Small Talk

“Aging and Caregiving with Dignity” Advocate Offers Hilo, Maui Workshops

May 22nd, 2015

Author and educator Frances H. Kakugawa will conduct a series of book signings and presentations in May and June, speaking on how to revise our view of Alzheimer’s caregiving as a burden and instead see it as a gift. 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.

Frances Kakugawa. Photo by Jason Kimura.

Frances Kakugawa. Photo by Jason Kimura.

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 demands 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 care 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 accept the changed “new” person in their lives.

Art courtesy: Watermark Publishing

Art courtesy: Watermark Publishing

This is the driving concept behind her latest book, I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving (Watermark Publishing, 2014), in which Kakugawa presents a new vision of caregiving—a world that recognizes that a loved one with Alzheimer’s is an evolving individual who may have their own reality. The book is a reminder that both loved one and caregiver deserve compassion, respect and a life with dignity.

I Am Somebody is Kakugawa’s fourth book on caregiving. Her previous works include Watermark Publishing titles Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, a children’s book about families living with grandparents with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses (a Mom’s Choice Award® Silver recipient), and Breaking the Silence from Willow Valley Press of California.

The award-winning author of eleven books, and a regular column in The Hawai‘i Herald, “Dear Frances,” for caregivers, Kakugawa helps others embrace caregiving and, through writing, discover their own humanity.

Kakugawa was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawai‘i in Kapoho, a plantation village covered by lava flows. During her years as an educator, she taught in Hawaii, Micronesia and Michigan and lectured at the University of Hawaii. She is the recipient of the Hawai‘i-Pacific Gerontological Society Award for her work with the elderly and appears in Living Legacy: Outstanding Japanese Women of the 20th Century in Hawai‘i.

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

Sat., May 23; 9 AM – 11 AM Hale Mahaolu Elima Community Hall 11 Mahaolu St., Kahului, Maui For more information call Lynsey at 808-242-8636 or Kathleen at 808-871-5804. No reservation required.

Sat., May 30; 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Basically Books 160 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo

Books will be available at her events and are also sold at bookstores and other retail outlets and by online booksellers, or direct from the publisher at

2 Responses to ““Aging and Caregiving with Dignity” Advocate Offers Hilo, Maui Workshops”

  1. E. Wang MD:

    When and where is oahu event?

  2. Diane Ako:

    They filled it so asked me not to promote it.

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