Alexander Fiuza, PhD, once gave his parents an early Father’s Day gift. The Miami caregiving professional took his father Serafin, 84, and mother Angela, 80, to Universal Studios in Orlando – a special experience for the entire family.
“My father had a ball,” said Fiuza, director of client services for Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Matrix Home Care. “He especially liked the Harry Potter ride, since he is a fan of the series. I remember when my parents would surprise my three brothers and me with a trip to Orlando to share a beautiful day with the family. That I will never forget! ”
Making new memories with the family is an ideal way to spend Father’s Day with an aging parent. While everyone enjoys unwrapping a present, it’s those personal times together that count,” she said. “Plan to do something special with your father – not just on Sunday, but throughout the year,” Fiuza recalls.
For Fiuza, Father’s Day means remembering all that his dad has done. “My parents were born in Cuba and came to Miami in 1960,” he said. “They worked hard to raise our family, and now it’s our time to give back.”
As a caregiver, Fiuza knows that life doesn’t stop at a certain age. “People need to understand an elder person’s needs,” he said. “They love, hurt and feel in the same way young people do. At the same time they may feel vulnerable, so a close family connection can be very reassuring to them.”
Fiuza adds that Father’s Day is also an ideal time to assess the needs of an aging parent and discuss what lies ahead in the next stages of life. “If your parents seem overburdened and overwhelmed, you may need to step in,” he said. “Most parents don’t want to impose of their children, but you’ll be able to tell.” For instance, a father may have trouble balancing his checkbook or a mother might find it difficult to recall a favorite recipe.
“Aging is a natural part of life,” Fiuza said. “We need to plan ahead and educate ourselves about the many options that are available for our loved ones. By taking steps now can help our aging fathers and mothers preserve their independence and enjoy a higher quality of life.”
By Allison Moore