I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity And Compassion To Alzheimer'S Caregiving

Watermark Publishing, LLC

I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity And Compassion To Alzheimer'S Caregiving

  • Publish Date: 2014-10-22
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Frances H Kakugawa
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The challenges of Alzheimers diseasethe physical burdens, financial costs, emotional turmoil and family strifecan reduce our loved one to a he or a she, a person almost devoid of humanity. As caregivers, our lives revolve around the basics, like doctors appointments and dressing, feeding and cleaning up after our loved ones. Their life becomes our life; our life becomes theirs. But who are they now that this disease has taken over? And just as important, who are we? In I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimers Caregiving, dignity-in-caregiving advocate Frances H. Kakugawa presents a new vision of caregiving.

I Am Somebody is a reminder that both loved one and caregiver deserve compassion, respect and a life with dignity. As a caregiver for her Alzheimers-afflicted mother for many years, Kakugawa often felt embattled and at odds with her mother. Through writing, she had a revelation. I wrote a poem, from my mothers point of view, imagining what she would say: When I soil my clothing, or do something absurd, / Do not tell me, Why didnt you? / If I could, I would. This idea came to haunt me and became my mantra whenever I wanted to shout in exasperation, Why did you? or Why didnt you?

In poetic voice, Kakugawa explored further what her mother might have wanted to say: Speak to me, for I am still here. I understand hugs and smiles and loving kindness. Speak to me and not around me. I am not a she or her or even a room number. Having put herself into the position of patienta label she eschews for the negative attitudes it engendersKakugawa discovered her attitude toward caregiving had shifted. Once I embraced this new person who was evolving before me, once I let go of the person I wanted my mother to be and instead let her be herself, caregiving turned into a freer flowing river.

I Am Somebody offers guidance in using poetry and journaling to become a more compassionate caregiver. It is a therapeutic tool providing advice and insights in the form of poems and journal entries from twelve individualsmen and women with a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, ages, faiths and education who have cared for mothers, fathers, wives and husbandswho have made this difficult journey. Kakugawa and her fellow caregivers paint a vivid picture of the caregiving journey and all of the attending struggles, triumphs and deepest fears. I Am Somebody gives voice to the caregiver experience, allowing unspoken feelings to be expressed and caregivers the space to explore what their loved ones might say, if they could. Caregivers will find this assemblage of experiences resonant, while those who are more peripherally involved, such as non-caregiving family members and medical professionals, will gain new insight into the daily caregiving experience. Kakugawa opens each chapter with advice directed toward both caregivers and those in their support circle.

I Am Somebody is Kakugawas fourth book on caregiving. Her previous works include Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry, Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, a childrens book about families living with grandparents with Alzheimers and other dementia-related illnesses (a Moms Choice Award Silver recipient), and Breaking the Silence: A Caregivers Voice.

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