Shannon Kamikubo

My mother started attending the Somang Society’s Care Class in April 2023. It has been a tremendous joy for her to go each week. She absolutely loves all the caregivers who make her feel special by remembering her, acknowledging her and expressing genuine happiness to see her every time! The one-to-one ratio of caregiver to participant is invaluable because every individual possesses unique abilities and needs that require specialized attention. Having her own caregiver with her at all times helps her to participate in most of the activities and she enjoys all of them! These activities include singing old folksongs, simple hand movements and coloring, as well as physical exercises (which I thought would be too much for her). When we drive home, she always tells me how much fun she had in class.

To help the caregivers, Somang Society offers a monthly support group. The caregivers are mostly husbands, daughters and sons of the Care Class attendees. Listening to other caregivers’ stories has helped me learn new strategies to try myself. I can relate to many challenges they face while caring for their dementia patient. Their stories help me to no longer feel isolated and overwhelmed with my own responsibilities. The support group converses primarily in Korean. I may not understand everything that is being said, but I’m definitely getting a lot out of it.

As I face new challenges in caring for my mother, I feel like there is no easy way to get the support I need. Somang Society has helped immensely! It would be ideal if my mother’s primary care physician (PCP) was more involved in her dementia care or at least provided some useful reference materials. Thus far, this has not been the case. The PCP’s main concern has been for me to describe what is “wrong” and then he prescribes medications. It would be wonderful to have someone regularly evaluate my mother on her dementia progress and help me understand what she is going through plus what to expect in the coming months. 

I was extremely fortunate to have found Somang Society and the Care Class that caters so well to my mother’s needs. There are many people who do not know about this program and they would certainly benefit from it. I hope that this program can be expanded to additional areas and/or offered more frequently to help even more dementia patients and their caregivers.

Byung C.