Community News

November 24, 2021

Kathleen Parker: Making the Lives of Kalākaua Residents Beautiful

It has been said that “Outer beauty turns heads, but inner beauty turns the heart.” Kathleen Parker, who has served as a beautician for the residents of Kalākaua Gardens since it opened five years ago, knows this all too well.

For Kathleen, serving as a beautician is more than a job; it is her calling. Whenever she is at Kalākaua Gardens, she embarks on an adventure into the lives of others. On Tuesdays and Fridays, you’ll find her cutting, perming, or coloring the hair of Kalākaua Gardens residents and, in the process, gets to discover the richness and beauty of their lives.

A Rewarding for Experience

“It’s been wonderful. I like seeing the joy in their eyes and on their faces. They are so grateful for the service,” Kathleen said. “The residents feel good when they look their best and I get to learn about their life stories. I’ve often asked, ‘Who is being rewarded, them or me?’

For example, she has been genuinely intrigued with the experiences shared by resident Roy Fujii, who is mentioned in the prologue about his role in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II in the recently released book, “Facing the Mountain,” by author Daniel James Brown. She also recalls being so enraptured by the stories of Walter (Last Name) who worked on the telescopes on the Big Island that she “had to put my comb down” and listen with undivided attention.

Living for Each Other

Kathleen said that just as she enjoys hearing about the lives of the residents, they also enjoy learning about her life. “They live vicariously through our experiences, so we should freely share with them,” she said, noting that it is a reciprocal relationship.

“The residents here have been working all of their lives and they are used to getting their hair done,” she added. “That doesn’t mean that stops when you live in a senior community. Some have even told me they wouldn’t have moved to Kalākaua Gardens if they didn’t have this service!”

Exuding Empathy

Over the past 40 years, Kathleen has used her beauty skills to start similar programs in Hawaii, including Arcadia, Hawaii Kai Retirement Community, Kāhala Nui, and One Kalakaua. Kathleen’s extensive experience in working with kupuna has taught her valuable lessons, emphasizing that empathy is key.

She joked that she understands their challenges and knows how to build a rapport with them because she herself is nearing the age of the residents and recognizes everyone should be treated with respect and dignity.

“I was about to help a resident out of his wheelchair and he told me, ‘Don’t help me. You’re as old as I am!’” she laughed. “I tell people that in a few years, I may be moving in with them!”

Independent living residents and assisted living residents sign up for her services, while the Kalākaua Gardens staff or family members sign up for memory care or skilled nursing care residents. In addition to hair care, Kathleen would like to see other services offered to the residents in the future, including manicures, facials and massages.

October 1, 2021

Kalākaua Gardens is celebrating our 5th Anniversary in a BIG WAY!

In 2016, Kalākaua Gardens celebrated its grand opening and opened its doors to welcome its first residents. It was the first senior living community in Honolulu to offer independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services all under one roof for a monthly rental fee.

Today, Kalākaua Gardens continues to be the only senior living community that offers these valuable services without requiring an exorbitant, upfront buy-in fee.

The excellent quality care, convenient proximity to Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako and Waikiki makes Kalākaua Gardens a preferred location. Over the past five years, Kalākaua Gardens has served hundreds of kūpuna and their families and we would like to make our services available to more families. Enjoy all three anniversary specials when you move in before December 31, 2021. See for yourself! Call us at (808) 892-4502 or click HERE schedule a tour. 日本語でもご案内いたします!

July 1, 2021

Welcome to Miho Katagiri!よろしくお願いします

Kalākaua Gardens is glad to welcome Miho Katagiri as Community Relations Coordinator. She works with Tom Eustace, Sales and Marketing Director, to ensure residents have a superior experience, beginning with their admissions and move-in.

Miho, who is fluent in both Japanese and English, has become a friend of Japanese-speaking residents and family members. Before joining Kālakaua Gardens, Miho had been an educator with the Bishop Museum’s Education Department for the past 10 years, responsible for serving Asia Pacific visitors.

To book an in-person tour with Miho Katagiri, contact her at (808) 892-4502 or


Kalakaua Gardens