Posts Tagged ‘Alzheimer’s support’

To my friends in the West Covina area, drop by to say hello. I’ll be speaking at:
Genki Conference: Caregivers’ Edition
Saturday, July 18, 2015
East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center.
Sponsored by: Keiro Health Senior Health Care

Title of my lecture: Caregiving, a Gift and Legacy
My books will also be available for purchase.


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11-2014-Art-of-Caregiving-MMy marketing manager at my publisher’s office says she wants to apologize for working on my event calendar before having coffee. The wrong date for my Modesto workshop was posted on my web calendar for a few days. (Thank you to Alison H. for calling this to our attention!)

The correct date is Wednesday, November 12. The session will be held at the Alzheimer/Dementia Support Center in Modesto, California (700 McHenry Avenue, Suite B). I will be sharing tips on caregiving and how writing can help you on your caregiving journey (even if you’ve never written anything longer than a grocery list). Check-in and refreshments start at 10am. Lecture begins at 10:30, followed by resources and book signing at noon. To register, please call 209.577.0018. Respite will be available.

This event is presented by the Alzheimer’s Association and co-sponsored by the Alzheimer/Dementia Support Center. Refreshments provided by The Stratford at Beyer Park.

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I’ll be posting my 2013 events calendar as they are finalized.

Oakland, CA

May 4, 2013

25th-Seal-150x150ASEB’s annual art auction will be held on May 4, 2013, from 6-9pm. This year’s fundraiser will be a celebration of 25 years of service to the East Bay community.

This year, our event will be moving to a new location, the Claremont Country Club in Oakland (not to be confused with the Claremont Hotel).

The evening will feature live and silent auction, live jazz, wonderful food and drink, and, of course, a celebration of the continuing spirit of individuals affected by memory loss.

Keynote speaker is poet and author Frances H. Kakugawa.

ASEB 25th Anniversary Celebration
May 4, 2013
Claremont Country Club
5295 Broadway Terrace
Oakland, California 94618

For more information, call (510) 644-8292

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  • The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i and Watermark Publishing present a series of author readings and discussions with former educator and caregiving advocate Frances Kakugawa at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, 2454 S. Beretania St., on Sat., Nov. 10, 9:30am – 12:30pm.

    9:30 – 10:00am – Kapoho presentation (Historical Gallery); Frances will read from her newest book, Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii and speak on the experience of growing up Japanese-American after the bombing of Pearl Harbor

    10:00 – 10:30am – Book signing at Author’s Table outside Gift Shop

    10:30 – 11:00am – Aging With Dignity (Historical Gallery); Frances will read from her works on caregiving and address the topics of: easing the burdens of caregiving through creative writing, how to bring dignity back to the caregiving experience, and coping with Alzheimer’s for families and children

    11:00 – 11:30am – Children’s book reading (Historical Gallery); Frances will read from her children’s books, Wordsworth the Poet, Wordsworth Dances the Waltz and her brand-new release, Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!

    11:30am – 12:30pm – Book signing at Author’s Table outside Gift Shop

2454 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96826

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November is Alzheimer’s Month so I’ll be devoting my posts to Alzheimer’s disease, to the courageous men and women caregivers, and to the equally courageous ones being cared for. Nestled between will be a look at some of my own experiences as a caregiver.

The Curtain Rises & Falls

The menu said a lot at Mimi’s restaurant. I noticed a list of mini-sized entrees since my last visit. I also noticed tables being filled by the elderly. While deciding to go with a healthy salad or a cholesterol-filled shrimp entrée, I saw a woman come in with a walker, led by a daughter or a friend. The woman with the walker was dressed in a blouse with a blue scarf draped around her neck with matching blue slacks. Her hair was coiffed as my hair, minutes after a visit to the hairdresser.

I followed them with my eyes, watched the woman’s companion sit the woman gently in her chair, fold and lean her walker against the table. The woman sat without looking at the menu. Her companion ordered for both.

A giant-sized bruise began to spread inside of me and settled at the bottom of my stomach; that same unidentified dull ache that often accompanies quiet Sunday afternoons.

I thought of the numerous times I had played this same scenario with my mother. I, too, used to dress her in her Sunday best after her weekly visits to the hairdresser and we’d dine out in restaurants for lunch or dinner. I knew her favorites so ordered the same Japanese noodle dish or chicken sukiyaki. I ran the monologue.

What was not observable was the pain I felt as I tried to disguise both our lives in an environment that spelled Normal. Look at us, I showed off, two nicely dressed women, like everyone else, dining out. But I knew our lives were anything but normal.

I observe this same drama played over and over again each time I dine out, with under-studies playing my mother. And I am still there, holding the script, with numerous takes.


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We sat around the table, caregivers, with pens in hand, ready to
weaken that Alzheimer’s thief. And we did.

A Daughter’s Lament
(the labor of becoming our own mother)

It’s as if the overcast day has
Blown this unknown Niobe of tears
Into our midst.

Silently she rains down her
Salty drops until it puddles at her youthful feet.

The first daughter tells her sorrow … “I left my mother
In “that” home, my sister hates me, it breaks my heart.”

Our Niobe gives an audible sob and we can feel her
Tears lap at our ankles.

The second daughter speaks “My husband can no longer drive
He could get lost … and he knows it.”

More tears, enough to put a monsoon to shame, and yet …

Another daughter has gone to work, left her mother-child
At day-care.

The deluge continue, tissues mound into a white mountain now
We are sitting in a sacred lake.

Another daughter: “My brilliant husband can’t walk…on the floor
I can’t … too heavy and my mom needs more and there’s no money…”
She reads a poem, crying, out of breath.

By now we have become a Greek chorus
Buoyed on salty swells of tears.

Our new daughter speaks
Amid gasping sobs, she cries, a desperate howl
For the mother she has lost, but still holds,
And will not let go.

By Mary Swisher, caregiver


A Poet/Caregiver’s Perfect World

Imagine this:
A perfect world
Where grief and sadness
Are obsolete as
Yesterday’s fashion.

Imagine this:
A world so perfect,
The tears shed
Are over  first daffodils,
A twelve year old’s voice,
“I floated on air, being with you.”
She walks out clutching poems of love
Written about her Grandpa.
Imagine a world so perfect,
Daughters shed tears for beauty and love
That leave them wordless for their
Significance.  Beauty and Love
And nothing else.

No, I can’t imagine
A world so perfect.
Otherwise, where
Will the poets go?

by Frances Kakugawa

( I facilitate a Writing Support Group for Caregivers in Sacramento, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association. Call Alz Assoc for info: 916-930-9080)

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From Anchorage II

(Christian’s mom added the following  after receiving my book “Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry.” She supports me in my belief that caregiving becomes a life-changing humanistic tool to anyone caring for someone affected by this thief called Alzheimer’s.)

Thank you  Thank you Thank you Thank You Thank You

“Mosaic Moon”: I’ve been reading and rereading. Some of it is way too familiar, it hurts. I cry, I laugh, I relate. I marvel at how my feelings have been put down on paper! Somehow, it helps that others have shared these same feelings I feel, but I keep hidden inside.

Mom continues to decline. Dad at 87 is her oh-so-loving, stubborn caregiver. Yes, this journey with Alzheimer’s has transformed us caregivers – my Dad, my sons, my husband. Each day is of value, each day is a gift. We look for the joy, breath in the hope and rest in the peace.

Mosaic Moon came at the right time. For some reason, this Christmas was more emotional with regard to Mom. I would read a bit, I would cry, then I would feel refreshed and strong and ready to face the challenges.


Gayle Mathiesen

( No, thank YOU, Gayle, for bringing beauty into our caregiving life.


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