to sleep,” he says.