Dear Frances – How You Can Help From Afar

Dear Frances – How You Can Help From Afar

Photo of Frances Kakugawa
Photo of instant potato veggie soup packets.

Instant potato veggie soup packets.

Frances H. Kakugawa
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

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.

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

Dear Readers,

This column is especially for family members who describe themselves as “long-distance caregivers,” although I’m not sure a role like that even exists. A primary caregiver takes care of a loved one on a daily basis . . . period. Maybe family members who give support from afar can be described as “long-distance supporters.” Although caregivers appreciate supportive phone calls and financial help from afar, there is more to caregiving than long-distance contacts. We all know, of course, that unsolicited advice or negative messages can hurt. Caregivers need all the support they can get.

As you probably know, preparing meals and then cleaning up the kitchen takes up a lot of a caregiver’s time, in addition to all of the demands of caregiving. I asked my good friend, Lori Ikeda, a Hawai‘i expat, to share some of her homemade recipes so that family members who are unable to provide daily help can contribute in other more practical ways. Here are four recipes from Lori. These can be prepared in advance and mailed through the U.S. Postal Service. (College students away from home would appreciate these, as well, as Lori’s daughter has these past two years.)

INSTANT POTATO VEGGIE SOUP PACKETS

Ingredients (For each serving packet)

1 cup (heaping) potato flakes

1 T. (heaping) freeze-dried vegetables (like corn, peas, carrots, bell peppers)

1 tsp. powdered vegetable or chicken bouillon

1 tsp. nutritional yeast

1/8 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)

Instructions:

1. Place ingredients in a small zipper-lock plastic bag or small plastic bag sealed tightly with a twist tie.

2. To prepare soup, pour contents of the bag into a 9 oz. or larger cup. Add 6-8 oz. boiling water. Stir and let sit for at least 5 minutes before eating.

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Honey Caramel Nuts. (Photos from guavarose.com)

Honey Caramel Nuts. (Photos from guavarose.com)

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

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