Small Talk

Aging and Caregiving With Dignity

October 26th, 2012

Noted California author and educator Frances H. Kakugawa will conduct a series of Hawai‘i book signings and presentations in November, which is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month.



Kakugawa travels the country speaking to health organizations, medical school programs, and caregiver and community groups about caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or other debilitating, long-term illnesses. Her message: that bringing dignity to the caregiving process makes the experience less stressful and more rewarding for both patient and caregiver. Kakugawa also advocates the power of poetry and creative writing to help ease the burden of caregiving—and to allow the caregiver to come to terms with the emotions of the situation, thereby building a healthier relationship with the patient.

In Hawai‘i, although many families share multi-generational homes, caregivers often have difficulty finding effective ways to deal with the burdens of caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s. The experience can be stressful and frustrating, as well as confusing for young children, and Kakugawa strives to help families better cope with the changed “new” person in their lives.

Frances H. Kakugawa is a Hawai‘i-born educator who for five years was the primary caregiver for her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother. She has published 10 books, including six from Watermark Publishing, which have won among them “Best Book” awards in children’s and non-fiction categories from both Hawai‘i and California book publishers’ associations, as well as a Mom’s Choice silver award for Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, a children’s book about families living with grandparents with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses.

Event schedule follows (all events listed are free and open to the public):

Sat., Nov. 3; 1:00 PM

Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall

Children’s Book Reading & Book Signing

A portion of sales helps benefit the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Children’s Center

Sat., Nov. 10; 9:30AM – 12:30PM

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i

Kapoho Presentation, 9:30 - 10:00AM, Historical Gallery

Book Signing, 10:00 - 10:30AM

Aging With Dignity Presentation, 10:30 - 11:00AM, Historical Gallery

Children’s Book Reading, 11:00 - 11:30AM, Historical Gallery

Book Signing, 11:30AM - 12:30PM

Thurs., Nov. 14; 8:30AM – Noon

AARP Caregiver Conference, Ala Moana Hotel, Hibiscus Ballroom

Keynote Address, 9AM

Workshop: A Caregiver’s Pen, 11AM

To register: 1-877-926-8300 or

In her presentations, Kakugawa will draw on material from her caregiving books, Wordsworth Dances the Waltz; Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry; and Breaking the Silence (Willow Valley Press). She will also conduct readings and signings for her other books, Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii; Teacher, You Look Like a Horse!; Wordsworth the Poet and her newest release, Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!—the third in her Wordsworth children’s book series.

Books will be available at her events (except for the AARP seminar), and are also sold at bookstores and other retail outlets and by online booksellers, or direct from the publisher at Contact Watermark Publishing, 1088 Bishop St., Suite 310, Honolulu, HI 96813; telephone 1-808-587-7766; toll-free 1-866- 900-BOOK; fax 1-808-521-3461; e-mail

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