Frances Kakugawa has written an insightful and moving book that will both help and inspire all who struggle as caregivers for loved ones afflicted with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.

Breaking the Silence is an essential book for Alzheimer's caregivers. It's a thoughtful and honest look into what caregivers face each day, providing a real value for those who must cope with incredible pressure, anxiety, and difficult decisions.

It's a compilation of poetry, journal entries, and how-to advice. Frances weaves her own poetry and that of six other caregivers together, along with journal entries and advice for the novice poet. It's a handbook for caregiving survival.

In Kakugawa's poem, "Plastic Orchids," she writes how her 91-year old mother, Matsue, mutters two harsh curse words to herself, recognizing the insincerity of an aide who addresses her by her first name and tells her she loves her. Frances applauds this in her poem—a glimpse of the "real" Matsue, before she slides back into the fog of dementia.

Caregivers Eugenie Mitchell, Linda Nagata, Elaine Okazaki, Jason Kimura, Rod Masumoto, and Red Slider add dimension to the book with unique perspectives and shared experiences.

In the last section of this book, Frances provides a short course in journaling, writing poetry, using literary elements and devices, and finding your "voice."

This book shows realistic day-to-day caregiving, with all the rewards, challenges, and pitfalls.

"Frances Kakugawa's  Breaking the Silence: A Caregiver's Voice is a powerful literary contribution and teaching tool to the field of gerontology. I strongly recommend this book to read, laugh, cry and reflect."

Dr. Cullen T. Hayashida
Director, Kupuna (Elder) Education Center
Kapiolani Community College
Honolulu, Hawaii