LA Times: Sakura Gardens retirement home, a last vestige of Japanese American Boyle Heights, faces partial closure February 15, 2021February 6, 2021 by SOS Network Click: January 6, 2021, Los Angeles Times, Andrew Campa, staff writer Social Sites
1 thought on “LA Times: Sakura Gardens retirement home, a last vestige of Japanese American Boyle Heights, faces partial closure”
Letter to the editor of the LA TIMES:
Your 2/6/2021 article, ”Sakura Gardens Facing Cutbacks” really hit home! Namely, Japanese language caregiving, so that the resident’s can make their needs known.
When I went to visit my dad, Nobe Kawano (Equiptment Manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers for 38 years) and my uncle, Yosh Kawano (Equiptment Mangager for the Chicago Cubs for 65 years) at Kei Ai Lincoln Heights, (sister facility to Sakura Gardens) I was approched by a resident. Her eyes were wide with terror and brimmed with tears. She asked, “ Where am I? How long have I been here? Have you seen my family?”
I reassured her that she was at the nursing home, it’s lunchtime and I had not seen her family today. She thanked me as she looked down at her lap and whispered, “ I don’t know who I am or where I am. I wanted to see a familiar face. I am afraid that without anyone I recognize or who recognizes me, no one will know I exist. I won’t know I exist”.
This resident spoke English. But what if she only spoke Japanese? I don’t speak Japanese. This resident’s fears would have been ignored. This is what Japanese language caregiving is all about. It is not a luxury. It is about dependent elderly being understood and having their needs met. Without it, they would spend the rest of their lives in a de facto “solitary confinement”.
In closing, thank you for shining a spot light on this health & safety issue.