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Archive for the ‘Caregiving’ Category

Thank you, participants and Brookdale Foundation and RAPP for all the welcoming mats. It was an honor to  help open the conference with a keynote address  followed by book signings and two workshops on the following day. It was a nice way to introduce my new book: Dangerous Women: Poetry for the Ageless. Participants are to be highly commended for making a difference in the lives of our elders, our children and in the humanities.

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I think humor helped when I kept saying, “Hey, I’m not in the Obit, I’m still alive.” I’m in the third week of pneumonia, lungs are still not completely healed.  I was so sure I was going to die from complications but such drama, thankfully, didn’t happen.

I need to heal because I’m giving the keynote address to open a national conference in Denver next month, followed by two workshops on the following day: a workshop for caregivers and one for relatives who are raising children without their parents.

Had an excellent caregiver, nurse in Red. I did tell him one night,” Can you fire the chef who did tonight’s soup, it’s too salty.” He said, “I already fired him.” One night I told him I wanted Kapoho style healing food: Vienna sausage, hot rice and eggs. He looked stunned and said, “Nobody eats that stuff.” I got up and added shoyu (soy sauce) and sugar to a whole can of Vienna sausage, and was it good with rice and eggs! And healing began.

Spam is next on the menu.

The sound of the washer in the middle of the night brought back some vivid memories. In one hour, I had four bathroom accidents. I was too ill to do anything about it. That sound of the washer reminded me of the times we used the washer in the middle of the night when we cared for our mothers. And here, I was now the cause of it with Red doing the cleaning and washing. I kept thinking of a poem: The sound of the washer at 3 a.m..

STay tuned to the announcement of my next poetry book that is being released next week.

 

 

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A Wordsworth Tree Brings Solace

 

palomia tree

When Raj went to Hawaii in 2013, she remembered my children’s  book Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer. Wordsworth and his friends write  poetry to save trees and Wordsworth asks readers to plant a Wordsworth tree. Raj brought two Palomia seeds back to Sacramento. The Royal Palomia took root.

Raj deeply believed that the tree would show its first blossom during her mother’s last year as she lived with Alzheimer’s Disease. It did. The tree bloomed for the first time soon after her mother died. Yesterday, we sat before the blossoming Palomia to honor the memory of Raj’s mother. We sipped tea and marveled how Alzheimer’s Disease had brought all of us together.

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WHEN I AM OLD

by Frances H. Kakugawa

 

When I am old, my dearest,

Bring me no flannel nightgowns.

Long-sleeved with buttons up to my chin,

House slippers lined with flannel.

Whoever told you old is cold

Ought to be hung up from an oak.

 

Let me feel once again that red spaghetti strap of

A negligee falling off my shoulders,

As I lay in bed between satin sheets.

(Maybe not satin, as I could easily slip to the floor.)

Let me feel that cold oak floor under my feet.

I want to feel! I’m not dead yet, you know.

 

Come sit with me, even if the cat’s got my tongue.

Just sit and read or do what you enjoy most.

Sharing oxygen in silence brings far more joy

Than a Q&A on what I had for breakfast

Or a game to jump start my memory.

Ah, memory. How I detest that word.

 

But listen. Since I don’t plan to be old,

Delete this poem and let us just be.

Tell me a joke, take me to the mall,

Bring me a red rose, or simply sneak in

A glass of rosé. And laugh with me

For no reason at all, as we sip

Together in our Happy Hour.

 

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brookdale2016_booksIt was an honor to have been invited to present two sessions at this conference attended by inspiring people from across the United States who are making a difference in our 50 states, working with caregivers and family members who are raising children without their parents.

Whenever I’m on the road, the magic word becomes “Hawai‘i.” What joy to meet three very special people with Hawai‘i connections in Denver this past weekend.

So here we are, the Hawai‘i Foursome: Dr. Matthew Kaplan of Pennsylvania State University, PA; Terri Byers, Director, and Lani Sakamoto, Supervisor, at the Executive Office of Aging, Honolulu; and me.

brookdale2016_hiconnection

Dr. Kaplan spent many years at Hawaii Pacific University and now works with Space and Places to build meaningful inter-generational relationships.

Thank you, Mary Asenjo, Carmen Mendieta, and Melinda Perez-Porter of Brookdale Foundation Group for your continuous interest in my work.

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essence-of-care-flyerMark your calendars! I have been invited to present at the Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center event The Essence of Care – a retreat designed to provide family caregivers with respite, rejuvenation and renewal.

Please join us on Saturday, November 5, 2016, at Town and Country Lutheran Church, 4049 Marconi Avenue in Sacramento from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

Registration begins at 9:30am | Retreat 10am – 3pm
COST: $40 (snacks, lunch and materials included) NOTE: If cost is a concern, limited scholarships are available.
RESPITE: If you need someone to care for your loved one in order to attend this retreat, free in-home respite care is available to qualified caregivers.

REGISTER/QUESTIONS: Please contact Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center (916) 728-9333. Space is limited – Register today! Deadline to register – October 28th

More information is here: http://www.deloro.org/upcoming-events/2016/11/5/the-essence-of-care and you can also download their registration form there.

SPONSORS: Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center, Elder Care Management of Northern California, Senior Care Solutions, Triple-R Adult Day Program, Colleen Watters Attorney at Law, and LPL Financial

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A big “Thank you!” to Roberta Murray and the Hawaii Community Caregiver Network for inviting me to deliver the keynote address at their annual caregiver conference. It was a nostalgic return to Kona where my teaching career began.

Some photos for now, more stories to come.

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