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Tag Archives: Family Caregivers Month

  • We Did Not Go Gentle

    When it is all over
    I will shout so all can hear.

    “We put up a great fight, didn’t we?
    We didn’t just sit back and cower with fear,
    We didn’t just sit back and curse this thief
    As he quietly stole into our lives."

    This final poem in our series of posts to bring attention to National Alzheimer's Awareness and National Family Caregivers' Month is from Mosaic Moon. Author Frances Kakugawa continues her imagery of Alzheimer's as a thief, one to be fought against bravely, and with dignity.

    In addition to the graphic posted below, we created a video to go along with Frances' reading of this poem at a presentation for the Hawaii Child & Family Services organization. To see more videos for Frances' readings, visit our YouTube channel or her blog.

  • Please Don't — How Can Writing Help Caregivers?

    November is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month. To commemorate this occasion, every week we will be posting a poem by Frances H. Kakugawa, author of Mosaic Moon and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, titles aimed at helping caregivers and families cope with the stress of caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

    On the surface, it's hard to see the connection between writing — much less poetry writing — caregiving and Alzheimer's disease. Frances explains:

    What is there when poetry appears on paper, and after? There is the reality of what Alzheimer's disease is and how caregiving forces you and your loved one to live in the center of this disease. In our pursuit of using writing to understand this disease, our loved ones, and ourselves, the reality of what this disease does is not forgotten nor swept under the art of poetry or song.  It forces us, along with our loved ones, to reinvent ourselves and to continuously examine what it is that we are inventing and for whom.

    In "Please Don't" (from Mosaic Moon), Frances acknowledges the fear that Alzheimer's brought into her home.

  • The Lie — Caregivers and Coping with Alzheimer's

    November is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month. To commemorate this occasion, every week we will be posting a poem by Frances H. Kakugawa, author of Mosaic Moon and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, titles aimed at helping caregivers and families cope with the stress of caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

    Frances views writing as a valuable tool for caregivers, a way to find release. "Writing requires no special tools, only a pen and your voice." It is a safe place for caregivers to express their innermost thoughts, even the feelings of anger or sadness that we may find shameful to reveal to others.

    My hope for caregivers is that my poetry and the poems and stories of those who have contributed their work to my books, Mosaic Moon and Breaking the Silence, will give you comfort, help you feel you are not alone, and encourage you to join our voices in preserving the life that must go on during and after caregiving. Only then can we confront this thief that comes into our lives.

    The following poem, "The Lie," appears in Mosaic Moon, along with more of Frances' work and contributions from members of her caregivers' writing workshop, led by Frances for the Alzheimer's Association Aloha Chapter.

  • At the Senior Fair - An Alzheimer's Awareness Poem

    November is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month. To commemorate this occasion, every week we will be posting a poem by Frances H. Kakugawa, author of Mosaic Moon and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, titles aimed at helping caregivers and families cope with the stress of caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

    Says Frances:

    Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most baffling and arduous journeys for caregivers and loved ones. Even while we are burdened with the everyday stresses, like cleaning up BM and repeating the same thing over and over until we want to scream, we need discover how to muddle through so dignity and honor can be preserved. It becomes our mission to give care to ourselves so our loved ones can in turn, receive the best from us. Writing can give us that way to care for ourselves.

    This excerpt from the poem "Senior Fair" captures Frances' thoughts as she takes a shift in the Alzheimer's Association's booth at a senior health expo. "Senior Fair" can be found in its entirety in Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry.

    We invite you to share these weekly poems and graphics via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter — or however else you like — and help us raise awareness that as difficult as it may be to cope with Alzheimer’s and caring for loved ones, there are resources to provide help. Many families struggle with finding effective ways to deal with the burdens of caring for older relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s. Author Frances Kakugawa offers a simple start: Wouldn’t the caregiving experience be better if we started by treating our loved ones with dignity? If we remembered who they are as people, instead of only being frustrated that they don’t remember what we just said?

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