Frances H. Kakugawa
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

Omoiyari . . . Think of others first and good karma will return to you. — Frances H. Kakugawa

Happy New Year, readers!

I’d like to begin the new year by thanking editor Karleen Chinen and The Hawai‘i Herald for bringing us together through this “Dear Frances” column. I am humbled, not only by my “Boss Lady’s” confidence in me, but in your positive responses. Continue to send in your questions and reactions so that we honor the space given for this column. Thank you.

I was struck by two insights I gained today. They may be of help to you in your caregiving work.

The first occurred when I went to help out a friend whose caregiver for her husband had not shown up, so I sat with her husband. I tried to involve him in conversation by asking him about his medical practice as I prepared some toast, a boiled egg and a bowl of soup for him. That didn’t go anywhere. I also knew, however, that he loves to sing the oldies, so I got my iPhone out and searched for some song titles. There was Doris Day singing “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?” He was thrilled and sang along with Doris. He kept asking me how I was able to bring Doris Day out to him. He thought it was pure magic. He recognized the voice of Frank Sinatra singing “Sentimental Journey” and joined Frank. He also sang “You are My Sunshine” with Johnny Cash and told me a story about the time he asked Johnny if he could be one of his singers. I’m not a big fan of our modern electronic devices, but it sure came in handy today.

And now the bathroom observation . . .

Caregivers are often plagued with plugged toilets

To read the rest of this article, please subscribe to The Herald!

Frances Kakugawa was her mother’s primary caregiver during her five-year journey with Alzheimer’s disease. A native of Kapoho on Hawai‘i island, she now lives in Sacramento. Frances has melded her professional training as a writer and educator and her personal caregiving experiences to write several books on caring for people with memory-related illnesses. She is a sought-after speaker, both in Hawai‘i and on the Mainland, sharing strategies for caregiving, as well as coping with the stresses of caregiving.


  1. Genuinely lovely story with a lesson for all of us. Thank you for sharing. One correction, however. Doris Day never sang or recorded “How Much is That Doggie in the Window”. That song belonged to Patti Page who scored an enormous hit with it, earning a Gold Record in the process. Doris Day certainly recorded many songs (nearly 800) but “Doggie” was not among them.

Leave a Reply to Bryan James Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here