Dementia support group to feature massage therapy techniques and Guam Museum virtual tour

(Left) Danielle Kaczmarek, (Ridht) Michael Bevacqua
(Left) Danielle Kaczmarek, (Ridht) Michael Bevacqua

Dementia support group to feature massage therapy techniques and Guam Museum virtual tour

by Dr. Iain Twaddle or Nikolas Gutierrez
Guam/Micronesia Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program Telehealth Geriatric Support Services, University of Guam

Licensed massage therapist Danielle Kaczmarek will be offering two free virtual presentations this month demonstrating massage therapy techniques for older adults and persons with dementia as well as ways to use massage to connect with older adults. 

Her presentation — “Massage Therapy in Elderly and Dementia Care” — is part of the ongoing online support groups for family caregivers of persons with dementia being conducted by the Guam/Micronesia Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program of the University of Guam School of Health.

Kaczmarek has more than 10 years of experience as a licensed massage therapist and also has experience as a full-time family caregiver. Kaczmarek will be available after her presentations to answer questions from the group participants. 

Also this month, the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program and the Guam Museum will collaborate to offer a virtual tour of the Guam Museum’s sixth gallery “Humuyong-ña I Gera,” which translates to “The Cost of War.” The tour is specially designed for families with older adults and persons with dementia who might not be able to visit the museum in person. 

The exhibit depicts life on Guam after World War II and includes elders’ stories of surviving the war, losses experienced by the people of Guam during and after the war, and the Yokoi collection. The Guam Museum virtual tour series is conducted by Guam Museum Curator Michael Lujan Bevacqua, who holds a doctorate in ethnic studies and specializes in CHamoru history, language, and culture.

The public is invited to tune in to any of the following sessions: 

Massage Therapy in Elderly and Dementia Care
• 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 16, or 
• 10 a.m. – noon, Saturday, Feb. 19

Guam Museum Virtual Tour – Gallery 6: “Humuyong-Ña I Gera (The Cost of War)"
• 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 23, or
• 10 a.m. – noon, Saturday, Feb. 26

Support group sessions 

Support group sessions are held remotely on Zoom every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning, year-round. The sessions are free of charge to partners, family members, and other caregivers of persons with dementia who have ties to Guam and the Micronesian region.

What to expect

All support groups are client-centered and confidential. They provide a safe place to share the stresses and challenges, successes, and rewards of caring for a loved one with dementia with others who may be going through similar experiences. They also provide a forum for caregivers to participate in presentations led by health care professionals and other community members with expertise in dementia care.

The support groups are facilitated by Iain Twaddle from the University of Guam, who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a licensed clinical psychologist; Rhoda Orallo, a social worker with Health Services of the Pacific, who holds a master’s in social work; and Nikolas Gutierrez, a G/M GWEP counselor who holds a bachelor’s in psychology.

How to participate

To attend a family caregiver online support group, use the following Zoom links:

For more information, contact Iain Twaddle or Nikolas Gutierrez at (671) 735-2883 or gwep.tgss@triton.uog.edu or Rhoda Orallo at (671) 735-3277 or nfcspmgr@teleguam.net.  

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of an award totaling $757,208 with zero percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. government. Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program Award #: 6 U1QHP33078‐03‐01.

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